Africans Start to Hashtag and Google Yourselves

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The elevation of Africans having access to the Internet is increasing the digital footprint of those denied access to information for years. Internet access supplied by providers is allowing people in cities, villages and towns unprecedented access to information. Africans are embracing their Afrinerdiness (African Nerds) that encourages global collaboration, cross cultural connections, access to entertainment media, and educational resources never seen before.

There is so much digital eye candy that African teens and young adults need to be cautious of the glitz and glamour of global content. As Africans grow in engagement, their words will have new meaning in the global context of their digital content that will expand. The perceptions they create will define them, the digital ether can quickly and unmercifully absorb the attentions of Africans and present a unfathomable world of cultural.

Googling will have a new meaning for Africans, their created content is fresh, unfiltered by world exposure and lack of Internet etiquette and guidelines in some cases. African children are in many ways no different than European, Asian or American, many want their content to go viral, with the potential of making them instant superstars and celebrities.

African parents like others from around the world must be very cautious of their children’s access to online content because it can literally be addicting
and life changing. Unfiltered access to the Internet in some cases may be a Pandora box because African children like those of other nations may not inappropriate content being created and read or viewed.

For African parents to keep up with their children they should Hashtag and Google their children regularly. To digitally follow them, not stalk but check to make sure they are not being lead or drawn into dangerous digital territories. African parents must be educated on setting boundaries for their families in the absence of local, national and continental laws safeguarding children from predators, stalkers, scammers and even terrorists.

As a professor teaching Educational Technology and Social Media safety in higher education, youth, teens and even young adults do not understand the dangers of posting to much information online about themselves, their families and even their ideologies related to religion, sex and education.There are still parts of Africa that are not and may not embrace the ideas of freedom of speech, and open society to information and even the freedom of girls and women accessing educational resources.

Educational institutions across Africa are going to have to develop policies and procedures to make sure all students no matter their religious background, cultural upbringing, economic status, political status and even mobility will have to have equitable access and support. As a parent of two I demand equal educational resources for my daughter like my son. My daughters value is just as important as my son from elementary to university levels.

As an educator I have equal expectations of success for my male and females students. My educational diversity is that I teach on the elementary and college levels and see all sides of educational success and the results of educational failure by lack of involvement by parents.

The development of policies, procedures and practices cannot be made by one entity, it must be inclusive of Internet Service Providers, educational institutions, and departments of government and even involve African parental groups because they are the grassroots of addressing issues and concerns.

There must be further opportunities to teach parents about the online world so they can monitor their children through Googling and Hashtags. Many in government and business are of the opinion that it is too early to address these issues, I say there is not a level to early to empower parents to teach their kids and to be cautious and aware of their safety.

Just as in the United States, I travel to teach parents about Social Media Safety, Etiquette, prevention of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, Sexting and other online activities are creating social issues that have direct influence in the social and educational order for families.

For too long Europeans have tried to determine what is best for African people without asking them, Internet access creates a platform where education is for everyone – equally. The power of Google searches, Hashtags, Branding, Marketing, collaboration and even association has a powerful place in global communities. African parents learn to Google their children, and Hashtag them.

By William Jackson, M.Ed.  contact me via @wmjackson

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