Monday, June 04, 2007

Watch out for those tubes!

Apparently, it's Internet Safety Month. I don't doubt that there are some really problematic situations that arise because of the availability of the Internet, but the Internet itself is not dangerous in the same way that roads and highways in and of themselves are not dangerous. So I find the whole thing a bit silly. It gives people the opportunity to demonize something they don't understand. I do think parents should talk to their kids about Internet usage, about not giving out details or addresses or phone numbers. But I also think parents should participate themselves as much as possible so that they know and understand what their kids are participating in. When I used to hang out at the mall, my parents knew and understood that venue, so I think parents should do the same with the Internet. Get yourself a blog, an avatar in whatever online world your kid likes, have an IM account and use it with your kids, watch them play games. In other words, be involved the same way you would be involved in their other activities. But it's not the deep dark woods where people are lying in wait to take your children and bake them in a pie.

In a recent poll, parents ranked Internet safety above abuse as a major health concern. According to information I found here, about .00007% of all children using the Internet are abducted. Woah. Almost 4 times as many children are abducted by family members. But watch out for the Internet.

I think privacy concerns are probably more of concern to all of us, no matter what age. A lot of data about us is floating around out there and we are, most of us, trusting of those who have it. Identity theft is a concern, but I'm personally more concerned about the government or even a major corporation using the data immorally. But I'm not sure the government has the technological firepower to do much with the flood of information they have, but that's not to say that they won't someday. Still, I'm not going to be too paranoid about it, and of course, this kind of Internet safety isn't what the government had in mind when they declared June to be Internet safety month. After all, the government wouldn't hurt you (much).

So, I'm going to go skating along the Information superhighway. I'll have my seatbelt on, but I might go over the speed limit a bit. Be careful out there!