Is it Facebook and Mxit, or is it our children?

2009-05-20 00:00

EVERY so often we hear public complaints about the controversial networking systems that are being offered to the youth, Mxit and Facebook.

Every second parent hates Mxit because their daughter might be selling naked photographs of herself to some rich pervert, or they are confiscating their son’s cellphone because his grades have dropped. Parents, let’s stop pointing fingers and trying to shift the blame and be honest here. Is Mxit really that bad? Or are our children just disobedient?

No one is forced to install the Mxit application or to register for Facebook. In the same way that young girls exchange their naked photographs for money and little boys prefer to chat to friends on Mxit rather than do their homework, it’s all done willingly. So when you actually think about it, Mxit is merely an application that people seek to become part of and how much control it has over their lives is up to them.

I enjoy meeting new people, making friends and networking in general. It’s part of my job description. So I have Mxit and I am on Facebook. I go on Mxit when I am bored and broke because it’s a cheaper way to keep in contact with friends and it’s convenient because I can chat anywhere, any time. Facebook, on the other hand, I use to check messages, see what my friends are getting up to and find out if any other people have sent me friend requests. I get invited to events or to join groups on Facebook. Most of the friends I have on Facebook are people I used to go to school with who went their own ways; we find each other on these sites. I have friends who use Facebook as a marketing tool for business and with whom I share business ideas. When I am working, I limit the time I spend on Facebook, unless of course it will benefit me on a business level. And I do not go on Mxit at all when I am working. When I do chat or connect with people via these applications I make sure to tell them what I want them to know, nothing more. So no one has ever asked me to sell them naked photographs of myself via the net. I am in control of my own cyber profiles and I do not let anyone intimidate me or manipulate me into going against my beliefs.

So I totally disagree with those who say Mxit and Facebook corrupt the youth. Rather, the person engaging in these networking endeavours is weak and so should not expose themselves to activities they may not be able to handle.

I have a cousin who passed her matric with flying colours last year. She got 11 awards and three trophies, she was among the top 10 in her grade and got two As in matric, and she has had Mxit for the past two years. She was just one of those children who knew what they wanted from life and was not prepared to let anything get in the way of that, including Mxit. Today she is at university doing visual arts. She’s still a hard worker and still chats on Mxit. So you see, Mxit is not the problem. The problem is that some of the people who use these applications are not driven enough to reject distractions. They are not focused enough to avoid addictive temptations like Mxit. And just because the reason for your son’s failure to achieve his goals academically is Mxit, it doesn’t mean that the application is corrupt. That reason could have easily been something else.

As for the young girls who sell photographs of themselves via Mxit — that says a lot about the way they think of themselves. I doubt a parent wants to raise a child who thinks so little of herself that she sells a picture of her private parts to a total stranger, but you never know. They are not forced to do this. They do it for the love of money. They have discovered a new form of prostitution. So instead of blaming your child’s bad grades on Mxit, talk to him and find out how you can help him manage his time more effectively and if you suspect your daughter is selling nude pictures of herself on Mxit, ask yourself how you raised her. And the next time you make a deposit into a young girl’s bank account for a photo of her breasts, check your own daughter’s bank account.

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