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Beni, Congo (Kinshasa)
Beni, Congo (Kinshasa)

Is Facebook Mobile moving youth in the wrong direction?

Published on : 30 November 2012 - 6:00am | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo: Flickr/dkalo)
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The growing use of Facebook Mobile has many concerned in this city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Now that young people have the social network literally at their fingertips, cybercafés are reporting a considerable drop in clients and teachers are complaining that students use the cell phone app to cheat. But perhaps most worrisome of all for a country in political turmoil, Facebook’s ubiquity is helping spread false news.

By Fiston Mahamba, Beni

“Because Facebook is accessible to everyone through mobile phones, people post unverified information and it wreaks havoc in these times of war,” says Mathieu Katsuva. The young journalist for radio station Ngoma FM therefore encourages his peers to be more responsible and to verify each piece of news before sharing it on the social network.

At a recent panel discussion about the internet’s impact on youth, Serge Mapendano, president of the Beni youth parliament, also made a plea for greater awareness among Facebook users. Mapendano believes that some young people commit abuses by posting provocative, unfounded remarks. This is seen as being especially risky during the present conflict between the Congolese national army and the M23 rebels.

Related content

Sharing too much
Teachers, too, are critical of how some students are exploiting the technology. Facebook can facilitate cheating, suggests a number of testimonies. Jean Baptiste Ndavaro, who teaches social sciences at Beni’s Higher Institute for Rural Development (ISDR), claims he has caught many students using Facebook Mobile to share answers in the middle of an examination.

According to Ndavaro, such behaviour sometimes contributes to falling grades, overall. “Many students have stopped studying hard because they know that on the day of the exam, they only need to connect to Facebook and request the answers from their classmates, who are also connected,” he says. The teacher is also concerned about the current lack of school regulations banning the use of mobile phones during examinations.

Death of the cybercafé?
Meanwhile, this trend in technology is impacting the owners of cybercafés. Since acquiring Facebook-ready mobile phones, a large portion of their young clients has stopped visiting.

Facebook Mobile has led to fewer clients for New Digital Net cybercafé
Facebook Mobile has led to fewer clients for New Digital Net cybercafé

“We used to have young customers coming in groups to connect to Facebook,” says the manager of New Digital Net, who goes by the name of JVC. “Now, we hardly see them, and when we bump into them and ask why they don’t come anymore, they say that they bought mobile phones with Facebook.”

Likes from vendors
One group, however, who is profiting from the Facebook fanaticism are cell phone vendors. At the Toratina market for second-hand phones in Beni's Matongé quarter, retailers have been noticing how young customers are more interested in Blackberry, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Techno because these brands come with a Facebook app already installed. Plus, they have WiFi connection capacity.

Sec and Mukelenge, two retailers at Toratina, claim to sell more than a dozen such phones every day to a young clientele. Another vendor named Jérémie Jeteme concurs. “They place orders before I even receive stock,” he says.

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Discussion

tamaralockett 27 October 2013 - 10:58pm / crewe

what you like in school

ubercool 18 July 2013 - 9:51am

Not only Facebook website, but facebook mobile chat is popular among almost every teenagers now.
Facebook has become an addiction for most of the regular users. With this thing in mind, Facebook developers have been planning on the project where Facebook can be accessed in every mobile phones.

1. Sharing Of Information

The website allows us to share with others what you desire to share, ask public opinion, ask question etc. You can share your pictures, videos and what you have been up to your friends. You can control how much information you want to share with whom and similarly other people share their information with you.

2. Chatting

Facebook is a social networking website but you can use it to chat with your friends, too. Facebook provides a simple, small chatting application that you can use to chat with your friends who are on Facebook and of course online. So why install Yahoo, MSN or any other messenger when you can chat with your all friends using Facebook, which I am sure on which you spend much time of your day.

Many people specially students use Facebook chat for group discussions, while some businesses use it for short meetings.

3. Mobile Facebook

What ever you can do on facebook.com you can do from your mobile phone facebook app, on the go. Most new smart phones come with Facebook app. So you can update status, comment and do a lot things even from your mobile phone.

4. Find School, College Friendship or Collegue

Today almost every internet user uses Facebook. Using Facebook you can find your old friends, colleagues whom you have lost contact and connect with them online again. Facebook’s friend finder feature allows you to find your friends with their names or email addresses. Many people I know found their very old friends they never knew they will ever contact again. Now they have connected again through Facebook.

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