The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world in a manner that can never be surpassed. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities. Today around 40% of the world population has an internet connection, a tenfold increase between 1999 to 2013 with the first billion recorded in 2005, the second in 2010 and the third billion in 2014. A mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location, the Internet has been the reason for terms like “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “http://www.that.com”.
The Internet has become the backbone of smart businesses and a major revenue stream for some major entrepreneurs and businesses the world over, from Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, through to Bill Gates, this little small area network (known as the network of networks) that sparked off during the peak of the cold war is now reaping billions for companies that trade directly or indirectly with it. In as much as the Internet is this Revenue masterpiece it has introduced new mediums for people who are determined to exploit its bad side, as water is a good servant but a bad master. As is in normal terms sometimes a good idea can have its bad side if not used in regulation. Social Networking is a good example of this.
The term social media is used to describe Internet sites in which people interact by sharing media such as videos, music, and photos. The advent of Social media has made privacy and virtual relationships a bane on society though differing from many current social networking sites in that it asks not “Who can I connect with?” but rather, “Who can I connect with that was once a schoolmate of mine?” social media proved almost immediately that the idea of a virtual reunion was a good one. Social media now boasts some 57 million registered accounts. When it was created it was so that people could share thoughts and ideas with like minded people and keep in touch with distant family. Then it evolved into the monster it is today. It is heavily involved in every aspect of your life now even if you choose not to use it. Every now and then we hear a try at social networking go bad, people posting comments they would regret, pictures or videos they rather shouldn’t have or even mistakenly sharing, now there are social media platforms that want you to plot your every location and activity at every given point in time. Meanwhile on the other side Employers are basing their hiring decisions on what they see on social media rather than on the resume? there are stories of people losing their jobs, health insurance coverage and even their relationships because of something on social media that seemed totally innocent at the time? It’s obscene the level of personal privacy we have given up in the 21st century and I think most of us do not even realize it has happened.
We must understand that when we post on the internet we have posted a thought that would stay with the world forever and unfortunately the Internet is not as forgiving as we may think neither is it forgetful. When you post on the internet it is our way of screaming the world “THIS IS WHAT I AM UP TO” private messages are not so private and times photos and videos are stored on servers forever.
As stated by Robin Olsen, “the Internet is definitely not secure, no more secure than walking down a street in the middle of the day in a very large city. In such a scenario you are routinely filmed without your knowledge by CCTV, cell phone cameras, regular everyday digital cameras and even the occasional TV camera.” this is a clear picture of our privacy and the Internet today your every keystroke is recorded, every blink and every photo you upload is archived. With the Internet the word delete is a facade and an illusion, remove is a better word to describe what the “Delete” buttons want you to believe. When you tell Facebook i want to close my account, what you have told them indirectly is “can you log me out of my account?” which they would gladly do but all the images, status messages, notes, and everything you have ever posted still lie on their servers, you just don’t have access to them tho you put them there you can check your Facebook end-user agreement which i can bet you skipped when signing up. Be sure of this, everything you put up on the internet STAYS on the internet for at least a VERY long time and it can be viewed by a wide variety of people for many different reasons.
Sometime back we heard a story of a woman who suffered from chronic depression. She was given time off from work to deal with the issue and was paid by the medical insurance company while she was off from work. On the advice of a doctor, recommended to her by the medical insurance company, she took a vacation to Mexico to help relieve the stress and depression. She posted pictures of her vacation on Facebook when she got back and the insurance company seen them, they said she was lying and could not possibly be depressed and going on vacation at the same time and cut off her benefits. This woman probably thought she was only posting to her own circle and chances are good the insurance company is not a part of that circle yet they still got the photos. How did that happen? No privacy on the internet. There are other stories out there as well, teachers who have been disciplined for what they have said on Facebook in private chats or in rooms. Don’t do, post or say anything on the internet you would not do in public.
Safety on the internet and social media sites should be a major priority, as it stands now the internet is definitely not safe. before i speak about safety for kids and minors i should sound a word of caution; If your guts don’t feel right about something on the internet let go of it. Again on the topic of safety we have heard many stories of fraud, identity theft, cyber bullying and many others. Many Internet users click on just about anything and ignore many or all terms and conditions and privacy policies and this lifestyle is what is accountable for the gullibility. Now safety for your kids is dependent on you, the best piece of advice in this area is to learn how to use the built in firewalls on your routers to block out specific websites from your child or even for your own benefit. Do not just rely on the built-in Parental Controls that comes with software firewalls to work. Most of these do not screen out social media the way it should. No one under the age of 18 should be on social media. It serves no purpose to kids other than to distract them, keep them inside and get them into trouble.
Consider the recent bullying cases involving Facebook. In the old days, before social media, a bullied child would at least normally be safe at home from the bullies but now they get no respite at all, bullying in schools pours over to bullying at home in the form of Facebook threats, insulting tweets and constant insulting and threatening text messages. Don’t even get your kid a cell phone, they are not required. They are distractions at best and tools of aggression and hostility at worst. Constant and unrelenting bullying has lead to suicide among our young people, and get into reviewing your kids interactions with social media. Save and review internet history listings in your browsers. Learn how to review the log files that are generated by your routers and operating systems. Everything you need to know is probably there and don’t be afraid to block websites.
Never do, post or say anything on the internet that you would not want repeated over and over again and which you would not do in public.
Everything that goes on the internet stays on the internet probably for ever as far as you are concerned.
Immediately head on to your privacy settings on your social media platform, disallow people you know actually know to perform activities regarding you. Do not allow just everybody to be able to share your thoughts or tag or mention you in a post or even comment on your status. Basically limit your account to just you and your close circle of friends. Thant is the actual purpose of Social media; You and your friends
Be careful the games and third-party applications you play and patronize on Facebook and other social media platforms. You should know that these applications are sometimes provided with far more user information than needed. This poses a potential privacy breach.
Social Media should be restricted to the over 18 crowd. This should be a conscious decision of us, as parents. Today, pedophile live and hunt on the internet.
Don’t get your kids a cell phone and if you really have to then get them a BASIC cell phone, not a iPhone or a Blackberry, so that they cannot go on the internet outside of the house.
Social Media was not created for evil purposes but, like anything, it can be misused by a wide variety of people who are in search of avenues to defraud and dupe users. Research: Wikipedia, Google, Internet Live Stats
Author: Klenam Koku Uba Fiadzoe || Co-Founder Yougora