Social media and the uprising

There’s been some backlash over the last couple of months against the idea that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were brought on by Twitter or a “Facebook Revolution.” And certainly, it takes a lot more than the 21st century version of a communication system to persuade people to take to the streets and risk harm, imprisonment, or death. But that doesn’t mean social media didn’t play a role. It did. Given the magnitude of grievances in each country, revolt would almost certainly have come eventually. But social media simply made it come faster.

Before Egypt shut off the Internet and mobile phones, before it even started blocking Twitter and Facebook, those tools were used to coordinate and spread the word about the demonstrations that were scheduled for January 25. Without these mass organizing tools, it’s likely that fewer people would have known about the protests, or summoned the kind of courage that’s made possible by knowing you’re not the only one sticking your neck out. Without them, fewer people might have shown up, and the Egyptian authorities might have more easily dispatched them. Chances are, we’d be waking up to today with the skirmishes being nothing more than a fading headline from a time long gone.

Did social media make all this happen? No, of course not. Did it bring everything to a head much sooner than it would have, had Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube not existed? Absolutely. This is only the beginning of this type of uprising, and we can expect to see more like it in the not too distant future

kid’s too young using social media

What were you doing when you were 10,11,12, and 13 years old? I know what I was doing, playing with pokemon cards, and being excited to play dodgeball in gym class. Well, fast forward a decade or so, and the average 13 year old is now equipped with a smart phone, tablet, and laptop computer. It is because of the ease of accessibility, kids are using the social media sites like never before.

Facebook restricts minors below the age of 13 from using their site. To get around this, kids from all around the globe are creating e-mail addresses with or without the help or consent of parents and creating Facebook profiles. Keep in mind, Facebook now allows anyone with an e-mail address to register on their site, not like the good ol’ days when you needed a college e-mail. A site I stumbled across called Minor Monitor, claims that 38% of kids on Facebook are under the age of 13! Which is pretty crazy, but then they went on to say that 40 out of every 1,000 children on Facebook are six years old or younger, which completely blew my mind.

According to a CNN article, Facebook has already started to take charge of the issue of underage user-ship. They’re apparently throwing out 20,000 underage users per day. Facebook is also testing out several features and functionalities that would allow parents control over child accounts. Features include: linking a child’s account to the parent so it can be monitored and controlled, allowing parents to decide who connects with their child, and access to any applications or games.

I still believe young children should not be allowed to use social media sites, but if a parent is allowing them, I feel these features would make it much safer for the children, and maybe eliminate some of them from using it all together, because if those kids are anything like my 13 year old brother he wouldn’t want my mom anywhere near his Facebook.