On the other hand, some believe exactly the opposite of Turkle’s invalid inquisition that the internet is a tool that is most definitely not for the greater good. The internet is a major promoter of violence and bad habits, it allows abusers to reach people that do not want to be reached and it opens many of us up to identity theft and malware viruses. The internet is an extremely risky device that many of the common users take for granted due to the lack of knowledge of its dangers.
With the great power that the internet provides comes great responsibility that its users must also provide. Just like many other things, there are people who lack such responsibility and use the internet with bad intentions. Influencing Violence The first point of discussion pertaining to the harmfulness of the World Wide Web is that it is a great promoter of violence and bad habits. Users are free to roam to any type of website they please, whether it is a game site, social networking site, forum site and etcetera.
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The internet has no restrictions as to what people put on websites and web pages. Much like violence in video games, the internet can influence violence towards its users as well. Michele L. Ybarra speaks about the amount that children are influenced by the violent website on the internet today in her essay “Linkages Between Internet and Other Media Violence With Seriously Violent Behavior by Youth,” which was published in the “Official Journal Of The American Academy Of Pediatrics. ” The internet is a host to many violent games and violent based websites alike.
About 97% of the youth ages 12-18 are using online communications and have online access (Ybarra 929). With this many kids on the internet they can browse and view hate pages which discriminate against people or they can come across violent related web pages as well (Ybarra 930). With this increased exposure to these websites, causes an increase in violent behavior among our youth. Ybarra and her team conducted a study of 10-15 year old children and the effects of the different sources of violent media on their real habits.
The results showed substantial results of increased violent behavior among the group that was associated with the violent media (Ybarra 933). Results reported that the violent behaviors included shooting or stabbing, aggravated assault, robbery and sexual assault (Ybarra 933). Among the many types of media that was studied such as: music, video games, television and the internet, the type of media that was the most influential was the internet (Ybarra 933).
Ybarra goes to show her readers that most of all websites used included killing, fighting and shooting which in correlation contributed to the stimulus of the children’s anger level, having delinquent friends, and substance use such as drugs and alcohol (933). The monitoring of what our children view on the internet is crucial towards their health and well being, without monitoring our children are prone to be influenced by immoral and violence behaviors. Reaching Those Who do Not Want to be Reached
Another harmful risk that the internet so willfully provides is the dangers of domestic violence and child predators. The internet allows predators and violent domestic partners to access people and children on a wide scale with the click of a mouse. The various social networking sites that the internet provides is practically like a database for people to access whoever they want. Although children and the victims of domestic violence do not want to be reached by predators and violent spouses, it is easy for these terrible people to reach them without their own consent.
As I myself say, the internet is “Stalking made easy. ” In her article, “Friend Request or Foe,” Laurie L. Baughman persuades her audience of the dangers and risks pertaining to internet stalking, mainly pertaining to domestic violence. Baughman is a senior attorney at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, thus giving her the right to speak about the topic. Facebook itself has over 400 million active viewers, and it considered the most popular online social networking sight for adults and children alike (Baughman 933).
Baughman also points out that Facebook users in total upload approximately three billion photos every month and the average user spends about 55 minutes a day on the site (934-935). With such astronomical numbers like these, this introduces a whole new type of stalking based violence that was once again introduced by the internet. To start, pertaining to the issue of domestic violence, which is the major topic that Baughman discusses in her essay. She feels that it is an extremely dangerous asset that the internet has brought upon society.
Baughman asserts in her essay “…Internet users who are victims of domestic violence may be vulnerable to further abuse or may experience harassment or stalking through these social networking mediums” (935). This quote offers a brief summary of the topic that Baughman is most concerned about in her essay, which will be addressed below. Domestic violence is defined as abusive behavior in a relationship to gain or maintain power, all of which can be done by actions or threats (Baughman 936).
To show how much of a problem domestic violence has become; Baughman uses the quote “An estimated 1. million women are victims of physical assault each year” (936). With the amount of people attached to the internet today, many domestic assaults root from internet stalking. These social networking website were people post pictures and information about themselves has become a source of vulnerability of victims of domestic violence (Baughman 940). For example, many of us post pictures and personal information on Facebook, but what many do not know is that there can be bad people that we do not want seeing this information looking at it as well.
Many of you may be familiar with the quote from Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility,” this is much like the quote from Baughman’s essay when she states “Using technology is like a super power: you can use it for bad and you can use it for good” (940). This quote from Baughman’s piece stresses her concern of how much power comes from the internet and how people can use this power by means of harming other people. With this power that the internet has given to anybody who uses it, comes people who use it by means of stalking.
The term cyber-stalking came directly from the invention of the internet and it is defined as behavior that constitutes “computer” based harassment (Baughman 940-941). Such stalkers do things such as: monitoring other people’s email, sending email threats or insults, disrupting email communication, using others email identity and using the internet to get personal information (Baughman 941). Although many may see all of these as an invasion of privacy, with the power the internet has given us, most of them are very simple to do and done quite often.
In her essay Baughman shows her readers how cyber-stalking often leads to physical staking (941). With the small amount of difficulty that cyber-stalking is, often an abusive partner uses it to maintain power and control over their victim (Baughman 941). All of the above ways discussed, pertaining cyber-stalking can allow an abuser to access their victim through the internet, even if the victim has set up an internet protection, which will be discussed in the next topic (Baughman 941).
Baughman uses an example of such harassment through emails in her essay; she tells us a story of how an abusive husband sent 1,500 pages of threatening emails to his ex-wife even when she had a restraining order placed on him (944). To sum up Baughman’s essay, due to social networking sights allowing individuals to freely post photos, comments, and other personal information, the internet acts as a personal information super-highway that is easily reached by abusers (965). A simple search of a persons name can bring up very personal information that abusers can easily access (Baughman 965).
In sum, social networking sights and the internet are tools for communication, blogging, picture sharing and now vengeance by abusers. Roam at your own risk (Baughman 953). Nobody, including domestic partner are safe when on the internet. The next point of discussion relating to how abusers can access people who do not want to be reached is the issue of child predators on the internet. The author L. Alvin Malesky, Jr. , PhD in the Department of Psychology writes his essay “Predatory Online Behavior: Modus Operandi of Convicted Sex Offender in Identifying Potential Victims and Contacting Minors Over the Internet,” in correlation to this topic.
Most sex offenders know their victims before even meeting it them, they become acquainted through the internet (Malesky 24). As discussed previously in Baughman’s essay, this task of becoming acquainted with anyone you want is relatively easy with the amount of social networking websites today. Predators tend to disguise themselves as another teenager and lie about their identity, the internet provides them with ideal cover that can fool even the smartest of children (Malesky 24). In his essay Malesky affirms “Chat rooms were the most frequently used component of the Internet to identify and contact potential victims” (26).
When a child that talks about sex in anyway on the internet, it is found appealing by pedophiles and is often the reason why pedophiles go after a specific child (Malesky 27). This warning given by Malesky shows her readers how every little thing you say, post or do on the internet can be viewed by these disturbing people and can possibly make you their next target. These sex offenders patrol the virtual world in hopes to find a victim and eventually meet with them in person. People are free to surf the web, the type of people that lean towards an attraction to children are also free to do as they please.
The internet give minors vulnerability to people who wish to do them harms (Malesky 30). In conclusion to his topic Malesky tells warns his readers that children should not post anything sexual on the internet or talk to people you do not know, you never know who may be looking or listening (Malesky 30)! Children are put in harms way while online, thus in sum urging how unsafe the internet really is. Cyber-Crime Lastly, the internet itself has brought forth a new type of crime everywhere in the world.
The term cyber-crime refers to crime that takes place from a computer through the internet. These cyber-criminals can steal your identity, take your personal information and even give your computer a virus without ever leaving their computer desk. The root cause of this new crime is directly due to the invention of the internet. As was previously stated, the internet is a tool that requires responsibility.
Criminals take no such responsibility when performing illegal cyber-crime related acts. Nobody is safe when they are on the internet with the growing amount of yber-criminals today. Kit Burden discusses the issue of the increasing problem of cyber-criminals in her essay, “Internet crime; Cyber Crime – A new breed of criminal? ” which was published in “Science Direct” (College Edition). Burden starts out her essay by showing her readers that 43% of Americans recognize cyber-crime as a problem (2). These types of crime have been introduced to the world thanks to the invention of the World Wide Web. The first example of a cyber criminal I would like to point out is the increasingly more and more common hacker.
Hackers use technology to gain unauthorized access to private computer systems, which is mostly for the purpose of retrieving confidential information such as credit card number and internet passwords (Burden 3). If the hacker has used a computer for functions with intent of retrieving other peoples information and date, this is considered illegal based off the Computer Misuse Act in 1990 (Burden 4). A hacker can obtain the most confidential of information on your computer, for example they can take your credit card information and use it as their own.
Hackers may also go onto company website and alter what their information reads for terms such as of political leads and malicious intent such as cyber terrorism (Burden 4). Secondly, with the increasing threat of hackers, there is also an increasing threat of credit card fraud. These two go hand in hand with each other because hackers much of the time aim to receive others credit card information illegally by hacking. Burden points out that there is an estimated four billion dollars lost to credit card fraud each year and fifty percent of that money lost comes from online credit card fraud/hacking (9).
Burden also points out how vastly internet related commerce is growing, therefore so will the amount of money lost to credit card fraud due to the increasing dangers posed by hackers (9). Along with credit card information, we must not forget that hackers can steal information such as accounts that you have set up online, which can hold your payment information and use them as well, the same goes for your email account. Lastly, on top of all that hackers can install malicious software onto your personal computer without you knowing.
Viruses are embedded within files which you may think to be real; however they can be completely the opposite and trick you into downloading a virus. Most of the time, if one clicks on the virus itself it will download without you even noticing. Viruses can do whatever the maker of the virus wants them too. Viruses such as a key logger are planted on a computer and it will show the hacker who made the viruses every key you input into the computer. For example, if you type in your credit card information, the hacker will now be able to view it.
The famous ‘Love Bug’ virus was released two years ago and single handedly completely shut down and paralyzed over 100 million computers (Burden 5). Because viruses can be spread to many users at a very fast pace and often can not be erased, they are looked down upon by the government and are taken extreme legal action against (Burden 6). Conclusion In conclusion, one has learned a great amount about the internet and the harm that it can bring. The internet puts a great amount of power into the hands of anyone who decides to use it, a power that should not be tampered with and often is by its abusers.
Many reasons validate the inquisition that the internet is not a resource for the greater good but it is a tool that can and frequently is used for promoting violence and bad habits, allowing abusers to reach people that do not want to be reached and lastly, it opens many of us up to identity theft and malware viruses. We must all think twice about using the internet and if we do hopefully now we will take extra precautions especially when giving the power to roam the web to our children. The internet is an extremely dangerous place and we must not forget, nobody is safe when they are on the internet!
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