Social engineering at work

Mahmudur Rahman | Published: October 05, 2018 21:23:20 | Updated: October 05, 2018 22:13:59

That social media works contrary to its name and is creating a generation that is with it but totally aloof from interaction is a foregone conclusion. Physicians and psychologists are worried enough for the UK government seeking an informed opinion on which to act. Since the outcome isn't known yet, the recommended action is also unclear but it is more than likely to follow the moves against obesity, especially childhood obesity.

A rule likely to gain popularity worldwide is forcing fast food and sugary drink advertising to be aired after 5:00pm, the estimated time that TV becomes out of bound for children. Social media is fertile ground for advertising and so time limits and indeed location limits might well be the norm in future. Schoolchildren in tests have reacted well to bans on cell phones during classes though harsher imposition may well create a backlash.

It is the latest of social engineering efforts that were resisted from the time they were introduced and yet are so much in vogue today. Under-age smoking has been significantly addressed by id checks and child locking system on TV and hotel TVs have worked just as well. The developing world with their own priorities lag behind but it's a question of 'when' rather than' if'. Even with malnutrition-prevalent societies added-sugar is being frowned upon, hence the focus on naturally occurring sugar in foods, that too in limited portions. The difficulty lies in convincing mothers and families that the impact of obesity hits much later in life and that balance, just as in most matters, reigns supreme. Bangladesh obesity figures are difficult to pinpoint but these have doubled n the UK leading to concerns over the future pressure on an increasingly creaking National Health Service.

In countries such as Bangladesh where the line between off-prime hours are blurred to say the least, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament has called for late-hour Facebook access to be denied as this type of social media is wreaking havoc with children's study time. Good idea; bad timing for the horse has truly bolted.

Some form of restriction is required. The well-knit family values that overcame many social evils are already under an irreversible onslaught. Social media just makes it worse. Profanity and, worse still, dubious scams abound through social network and evidence mounts over paedophilic activity using the Internet. The Prime Minister has raised the issue of some form of control mechanism on social media by its creators to prevent further damage to social fabric. With 50 million Facebook ids having been compromised the future isn't just bleak; it borders on the disastrous.


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