Sunday, May 4, 2008


Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed a sudden surge of Facebook invitations?

In the past two weeks, we've gone from having no connections to receiving 4 or five invitations per day.

It's amazing how the Internet has undeniably made it easier for Filipinos to connect, and probably to leave as well (knowing that their loved ones are just a free skype call away).

The use of networking sites like Facebook, Friendster and Multiply by Filipinos is well known and documented - we suppose it reflects something about our social nature. But it is important for us - and government - to study and understand this trend more.

We did an informal survey of some twelve community e-centers in various rural barangays throughout the Philippines several months back. It wasn't very scientific, but we found that fully 70% of the users were women, and majority of them were using it to surf social networking sites. Apparently, they were looking for companionship, or more bluntly, husbands.

Now, we should point out that there is nothing wrong, we think, about using the Internet to do this. After all, millions of people all over the world go to online dating services for precisely the same reason.

But, it behooves government to see if it can validate that this is a larger trend. Because if it is, then there are policy steps that need to be taken. At the very least, we believe that government must make a conscious and very public effort to educate our fellow Filipinos and Filipinas on the possible dangers of online "friendships" with a view - not of censoring or discouraging certain types of Internet use - but of fostering a safe environment that will further strengthen the links that bind Filipinos everywhere.

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