Social network users should keep privacy threats in mind

Should seized wild animals be passed over for use in traditional medicines?

The Ha Noi People’s Committee has received a request from the Ha Noi-based National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, asking that it be given the carcasses of dead wild animals seized from traffickers early this month so the hospital can use them for ingredients in traditional medicines.

The hospital said parts of the dead animals, such as deer horns, tiger and monkey bones and pangolin, are key ingredients of traditional medicines.

However, wildlife protection agencies in Viet Nam and around the world have urged that humans not be permitted to eat or use wild animals or their products to stop them being killed for the purpose, to save them from extinction.

What do you think of the hospital’s request? Would granting their request add credence to erroneous claims that wild animal and their products are useful for treating diseases?

If so, what’s a suitable way to deal with the carcasses?

Reply by email to: opinion@vnsmail.com, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311.

Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi. Replies must be received before noon on Thursday, March 21.

Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about their experiences using Facebook and other social networks and whether denigrating others on social networks should be banned.
Arti Samakaria, Indian, Sydney

Your question reminded me of the case of a girl in Sydney who helped her grandmother count her savings and then posted the photos of these savings on Facebook. On that day, two men broke into her house and demanded she give them all the money.

I am a Facebook user who spends a few hours each night chatting and commenting on statuses and photos. I also update my status, but not about personal problems. I don’t think it is smart to reveal everything in your life on a social network, where your virtual friends can be bad or good. You really don’t know who might make use of your information to harm you or anybody else.

For me, Facebook is just an entertainment and connection channel where my friends and I comment on films and books, where I can chat with family members in my country and where I learn life stories or read interesting reviews.

It is also an online shopping centre where I can find fashions from my favorite shops. Thanks to this, I can save a lot of time.

I like Facebook because of its applications, but I control myself from becoming addicted to it. It is just a tool to help my life more comfortable and interactive, not something that can destroy my life.

If you are a smart user, nothing bad will happen to you!

Le Ngoc Tuyet, Vietnamese, Hai Phong

Facebooking is the most effective way to kill time. Especially when there is a special event. It takes a long time to edit photos of the event and reply to the endless comments.

Facebook is really a matrix where you can easily get lost.

My friends are in the same boat. This made my teacher complain that several years ago, online games were the main reason students were sleepless and could not concentrate on class, but now this is due to social networks.

I am also afraid that at some point in time, my friends and I will gather at a cafe but say nothing to each other because we are busy sticking our eyes on our smartphones for Facebooking. We also send messages on Facebook even when we are sitting next to each other.

I have tried several ways to limit my Facebook use. For example, before signing out, I do not post new photos or statuses so that I can avoid being concerned about how many likes I will get or what the comments will be.

Jessie Yang, Korean, Seoul

I have given up Facebook for one year. Since then, I have felt happier and have led a real life.

I really regret the hours I spent on Facebook every day in the past. At that time, I was addicted to Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t switch off my phone at night because I was scared that I would miss out on what people would say. I put my phone under my pillow and woke up for a few minutes in the middle of the night to check Facebook and Twitter and see whether there was news related to me. Then I went back to sleep. This was a regular habit.

Whenever and wherever I went, I took photographs and checked in to show off.

I have now taken up blogging. I spend several minutes noting down the most remarkable events in my day in my online diary before going to bed. It is still highly interactive as others can comment on it, but it is not addictive.

Instead of updating news on Facebook or Twitter every second, you should try deactivating your account, going out and having real experiences in real time. When you get home, think over your day and write an online note. Then turn off the phone and have a sound sleep. You will surely feel your life is much more meaningful.

I keep in touch with my friends via phone calls and text messages.

Nguyen Hai An, Vietnamese, Ha Noi

Facebook is an online interactive class where my students can directly express their opinions on my statuses and images. There, I don’t have to say boring words to teach them anything. I just need to share meaningful videos or sayings or moving lyrics on my wall. They are so wonderful that they can change my students’ attitude or behavior.

I can also share links related to studying on my wall – something that’s impossible to do in formal classes.

I also take advantage of Facebook and other social networks to acknowledge my students’ feelings or life events affecting their study.

Last term, a student of mine suddenly became stubborn and did not pay attention to studying. Through his status and stories other classmates posted on their walls, I found out that his parents were going to separate. I messaged him to make him feel better and give him some advice.

My students sometimes put their opinions about school or teachers on Facebook. Based on this, I can improve my teaching methods and my behaviour. Sometimes they also write rude words. I don’t judge them when that happens. If possible, I first help them handle the situation and then comment on their words.

Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi

There is a dangerous world emerging on the Internet. Parents, businesses and governments are grappling with this complexity and over the jurisdiction of this borderless entity. The information superhighway is full of pitfalls and potholes.

Phishers and data miners track, steal and assume your identity. Cookies latch onto you like parasites. Google Maps may be great for searching, but evil eyes are spying at all times. That Facebook ‘friend’ can see your house and expensive belongings and knows what car you drive.

Canada is the biggest downloader of (illegal) music. We spend the most time online. That’s not something to brag about. Vietnam needs to educate its citizens about identity theft and about falling in love online.

Sometimes that happy female teen you just met is actually a middle-aged man. He’s not innocent. Some websites are now set up for cheating on your partner. Police are ill-equipped to intervene and often get involved too late.

Parents need to set up firewalls and get advice on browser settings. Lock up the car keys and lock up the adult sites. Keep computers out of bedrooms. Good luck in trying to control this beast. The monsters are no longer in the closet. They hover and lurk everywhere online, 24/7.

Ha Lan Phuong, Vietnamese, Ha Noi

When my daughter was 17 years old, I heard that she had a boyfriend. I was worried but had no way to check this. Through her tutor, I got her Facebook name. I established an account and added her as a friend to follow her status.

I was quite shocked when my daughter posted photos with her boyfriend on Facebook and wrote terrible words which I had never imagined she knew.

Angrily, I immediately banned her from Facebook. She was so shocked when she found out I was monitoring her. She said that I had intruded into her privacy and she felt disappointed.

We did not talk for two weeks. Finally, I decided that I was wrong. We reached an agreement: I would allow her to use Facebook, but she would not be allowed to write bad words or speak ill of others.

I know that many students are using Facebook to insult their teachers and parents. They feel they are not responsible for their words because they assume that this is a virtual world where they can say anything they like. However, they should understand that Facebook reveals their personality. —VNS

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