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Meme and comment - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Meme and comment
Nicked from pookiezegreat.

If there is at least one person in your life whom you consider a close friend, and whom you would not have met without being part of an online fandom, post this sentence in your journal.

You know, sociologically, it would be interesting to actually be able to track this. There are a lot of people I only know online, and one person I met online who is a real life friend now. (And a few I met briefly in RL and have gotten to know better online.) I keep running headlong into things like CIPA (the Children's Internet Protection Act) and all kinds of bizarre attitudes casually voiced by the offline community about how dangerous and weird all of this is, and it's all very strange to me.

Yes, it's true that there are crazy stalker types online, and certainly scam artists, and definitely your run-of-the-mill creepy types. There are hate sites out there. There's porn. But you know what? All of that stuff exists in the real world as well. I'm a big believer in protecting children--honestly, I am!--but the hype about danger online approaches pathological paranoia. Yes, your twelve year old daughter could meet a creepy guy in a chat room, and that's bad. But she could also meet a creepy guy in a mall, or at the local park, in the airport. Where's CAPA (the children's airport protection act)? It's just the internet that gets it.

This is silliness. It's a forum, not a community in itself. It contains many, many communities. Some are bad neighborhoods. Others are perfectly safe places to grow and play. Wouldn't it be smarter to actually teach your children to navigate and use good sense, rather than saying, "Eeek! Internet! SCARY!"
6 comments or Leave a comment
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: December 2nd, 2004 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: December 2nd, 2004 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
This whole brouhaha about "OMG people LIE over teh Internet!" just makes me shake my head, because hasn't it been played for laughs over the years (TV shows, books, movies) about two people who are pen pals and send each other a picture of their more attractive friend and exaggerate about themselves? I guess if you're writing someone a letter with a stamp, it's okay. But lying through a computer makes you OMGEVAL!

Like you say, just teach your children how to be smart about it. You don't put your address and phone number on a public profile. But I'm sure there are more normal people than psychos on the Internet.
volandum From: volandum Date: December 2nd, 2004 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
donnaimmaculata From: donnaimmaculata Date: December 2nd, 2004 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I think part of the fear derives from the fact that Internet users are faceless phantoms. If you (or your child for that matter) meets a creepy guy in the park or at the airport, the creepy guy is instantly recognisable as creepy on account of his shifty looks and long shabby trenchcoat.

The irony aside, it is doubtlessly more difficult to evaluate people via the Internet, because a huge part of human interaction is carried out through body language; speech patterns also play an important role. (Personally, I rely very strongly on my impression regarding the way people speak. If I find a person's voice or way of expressing themselves creepy, I don't want to have anything to do with them.)

All this is not given on the Internet, and I can understand that parents are concerned. Heck, I know a fair few people my age who don't use the Internet as a communication platform, because they are afraid of falling victim to sleazy psychos.

However, just like in RL, there are methods to ensure safe interaction. For once, online encounters are not physical ones - in most cases, the danger of being physically hurt is therefore not immediate. Teaching the children basic rules of interaction (like not giving away their addresses to strangers, duh!) and making them aware of potential dangers in a rational manner is of course the better and more efficient way of dealing with the problem.
dramaturgy From: dramaturgy Date: December 2nd, 2004 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Where's CAPA (the children's airport protection act)?

I'm sure it's pigeon-holed somewhere. Give congress a few months, it'll be out and about.
lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: December 2nd, 2004 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen. I always boggle when I hear about how dangerous the Internet is. What, do they go no further than AOL chatrooms?
6 comments or Leave a comment