Internet Facts V Internet Fiction
Hi, this is Susan McLean. Welcome to the first in a series of 10 videos looking at all areas of online safety in young people. Today, we’re going to be talking about Internet Facts V Internet Fiction or the reality of the online world.
The Internet’s been with us for many years. In fact, Google recently turned 20. But before that was the opposite. And of course, that was developed by the U.S. military to communicate. The Internet has grown and developed over many years to become what we know it as today. A wonderful place that we can learn, communicate. Stay in touch. Things that I could not have imagined when I was growing up. Children today are born into a house full of technology.
Learning about technology and the risks and the benefits is vital. If you use technology as a parent, that’s fabulous. If you don’t, it really doesn’t matter. But what matters is you have an understanding of what it’s about. And some of the fallacies that we hear peddled about what goes on online, what are the main ones? We hear a lot is that you can be anonymous online, that you can go online. You can set up an account in a fake name and no one will know who you are.
There is no such thing as anonymity online. There is a perception of anonymity. There are apps and sites that promote anonymity. There are, of course, ways to block your phone number so it doesn’t show up and set up an account in any name you like. And on the surface, no one will know that it’s you. But what I want to make sure that parents and young people understand that if they are being abused online by an account that does have a fake name, the police have the ability to trace who is running that account.
Please don’t log on to Instagram or log on to Facebook or Snapchat the same way as you do. They don’t look for their evidence that way. They will contact those platforms through the dedicated law enforcement portal and seek advice about how to obtain that identification information. So if you are being harassed online by someone who you don’t know, please don’t think that you have to tolerate it or you have to put up with it, because that is something that the police can assist you with.
It is not your job to tell the police who’s harassing you. That’s their job. And they have the capacity to do that. The Internet is a public place. It’s not a private space. So if your children are saying to you that it’s private mom or dad, it’s not. It may be that they don’t want you to see what you’re doing or they may have an active security settings to limit what they’re sharing. But there is nothing that is totally or truly private.
When you talk about technology. When you post something, for all intents and purposes, you have lost control of it. So you need to be making sure that what you’re posting is something that you’re happy to end up perhaps on the front page of the newspaper. There is a very big difference between something that might be slightly embarrassing and something that could, in fact, ruin your future. Please be aware that anyone can be anyone online. One of the things the Internet does well is anonymity or the perception there off the fact that anyone can set up an account and be whoever they choose to be, whilst not always with ill intent, of course, poses problems for young people that aren’t discerning, that take things at face value and believe what someone tells them or what someone says to them.
Please sit with your children and teach them about search engines. The fact that just because it pops up number one on Google doesn’t make it the thing that they’re looking for, help them understand and verify information. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it factually correct. So make sure you sit with them and help them to learn about fact checking. And what is a legitimate source of information. It’s amazing the number of young people that quote Wikipedia as a source of correct content, which with some entries, the entries are fine, but you may not know that Wikipedia is self false.
And so anyone can author a post and change it to suit themselves. Place know your children’s pass codes and passwords. That’s very important. And make sure your children don’t share them. A lot of young people share passwords with friends because they see it as a way of being a friend. This is what BSF so best friends forever do. My advice to young people is that if someone asks for your password, that is not your friend because good friends would respect you enough not to ask for your password.
Make sure that you know that the Internet can be just as dangerous as driving a car. So we teach our children to drive and be safe on the road. We need to teach them to be safe when they are using technology. It’s not a scary place, it might seem that way, but there are enormous benefits in having technology. When I was at school and the school gave me an assignment to do, I had to hotfoot it to the library in the hope that there was a book there on the topic that I was researching.
And of course, what would often happen is the Catholic school down the road got the assignment the week earlier. So by the time I got there, there were no books left. So then I had to rely on the knowledge of my parent, truthful or otherwise. But today, the answer to any question is at the end of everyone’s fingers. Google Chrome is used by over 60 percent of everyone searching the Internet. Please be aware that for sharing positive and important information, the Internet is awesome.
You can reach a large number of people in a very short amount of time. But when in what is being shared is not so positive and not so kind. The harm is greater. We know that there are over 18 million text messages sent every Internet minute. We know that there are over 400000 apps downloaded every Internet minute. So the numbers are actually mindblowing. Be there. Embrace technology. There are some amazing benefits to having it in our life.
I wouldn’t want to go back to a world without it. But please understand the main messages of this video. The Internet is a public place, not a private space. And there is no such thing as total anonymity. When you’re using technology, what you put there can stay there. And sadly, it may come back to bite you in the future. Thanks for watching. That was the first in a series of 10 videos that we’ll be going live every Monday, commencing the 11th of May.
So please stay tuned as each week we go through a different topic relevant to educators, parents and, of course, young people themselves. Please join me for a very special Facebook live event on the 13th of May at 8:00 p.m., where I’ll be discussing risk and reality of the online world. I hope you can join me. Please visit my Facebook page to register your interest to attend.