Published: 22nd April 2021
TNIE Let's Debate: Should the govt, schools be allowed to monitor social media?
The students were debating whether government and schools should be allowed to monitor your social media at TNIE's virtual inter-school debate competition
Whether our social media should be monitored or not has been a matter of debate for years now, more so after numerous people have been arrested in this country for posting something on their Facebook walls or Twitter profiles. On April 20 at The New Indian Express' Let's Debate, that's exactly what children from schools across India debated.
They were debating whether government and schools should be allowed to monitor your social media at TNIE's virtual inter-school debate competition, Let's Debate. The largest inter-school virtual debate competition was held in association with Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, MEIL and Linc Pens. The judges for the debate were Aditya Soma, Executive Director and CMO at Worldview Education, Hyderabad and Subhashini Dinesh, Deputy Resident Editor, Tamil Nadu with TNIE.
Vanya Bansal, a Class IX student from Shiv Nadar School, who was speaking against the motion said: "Social media allows you to connect with other people, allows you to share your opinions, photos with the world. As per news reports, 45 per cent of the world population is on social media and the daily time spent on social media is two hours 20 minutes. It acts as a diversion for students from their school life, as a cathartic space to seek emotional consideration. Giving the school and government, the right to monitor social media is indirectly taking away their right to speech, strangulating their freedom and violating their privacy."
While Johann Thomas Philip from Rajagiri Public School, Kalamassery, speaking for the motion said: "Social media surveillance is important. According to a 2018 survey, 37 per cent of Indian children were victims of cyberbullying, cases of cyberstalking increased by 36 per cent from 2017-18 according to the NCB data. Social media surveillance could greatly eliminate these crimes, schools could help stop such cases from happening."
Congratulating the students, Aditya said, "They mostly covered all the important aspects of this topic. We could use a bit more humour overall, you guys were quite serious but in a good way. However, I agree that we should be first equipped to handle complex situations on social media and then monitor social media."
Subhashini mentioned a few points she liked at the end of the debate, "The point raised about how surveillance and control are two completely different words, sometimes merge into feeling the same, is something I really thought was important. Terrorism being brought into the entire debate was not really necessary when you are talking about school children, I don't think that was relevant for this kind of discussion. We also spoke about democracy and free speech, which were equally interesting points."
Finest point: Vanya Bansal, Class 9, Shiv Nadar School
Special mention: Ram Daftari, Class 9, Birla High School
Counter strike: Medha Sharma, Class 9, Sri Kumaran's Children's Home, Bengaluru
For the last category of winners, the judges added humour wasn't used as a tool in the whole debate so they were unable to decide who to give that award to. "Everybody could think of themselves as the winner of that award. Let it be a reminder that they could get some kind of bonus points if they incorporate humour," said Aditya.