Faizel Patel – 21/09/2020
Social media attorney Verli Oosthuizen says it has become a huge problem for people to track down perpetrators of cyber bullying.
Oosthuizen and Phakamile Khumalo, a Web Rangers Project Coordinator at Media Monitoring Africa were speaking to Radio Islam on Monday about how social media have become a danger to not only children but even adults.
A new documentary-hybrid titled “The Social Dilemma” currently airing on Netflix SA which many say is a must watch programme, also explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
COVID-19 Lockdown regulations around the globe has seen a massive increase in the use of social media sites including Facebook, TikTok and other platforms.
Recently a 13-year old girl’s parents spend hundreds of thousands of rands to fight Facebook to provide them with the name of the person who was threatening her with graphic gang rape and murder on Instagram.
Oozthuizen says there are legal avenues to deal with cyber bullies but it is expensive.
“Usually people don’t have the funds or the resources to go after Facebook because it’s international. This has been an interesting case because there are obviously always legal avenues to deal with these issues and in this case, they are basically following the legal avenues and paying the money to do so.”
Khumalo says while parents have raised concerns about TikTok, they should also be worried about other social media platforms as they also pose major risks, especially to children.
“There should always be concern from a perspective of parents when engaging on social media platforms. But also concern should come from a very informed point of view. A direction to parents again, having those open conversations with your children to ensure that whatever platform your children are using truly understand the implications of their action on line.”
Both Oosthuizen and Khumalo agree that parents have to engage and have these difficult conversations about the dangers of social media, not become defensive and guide their children to understand that whatever they put online leaves a digital footprint waiting for a bully or perpetrator to pounce.
A quote in The Social Dilemma on Netflix reads: “Social media starts to dig deeper and deeper deeper down into the brain stem and take over kids sense of self-worth and identity,” while another quote reads: “There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.”
Listen to the discussion with Verli Oosthuizen and Phakamile Khumalo