Using the internet is like crossing the street- sometimes, you need it to get somewhere (or accomplish a goal); you can look both ways and still get hit.
… Pardon me for the violent comparison.
Now, the fortunate thing is, cars do not normally drive through your house. Or, at least, I hope not!!)The issue is, the internet is more than likely frequently used in your home. (But, if you are the type to survive a day without googling something, I’m gonna have to go ahead and commend you.)
In a sense, the internet can be likened to a power tool. Highly useful, and potentially disastrous. You have to know how to handle what you’re messing with, or you could get seriously hurt.
Granted, your computer will not come to life and eat your hand or anything, but it can do some serious damage to you as a person.
Let’s consider this …
1. Who is threatened?
Scarily enough, nearly every single person is. This isn’t just a matter of a computer getting a virus, either. It’s also a matter of a computer ruining your personal security and invading your mind. Pretty much, if you can work a computer to at least find the internet, you are in jeopardy.
Does that make you a little nervous? … It probably should.
2. What kind of dangers are out there?
There is the technical side of things: viruses corrupting your system and hackers breaking into your files and things. Branching from that, these hackers and viruses (and more) can work to destroy you personally by stealing and using your information. Many hackers are capable of breaking into people’s bank accounts and stealing money, opening credit cards in people’s names, etc. Therefore, identity theft is a huge side effect from individual’s conduct on the internet. We really need to be much more cautious about what we post online, because there are more dangers. Not all people simply violate from behind a screen.
On sites for gaming and social media, dating sites, and all that stuff that can be totally fun if you’re into that sorta thing, people can lie. It’s super easy to pretend to be someone you’re not on the internet. You can find many a story on people meeting new “friends” over an internet site, going to meet them in person, and that meeting turns into a murder or a rape or an escape from the creeper they met. How freaky is that? And it’s real! Everybody tends to think “Oh, that would never happen to me.” And I sincerely hope that is correct. Even so, we should try to guard ourselves from the possibilities, because it could happen.
People are also not very wise about sharing where they currently are. If you are being stalked and you post a picture of yourself at such and such location, what makes you think that person will not try to find you? I mean, come on.
Or, if a thief is keeping tabs, sees that you’re not home, and decides it would be a prime opportunity to go break into your home.
***Think before you post.***
Cyberbullying is another growing internet danger. People will post or comment horrible things to others, cutting them down, calling them names, sometimes anonymously. All bullying is cowardly, but this is especially so- taking out your insecurities on someone else from behind the screen. Because of the lifestyle of society nowadays (meaning the phone is basically always on and right there with you), there is no escape from this kind of harassment. You can’t go home and leave it at school or work or wherever it may be. It follows you everywhere.
3. Where are the dangers lurking?
You can really never be too careful. I won’t sit here and say that it isn’t possible for you to have security on the internet, but technology, no matter how well-equipped, is not infallible.
4. When should you take precaution?
Be mindful always. Honestly, even being cautious won’t necessarily guarantee you will never be “attacked” by these threats in some form or another.
For instance, I don’t go looking for trouble and sketchy, nasty, promiscuous things on the internet, but I have come across that and seen things I wish I could erase from my mind.
Is that unfair to me that I had to see something I didn’t want to because of someone else’s messed up idea of entertainment? It absolutely is. This is why we ALL ought to think about what we put on the internet. You may not post dirty, scandalous things, but you can encourage others to keep it clean, and fun, and helpful!
Far be it from me to say that the internet is pure evil and to stay away from it completely.
It is simply a tool! Some people use it to build up, others to tear down.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy on the internet. We open ourselves up to the danger, whether it is something clearly sketchy like conversing with a total stranger over some chat or posting a racy photo or maybe it’s a picture of you and your friends getting wasted. Remember how many people can find those photos … Maybe you’re trying to get a job somewhere, and they see that picture. Would you want to hire someone who gives off the impression that those photos would give? I’m gonna go with “No.”
I say AGAIN:
***Think before you post.***
5. Why is this so essential?
Because it is a major part of our lives. The internet is part of how we communicate, express ourselves, learn, and share. You are on the internet right now. Maybe it was to check in on Facebook, or check your work email, or update your website, or watch funny YouTube videos. I don’t know what it was that brought you here, but I do hope that you are being wise in your choices, because the internet affects us all.
The internet is a privilege, don’t use it to abuse it.
Be aware, be careful, and above all, be safe.
Thank you for joining me again and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog here! We are here to use the internet in a positive way and show you how to change and be a change in this world.
If you’d like to read some statistics and/or a story about a young woman whose choices on the internet almost cost her her life, click on this link: Teens of America Choices Magazine
‘Til next time!