Live by simple safety rules
Published 11:47 am Monday, March 26, 2007
The Internet has been a tremendous social tool used by millions of people to connect with others as close as their own neighborhood to as far away as around the world. The socially conscious have found a new outlet, and the shy introverts have found their comfort zone.
In short, the Internet is a place where all walks of life congregate, find friendships and socialize. To this extent, the Internet is praiseworthy.
However, we are continually reminded of the dangers the Internet poses to people of all ages - from vulnerable youth, to impressionable teens, to eager young adults.
The main danger of the Internet is the predator who could be at the other end of an unassuming screen name. And for every kind of person on the Internet, a predator seems to have come to prey.
The most talked-about predator is the sick-o who lures pre-teen girls into their sexual trap. The news division of NBC has dedicated numerous Dateline specials to the cause of trapping and exposing teen predators.
For certain, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on the Internet. Parents need to know how to use parental controls, check browser histories and read chat logs. These simple steps will help protect their most valuable loved ones.
But young adults also face grave dangers from the Internet. With online dating becoming as prevalent as meeting someone at a local bar or a church social, caution must be taken. Getting to know someone online is far more difficult than doing so in person, where body language, voice intonation and eye contact can give clues about a person.
Over the Internet, words are simply exchanged on a screen. The next step is usually the phone call. Finally, there is the face-to-face visit.
Live by simple rules for safety: never give out personal information (including phone numbers) and always meet for the first few times in a public setting.
If the person is worth it, they will understand and respect your caution.
The Demopolis Times