Nicholas Carlisle, Founder/President of Power of Zero and No Bully, has interviewed me few months back on ‘The Online Lives of Young Children in Sri Lanka’ as part of their series on the online lives of young children across the world.
Power of Zero is a global campaign to reshape early learning for a connected world. It focuses on children aged eight and under. Young children (8 and under) spend an average of two hours a day with screen media and the time increases every year. Technology has now become part of the landscape of childhood.
I talked about my experience of Sarvodaya-Fusion’s ‘IT YahaMaga’ program, where we have raised awareness about internet safety and ethics, for more than 50,000 school students in less than 5 years. You can read the full interview hereto see my answers to questions like below. I would like to see your comments and critique which I will report back to Power of Zero to update their case studies.
Are they using the kid friendly version of Facebook Messenger?
Mostly no, because they are using their parent’s phone and often their parent’s Facebook account. More educated parents create separate accounts that are child friendly, but that is a much smaller percentage. I talk to people in the rural sections, and I ask them “Are you on Facebook?” and they say yes, and I say “Are you on the Internet?” and they say no. They get their mobile data enabled by a prepaid connection, but all they can see is that they are on the Facebook app. They don’t realise that they are on the Internet. I am not talking about the young people here, I am talking about the adults in rural sections. They are not asking the questions that they need to ask such as: “How do I enable my mobile data?” and “How do I set my privacy’” and “Do I have to be careful about sharing pictures?” Those conversations are only now starting to happen.
Mission of ‘Power of Zero’ is to build every child’s powers to connect well, by setting up the next generation to harness the positive power of the internet and end online hate, bullying, and violence.
I highly recommend their learning materials section. It has lot of useful material if you are a parent or a facilitator in building capacity of children to be safe online.
Because I could use only 20 slides of 20 seconds each. Slides need to be mostly of pictures/diagrams and may be few words. Which means I have only 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell my story. I immediately loved this format which induces brevity. I prepared for 4 days. Rehearsing over and over, removing all unnecessary words to get that perfect story. I have never pushed myself to a talk like this. It is hard to find time with all the work circling around. For that I am so thankful for pecha kucha format.
I was so ready. I was excited. Until I went on stage and saw a timer ticking in front of me all the time.
I hated it.
It was not TED type, where they start the timer at 16 minutes. No, this was a 20 seconds timer. Repeating for 20 freaking times. I was ok with slide automatically move on to the next in 20 seconds. But I was not ok to see a constant time bomb reminder.
I felt as if I was playing a T20 cricket match. You may not see much of that tension when you watch me in the video. But you may see couple of instances where I ran out of time in one slide and had to wait awkwardly until the next slide came in. That made me not to have the most important thing for me when I talk. To have eye contact with the audience and adapt with their responses. I feel alive only when I can engage with the audience no matter what the setting is.
See, I love the brevity of 6 minutes 40 seconds. But I am tensed to be timed for 20 seconds for 20 times.
Here’s the format I love, for the sake of clarity.
I get 6 minutes, 40 seconds. I can choose 20 slides or less. Timer starts at 6 minutes, 40 seconds, just like in TED.
I have the control of the clicker. I have control over the time I spend on each slide. But I will stop at 6 minutes, 40 seconds.
Every single day, every single talk is a learning. The more I tell stories, the more people I connect to.
I am grateful for this challenging opportunity given by Facebook team in India. Thank you !
I’ll be speaking at Facebook South Asia safety summit in Delhi on Monday.
Right now, I’m in Delhi and preping for my first talk in Pecha Kucha format. It’s simply creating 20 slides of 20 seconds each. Total speaking time of 400 seconds or 6 minutes 40 seconds. Slides should preferrably have images and may be few words. No bullet points.
Brevity and sharpness is real hard work. I thought 400 seconds is easy. I am completely wrong and rudely surprised.
There’s a famous story about Einstein.
When he was requested to do a 10 minute speech he had asked for few days to prepare. The organiser then asked “how much time would you want to prepare if I asked you for a 2 hour speech?”
Einstein had said “if it is a 2 hour speech I can do it right now.”
Brevity and clarity is extreme hard work. I had to keep on removing ideas and thoughts until there was nothing to remove. Some of the ideas were hard to let go. But that is exactly why I have to do it.
As Dileepa Abeysekara said in his workshop,”to be a good editor you have to let go of your darlings.”
Yesterday I started helping a friend of mine to recover his facebook account. The process is still on. His account is hacked. The linked email account is hacked too. The hacker is sending messages to his friend list asking for weird things.
This can easily happen to you. There were recent hacks in to many accounts of FB. But hey, it is not just FB, there are multiple breaches every day in many digital services.
It’s 3 days since the facebook data hack. It appears there’s so much more to the consequences than we thought. Because facebook is larger than life with more than 2 billion accounts and we are so connected to it for our daily work and life, we carry on despite all the warnings out there. The activists, governments and policy makers do not have much leverage in the face of rapid fire technological advances. There’s a concern, but nobody seems to know how to keep ourselves connected and secure at the same time. Let’s try with basic hygiene as a starter in this blog post.
So what can we do to gain some control of our FB data ?
I strongly suggest you,
Change FB password now.
Don’t use facebook login for other apps like airbnb, booking.com, spotify etc. At least in future don’t use facebook login for other apps.
Go to Facebook’s ‘Security and login’ page in your settings which tells you where your account has been logged in from. If you see a login from a location you do not recognise, you might have been hacked.
Don’t use same password for different social media accounts and websites. Change it to individual, confusing ones. Long passwords with words that make no sense, numbers and special characters, such as &!#@?, are much safer than simpler ones with phrases like family and friends
Use 2 factor authentication – go to the ‘Security and login’ page in your Facebook account settings and set up two-factor authentication. When this feature is activated you will get an SMS to your phone, if someone is logging in to your account from an unknown device or location.
I was at a conference today (September 28, 2018). I wanted to post something on Facebook. In my phone, I felt some kind of a lag when opening facebook app. Then FB app logged me out and asked me to log in .
Strange, I thought.
I typed my password and logged in. Then FB messenger asked me to do the same thing.
Weird, I thought.
Back home, I opened facebook on my laptop. FB logged me out and asked me to log in. Again.
Then a news article caught my eye. I immediately changed my password.
More than 90 million Facebook users were forced to log out of their accounts early Friday, a common safety measure taken when accounts have been compromised.
Facebook said it did not know the origin or identity of the attackers, nor had it fully assessed the scope of the attack. The company said it was still in the beginning stages of its investigation.
Facebook said the attackers had exploited a bug in the site’s “view as” feature, which allows users to to view their own profiles as if they were someone else. The feature was built to give users move control over their privacy.
It appears that my FB account has been compromised. If I did not see this news article, I would have carried on with my life, not knowing the data leakage that has happened for 90 million FB users world wide, out of which I was one.
The magnanimity of data breaches are too complex for ordinary minds to comprehend. The most brilliant minds at FB succumbs to attacks like this time to time. Yet under the radar there are cyber attacks on a daily basis, if not every minute. Most of them are averted.
The convenience of reaching out to your friends online comes at a cost. Only when we are faced with these kind of a breach, we realise how much we are connected and how much we have taken that luxury for granted.
UPDATE: September 29.
When I logged in to FB, I was greeted with this message from FB.
For the past 2 weeks, I formed a new habit. Once in a week, I’ll have a 24 hour vacation from facebook and twitter. Which means one day out of a 7 day week, I’ll be out of facebook and twitter. I questioned my self and got the answers. Here they are.
Q: Why just facebook and twitter? Why not email and chat apps?
facebook and twitter are the most addictive time wasters for me. Keeping a tab on that is really digital detox for me.
Q: How do you select the day ?
I select the day I can afford to be off the grid. I select the day I have to be off the grid. Which means the day I need to be full productive ( Or fully reflective) and also the day I can afford to be offline, which is when I feel people will need lesser interaction with me. This requires judgement. I also mention that I am going offline in a post on both FB and twitter.
Q: How do you really stay out of it. What’s the process ?
In my laptop I activate self control app for 24 hours. In my mobile I uninstall both FB and twitter apps. That’s it. I have no access to FB and twitter now.
Q: Uninstalling apps and installing again, isn’t that a pain?
Yes, it is. That’s why I found this wonderful app Appblock. More about that in a post later.
Q: What do you gain out of this. ?
I love FB and twitter. I learn a lot from people. I have the chance to promote my work. I can get help. I can reach out to people. With out FB and twitter I cannot imagine what would it be like to do the work I do.
But, there comes a time, that I cannot just let go off the phone to browse even at the slightest opportunity. That is when I know I need a detox. Then I plan the work and go offline. It’s just 24 hours. It’s not that much of a time for me to miss anything worthwhile in the internet. But it’s a more than enough time period for me to detox and come back fresh.