Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

The dark side…

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This report in The Age is not something I particularly want to write about or for that matter even think about, but given the prevalence of the internet in all our lives, we all have a responsibility to be aware. Paedophiles.  How do we eradicate them?

A snippet from the article linked above:

“Thanks to my new friends for helping me realise that I am more normal than I thought I was,” reads a wall post by one user, who talks about abusing his “gorgeous” 10-year-old daughter.

“So this is where we let it all hang out and can finally talk openly and share with like-minded people.”

To quote Hillary Clinton’s use of a Nigerian saying once again, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  Just with this particular problem we are talking LOTS of children and a very large village: the global internet village.

Yes, I know, Facebook and many other social networking sites have an age criteria for joining.  That in itself doesn’t mean we should just turn a blind eye to the use of such sites by predators. 

I agree it is not solely the responsibility of the sites to police such activity.  The scale is prohibitive. We need a better way of ensuring people can’t just sign straight back up, which is effectively the case now.

The internet is the one place where we can all be someone other that who we are in real life.  In fact, there are many people advising us to make sure we hide our identity on the internet as a form of protection.  I ask myself (and you) where else in life can we hide our identity and get away with it for very long?  The bank? The local police? The tax office?  Medicare? Take away for a moment all the warnings about identity theft and so on and look at the bare bones of this hiding.  Why do we, as a society, make out the internet is so different to the rest of life?

We even refer to the “rest of life” as “real life” on the internet, neatly shortened to RL, of course.  Along with TTFN, LOL, BBL, AFK, IDK……….. the list goes on.

Hang on a minute – the internet is just a part of real life.  It isn’t a thing apart, a fourth dimension, an imaginary world.  That is a cop-out.  The keyboard you type on is real.  The screen is real.  The heat sink in your computer is real, as is the CPU and the motherboard.  The person you email, tweet, IM, wall post or whatever is flesh and blood, just like you and I.  So what is so unreal about the place?

Perhaps if we stop pretending, if we stop hiding behind anonymity and tighten up identity theft laws and punishments, if everyone has to prove who they are before delving into cyberspace we might just solve a whole plethora of problems.

Let’s all stop pretending.

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Posted in News

Tagged with , , , ,

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