04 November 2010

PNP Warns Facebookers' Parents

FB Age User
The Philippine National Police (PNP) 21 October 2010 issued public safety guidelines on the use of Facebook, urging parents to monitor their childrens' use of the social media site.

The PNP told parents to "learn to use Facebook to monitor the safety of their children" and to "take note of (other) adults being friends of your children especially if your child is still a minor."

The police encouraged parents to set up their own Facebook accounts and to link to their children's accounts. "This will allow you to observe and identify the friends and activities (of your kids) without having to get (their account details)," the webpage advised.

"Check the information posted by your children. Sometimes (they can) become careless, unaware, and lured into giving information that will lead to being a victim," the PNP cautioned.

The move comes just two weeks after the PNP issued a statement on the growing incidence of sex crimes in the country, facilitated by the popularity of Facebook and other social media.

"They have networking, they have 'clans', they invite youths to join. Then they initiate them and included in this are sexual activities," PNP spokesman Sr. supt. Agrimero Cruz told Agence France Press.

Complicating the matter is the fact that there is as yet no clear jurisprudence on cybercrime in the Philippines, making it difficult to assess the extent of such offenses.

"We are investigating this because our laws are not yet clear on this. We just treat it as rape," Cruz explained.

The rest of the PNP advisory dispensed practical tips on the use of Facebook that are relevant not just to parents but also to anyone who would want to stay safe on the social network. Some of these tips include:
  • Hide yourself from Facebook search results
  • Limit your personal information
  • Protect your picture albums
  • Avoid chatting with people you don't know
  • Never forget to sign out