Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things More Dangerous Than Internet

Caution: Subtlety ahead.
Every time my school has an assembly, we kick it off with a video informing us that Bullying Is Bad, Peer Pressure Is Bad, or Drugs Is Bad. They're brought to us by what I like to call the Dude That's Not Cool Committee. Today's moral was Internet Is Bad.
Our principal introduced "this special video on one of the biggest dangers of this generation: Internet."
What about chemical warfare? They have teenagers in Syria. Sure, thousands of children have died, but at least their dictator shut off twitter first. Wouldn't want to corrupt a generation.
Gives you carpal tunnel
Attacks your face with cat memes
Sparks debates about international controversy 
Deletes several hours of your life
Chemical Warfare:
Makes your body bloated
Attacks your face with poisonous gases
Sparks international controversy
Deletes your life

Ooh, and what about bullets? I think Bullets Is Bad and Cancer Is Bad and Starvation Is Bad and Fire Is Bad and Flooding Is Bad.
Today's Dude That's Not Cool Committee were a bunch of  "average" teens. Strangely enough, they didn't look like average teens. They looked like actors. Older ones. Prettier ones. But they couldn't act, so that idea's out. An adult, who looked pretty much like the rest of them, showed them how much information a stranger can learn about you in just six clicks.
He learned...that one of the girls liked My Little Pony. And she had dandruff. Another girl got diarrhea from a goat milk smoothie and one of the boys was cheating on his girlfriend.
Let that be a lesson to you, children! Don't cheat on your girlfriend with the same account. This could happen to you.
Internet safety is overhyped. When I was in elementary school, they warned about chat rooms and mini worlds like Club Penguin and Millsberry. Don't tell anyone your real name. Don't tell anyone your age. Don't tell anyone your gender. Don't tell anyone your nationality. It all made sense to me. Anonymity is part of the point there. But I can't convince myself those same arguments apply to social networking.
Let me explain the idea behind social networking. It's networking. And it's social.
This message brought to you by Captain Obvious. 
There's a reason married women use their maiden names on Facebook. There's a reason students put the name of their high schools. There's a reason entrepenuers post their company names. You want to network.
If you use fake names (like I did when I first got into it) your friends can't find you. Big Bad Kidnappers can't find you either, but how often does that happen?
Yes, we see it on the news. About once a year. That's because it's newsworthy. If a fourteen year old girl gets abducted, murdered, and thrown in a ditch by some creep she met online, she'll make headlines. If a twenty eight year old woman meets a guy on eHarmony, dates him, and then gets married, no one will care. Except for the Facebook friends who come to their wedding.
I don't think the Internet is dangerous. It's distracting, confusing, and filled with information you'll never need, but it's just a tool. It can only hurt you if you use it the wrong way.
Like an anvil.

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