Friday, December 9, 2011

Rules Are Changing

Everybody knows the internet rules. Don't mention where you live. Don't tell anybody your last name. While you're at it, don't even give them your real first name. Don't talk to people online if you've never met them in reality. Never, ever, meet an online friend in reality.
But the rules are changing. When you think about it, those rules came into existence when online communication meant chatrooms and, for the kiddies, virtual worlds like Club Penguin. Does anybody really use chatrooms anymore? They've given away to social networking sites. Chatting is fun, but it's more fun when you can add pictures and search for long-lost friends. With facebook, you have to put your full name on your page, otherwise nobody knows who the heck you are.
As for meeting in person, a survey of 10,000 couples taken back in 2008 reported that 14% of married couples surveyed met online. That isn't to say you should meet any random internet friend in person and then get in a car with them. Lots of these couples probably met on safe dating networks.
Personally, I think it's okay to use your real name when you're leaving a comment on  an online article or facebook page. All the kidnapping stories I've heard happened after a predator took several months to build up a relationship online. None of them snatched some random girl who put her first and last name on her facebook page which  they used to track her down.
There's no doubt the internet has changed in the past five or so years. The rules have evolved along with them.

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