Rhineland students need Facebook lessons, minister says

Students in North Rhine-Westphalia needed to learn responsible online behaviour on social networks like Facebook, the state government said on Thursday, as it proposed a new education programme for internet manners in schools.

Rhineland students need Facebook lessons, minister says
Photo: DPA

The coalition of centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and environmentalist Greens wants students to earn a media competence certificate, the Minister for Federal Affairs and Media, Angelica Schwall-Düren, told the WAZ media group.

As well as their parents, children’s “schools should take part in teaching girls and boys to handle digital possibilities rationally,” she said.

This means training them to deal with social network sites such as Facebook sensibly, she said.

Schwall-Düren told WAZ that personal data given without caution can lead to mobbing and “also hinder social and professional careers,” she said.

She said students needed to the ability to evaluate and judge news reports – among other skills – to properly handle the influx of information they received on the internet.

“Many people believe reports on the internet or television without critique,” she said. “But in discussions, one realises that they haven’t understood the topics at all.”

Facebook has come under fire in Germany in recent months, with Consumer Minister Ilse Ainger vowing in July to delete her account in protest of the site’s controversial privacy policies.

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