Better late than never, Facebook
Posted by Paul Allen on 12th August 2010 / 0 comments
When my daughter joined Facebook last year it was a bit of a game changer for me. Although I am *mostly* well behaved these days I had to be aware of the perils of posting photos of drunken nights and minding my language (a little) when posting status updates.
But it also got me thinking about the way in which children use Facebook and other social networks and as a parent one can’t help but worry about the volume of time spent on them, the nature of what they get up to and how vulnerable that can make them. Bullying, banter, teasing all happened way before Facebook of course, but social networks can make it seem never ending. And there is also the fear that Facebook could be used for something far more sinister and unpleasant.
Which is why it is great news that Facebook is finally going to launch a panic button that will report abuse to the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) and Facebook itself.
People may criticise this anouncement - users have to actually download the panic button app and it has certainly been a long time coming (Bebo and MySpace added the button a while ago and Facebook had previously resisted calls for it to follow suit). There will also be those who question whether teens will bother downloading it in sufficient numbers, and whether it will be open to abuse, legitimate concerns certainly.
But whilst the panic button isn’t perfect and won’t/can’t protect everyone, its absolutely a step in the right direction. More can be done to keep children safe online (and hopefully will) but for now this will reassure millions of parents who have to decipher posts such as ‘r-patz is da best, yh! lolz’