Oh, Facebook. It seems like every week you make a change to what millions of people have just gotten used to. Most recently, a few changes have raised hackles of parents and guardians in the United States, as well as online editors and Web dorks alike.
In May, Facebook decided to remove a video of a beheading from the site entirely due to its graphic content and the "sadistic pleasure" it recorded.
But recently, Facebook has made the decision to allow such videos back on the site, on a case-by-case basis, as long as the video content is condemned by viewers.
I know my boundaries when it comes to watching violent videos on the Internet. I just don't. I can't stomach it, and I don't think anyone else should be able to, either.
My main concern with Facebook's allowance of these graphic videos is that younger kids are now more likely to stumble upon them. I know they could easily Google some keywords and find it themselves, but with this gray "case-by-case" area Facebook has backed into, there seems to be little protection for young users.
I don't have kids, but I do have younger cousins and a niece. And I can't help but worry for their developing minds. I would like to think Facebook has this situation under control, but after reading of Mark Zuckerberg's wobbly stances on certain security aspects of the site, I'm a bit more wary of what children will have access to each week.
Facebook's Graph search engine is making it easier for people to connect/find others/maybe start some stalking?
Trust me when I say that the search abilities have helped me stay connected with friends and have even helped a few of our Eagle reporters find sources for stories and that is all awesome. But with creepers, hackers, snoops and liars also on the Internet, there has to be concern for your online identity and childrens' online identities.
To help protect against sneaky hackers and graphic content, plenty of operating systems have parental controls to set up that block specific keywords and websites.
Another good practice, as I have mentioned before, is to change your passwords regularly.
In all honesty, safety starts in the home, not online. Teaching safe online practices should be a priority in homes and schools. We all know about cyberbullying and the tragic effects it can have. Teaching kids when to share certain things isn't putting your foot down against their freedom; it's teaching them that some things are better left unsaid.
The Internet's content is infinite and constantly changing. We know Facebook will set new rules in regard to graphic content some time in the near future. We know people overshare and are just plain mean sometimes. We also know we have an amazing gift with connectivity online.
It's our job as adults to teach kids right from wrong. It's the job of programmers to help us keep these young minds safe. It's everyone's job to practice patience and learn from our mistakes.