The dangers online that everyone should know of

There is no doubt that to every parent, their child is without a doubt the best and considered to be above everyone else. While it may be easy to lose sight of what is right and wrong or to always protect them, it is unwise to not be aware of the dangers and ignore what goes on around you.

If you have been on the internet long enough, you probably have come across many kinds of viruses, hackers, seditious content against celebrities and what not. The internet is a vast sea of information and just like there are a million ways to use and put up information online, there are as many if not more ways to access and misuse that information. With almost every activity and phenomenon being available online privacy and personal information is easily available. People put up all kinds of posts. Gone are the days when there was such a thing as something too personal. Your life is on display for the whole world, consciously or unconsciously and much of social networking has been instrumental in speeding up this process.

I was pretty shocked although I have been posting and networking online on the ‘cool’ and ‘young’ sites to see someone else’s parent putting up pictures of her episode of cancer, information about the surgery and so on for the whole world to see. You may argue that it’s to reassure your friends but how many of those names on the friends list are truly beyond acquaintances. If they all are, did you know that the information that a friend is privy to sometimes is viewed by another common friend who is not connected to you on face book? Wanting to share details of your struggles and perhaps even get courage and support from your online network of family and friends is fine, but what about it simply being attention seeking. What about giving out information to potential stalkers or burglars about your life and what you are going through? What about the many dangers to yourself apart from an invasion of privacy and people knowing your every move?

There have been enough and more shocking details exposed online and what people do not realize is that even a post made by accident that you take off later still remains accessible online to those who want to find it or hunt for it.  When you delete your face book or my space page, it does not go away. It still remains as a cache which still pops up later and will last online for a long time to come. Options like places on face book are just as dangerous as it allows people to find out exactly where you are at any point in time. Internet safety is a very serious affair. Most folks just take it for granted that they are online, on chat, on pictures and in posts making their personal life and perhaps every move visible to someone interested to find it. In the wrong hands it could be potentially dangerous to a degree you cannot fathom.

Another problem with the widespread intrusion of the internet into our lives is the kind of information that its making available to users all around. Firstly not everything that you Google is true and correct. There are at times, wrong, false and spurious content published in a number of websites and  if you believe everything you find online you are going to have very skewed and inaccurate information. Millions of content writers in different parts of the world contribute articles to the internet for a number of websites. Many a time someone writing about real estate choices in Newark or New jersey could be typing from their home in Calcutta and would never have even been on the shores of America. The article about HGH and its benefits in muscle building and virility would have been penned by an undergraduate with no knowledge of HGH whatsoever and with hardly any research done on it. Most of the content is promotional and meant to make a website popular for trafficking purposes these days or simply content rewritten from an inept source even on forums like Wikipedia! So if you want good content and one that is reliable, you will still have to turn to your encyclopedia and your books which trust me are far more reliable and are written by reputed authors and well qualified persons.

Chatting  is yet another popular pastime for many youngsters. Often your child may be speaking to some years older and who knows from which corner of the world. With lives getting busier there is no one who can get access to people sitting anywhere in the world. Make sure that even if you are too busy and unable to spend enough time your child is not too lonely, depressed moody, irritable or constantly online. Have clear rules about when they can communicate with friends, listen even if with one ear, they will continue to share only if you do. Don’t drive your children away into bigger problems, be there and let them know that even if you are angry for something wrong they do, the bigger concern is about their safety and well being.

Dangers on the internet are not limited to privacy issues and wrongful content. There is also the danger of it offering youngsters options to earn through illegal means and resorting to pornographic content, chats or other methods to earn a quick buck.  You might think, my child would never do that! Well think again because concepts of morality, privacy, conduct and more are being redefined every day. Either parents give their kids way too much money or hardly any and both lead to them seeking higher thrills or options to make a quick buck. Children are putting up strip shows, engaging in adult behavior and more through the internet in the privacy of their rooms and becoming easy targets for pedophiles and other criminals these days.  At times, it could be an innocent picture demanded by another older child that then gets leaked out that ruins your child’s life. As a parent, be vigilant, have the necessary software installed to track what they are doing even if you feel like a total voyeur. Better safe than sorry, have the computer in the family room and be on social networking sites that are popular so you know what’s happening and discuss issues that you think they should know about with your kids. Be aware and beware of the dangers the internet holds. It is Pandora’s box being unleashed and you want to be sure you do not get caught up in the aftermath.

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