Ahead of Forum, Internet Expert Issues Warning on Social Media Presence
The Public Utilities Commission has announced that Belize will be hosting its first National Cyber Security Symposium from April twenty-fourth to the twenty-seventh. The primary activities include special forums for a range of stakeholders, including, business persons, law enforcement, public sector officials, academia, the judiciary, network operators and the general public. It is expected that these groups will explore international trends and approaches for protecting public sector networks, securing government electronic services and developing effective cyber-policy and legislation. It comes at a critical time for Belize with the exposure of a social media group dedicated to exposing so-called “Belizean Cheaters” by publicly embarrassing them with salacious photographs and videos. Already, a group of attorneys are said to have written Facebook’s offices in the U.S. seeking their help in stopping this group. But problems are multiplying across the Caribbean as they are here. Internet expert Bevil Wooding puts it down to the problems of youth and issues a warning: be as open as you want, but also be careful.
Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House
“All too often, youth are left unsupervised, but they are also left uninformed of what the dangers are. And we’ve seen incidents around the Caribbean where young people in relationships – teenagers, minors – are sharing racy photos or inappropriate photos without any consideration that these photos, if they find their way onto the Internet will remain on the Internet forever; they just don’t think about it that way. As far as they are concerned this is an interaction which is personal; it’s between you and me. And then when these relationships fracture, when they break up, or when there is revenge, or when there is any kind of abuse or misuse of the photography, or the images that are sent, parents then come in trying to understand what do we do to safeguard the reputation of my child, the future of my child; and there’s very little that can be done once an image gets online.”
“So would a good rule of thumb for things like this be, if it’s not something that you’re proud of, don’t put it there?”
“Correct, that would be a good rule of thumb. If it’s not something that you will be comfortable doing in the open, don’t do it in private. The Internet never forgets – that is also a statement to keep in mind. If something is posted online, it is near impossible to erase it from the Internet. And so it is very important that we have our young people understanding the dangers that come with sharing information – sharing images, sharing videos online irresponsibly. But it is also important that we get our parents to understand that they need to supervise, they need to speak to their children concerning the use of technology devices, just as they would have in previous times concerning the use of any other technological innovation. It’s just responsible parenting.”