At Pacific Coffee this morning I observed a boy; about the age of ten, at an Internet workstation. From the start I see that he is fidgety, and is the type who cannot sit still. When he jumps onto the computer the first thing he does is sign into Facebook. He scans the posts in his Home stream, then proceeds to FishVille for the next 15 minutes.
Throughout his time on the computer I see that he is still fidgety and cannot sit still, but he is able to endure this urge and stay put for FishVille. It is quite interesting how Zynga is able to create games that are addictive to both young and old, but I will leave that for another post.
What worries me is that there is no signs of his parents. I hope they have taught him the basics of information sharing on The Net and it’s dangers.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am all for our young generations embracing technologies, but they need to be first educated on the dangers and importance of personal privacy before jumping in head first. This is particularly important given the recent revamp of Facebook’s privacy settings for it’s user accounts.
I think there needs to be some basic education for everyone who use the Net, no matter at what age. I am definitely not speaking for the monitoring of The Net or filtering The Net access for the end users. The two extremes in this being China and Australia.
It is impossible for any governing body to determine all dangerous or inappropriate contents and activities, which exist today and in the future. Also who is to say what is dangerous and what is appropriate. The society should determine that. It is much more practical to educate the users, empower them to make those decisions, and allow them to act accordingly to protect themselves.
If you remember the following each time you use the Internet you will be on your way to protecting yourself. The following list is in no particular order:
4 Rules of Using the Internet
- Always explicitly log off any web site or services instead of just closing the web browser.
- Never opens/clicks on links directly within emails. Try to locate the referenced content yourself on the said web site or retype the URL yourself in your web browser. Pay attention to any hyperlinks (URLs) that may be trying to spoof the site it is pretending to be.
- Do not click or download any attachments from anyone; even from people you know, unless that person had previously told you he will send you an attachment.
- Before you share any information (content) onto the Internet, you should stop for a moment and think whether you are willing to have this content permanently stored/live on the Internet.
I hope you find these information useful and you will share them with as many people as possible, especially young children.