Is Facebook helping Ethiopian teenagers ?

I do not have the slightest qualm that Facebook has become an indispensable way to find old friends, schedule events, play games and even send gifts. But here in Ethiopia young university pupil doing more living online on facebook than doing browsing something else I believe it might be time to reassess our students‘online behavior. Many students are now seeing Facebook more as a lifestyle than a networking tool, and the limited band width and the poor infrastructure of our University is being munched through by relentless use of heavy number of users the University ICT experts are starting to agree.

The other problem is the increasing amount of time students spend checking other people’s updates. In our university, students have four computer centers with a minimum of 80 computers each and whenever there is a connection students spend their time by giving an update on almost anything they are presently doing. They post some indecent texts in Amharic using English script. Amharic short updates can range from things like “f*** you” to “I am looking for f***.” Remember these pupils are young teenagers who are supposed to spend their time reading their subjects. But a considerable amount of time could be spent viewing the almost continuous flow of updates from some of the more frequent.

I admit, I spend more time on the computer than the average person, but it is not just on Facebook. There is just too much more to do other than to be consumed by the social antics of others and the caring for my virtual friends. I had actually signed up for facebook, early on, to explore the service and currently I am using to share my blog articles and other articles that I came across while I surf the web , but my friends are not reading my articles on my blog.I have come to the conclusion that most people now primarily use their computer, at university computer centers or internet cafes sometimes at home and probably at work, to access Facebook so that they can communicate with their friends and become part of a virtual world.
It is not that I am anti-social, it is that I am concerned; especially for the younger generation being exposed to this type of social networking. They are being lead to believe it is Ok to tell all, when in fact telling it all and exposing ones’ inner self may not be for the best.
Maybe I am wrong. I would love to hear your comments about not just facebook but social networking’s advantage and disadvantage….

Amateur Pornography? Teenage Promiscuity? Weli Selomon ’s Wild Videos Highlights Cultural Lawlessness

When Welit Selomon*, a young girl who currently working as a graduate assistant in one of the big universities of Ethiopia allegedly circulated a porn video of herself on a mobile phones young Ethiopians, lots of people had a hypothesis that her actions lead one of her family members to hang themselves to their death opting to die than seeing their daughters wild videos, it highlighted the strange new wanton young Ethiopians world — and all of us, for that matter — inhabit. Examples abound, such as the a very young pupil in Arba Minch University who tried to withdraw from the campus in 2009 after her homo sexual affair with one of her dorm mate circulated among university student mobile phones. Was it just an unfortunate case of meek kids just being kids, unaware of the consequences the video prank might have? Or was it full-blown cultural lawlessness in Ethiopian context, with an insidious helping of teenage promiscuity? Or, perhaps, in our unregulated use of digital media products, the two are inseparably interrelated
Lots of people who gave their opinions on the issue are undecided to pass judgment on Welit, with many calling the mortification that Welit endured outright sexual harassment and others going back and forth on whether Welit’s partner, who was too meticulous not to film himself on the video, had malicious intentions. Welit’s partner — who filmed his sexual endeavors with a mobile phone camera — could be charged with invasion of privacy if there is a real legal investigation on the case. But in Ethiopia there is no investigation on these kinds of cases and Welit’s amateur porn video and other similar Ethiopian porn videos and nude pictures that can be rated in the rest of the world are kept on circulated amongst many elementary and high school teenagers’ mobile phones. I thought this case would have surprised many had the case was in Europe or America as the characters are young university students and the charges would have been escalated.
These things happened maybe we’ve had no teachers. No one has thought us how to use digital media products specifically our mobile phones and the internet. Young people learned on their own, buying and renting porn videos from street, pointing and clicking on any of the web sites they come across while they surf on the web. There are no rules of digital media products consumptions. Almost all university students are spending their time in an uncontrolled Facebook- chat-room culture with scant good manners. For instance in Arba Minch University where I am teaching students who have an access to the internet from their mobile phones and from university computer centers are obsessed with downloading some indecent videos for 24/7 saturation, it can be hard to know where to draw the line. Some people always warn that Ethiopian schoolchildren and university students aren’t being adequately prepared to navigate the internet responsibly and select media of their level. With even toddlers getting handy with mobile phones, the Ethiopian government should start some sort of media education.
*The name changed because of security reasons