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Online Privacy And The Internet Essay

1148 words - 5 pages

More people can reach one another today than in years past because of social networking sites. The world has become a lot smaller because of sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and many others. There are certainly many advantages to using these resourceful social networks, such as keeping up with friends and family, sharing photos, and staying up to date with current events. Nonetheless, there is a growing concern about privacy, or the lack thereof, because of these sites. The ability to determine your privacy settings is at times confusing, and at other times, simply misleading. People you don’t know at all can see what you write and look at the pictures you share. Furthermore, there are children at risk due to the spread of social networking sites and the constant threat of sexual predators. There are constant updates and re-writes in reference to privacy protection, particularly from Facebook. Even more alarming is the possibility of the government looking through your social media profile, photos, and personal page. In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security released a Media Monitoring Initiative reporting that they had given themselves permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and business networking sites (LinkedIn) (Wolverton II, 2012, p. 21). Moving forward, it would appear that in order to use these sites, and others, you must sacrifice a portion of your privacy regardless. Are these challenges merely part of the larger equation of social networking, or is there a way to fix the problem? The outcry on the attack on privacy stems from several sources. First, there are those that are concerned about the government looking at their personal business. Second, many people are worried that complete strangers are spying on them, learning personal details about their lives. Third, and not least of all, are the real threats of cyber-stalking, bullying, and child endangerment. In reference to “stranger danger,” 3 percent of 9 to 16-year-olds reported making contact with a total stranger (not a friend of a friend) online then meeting him or her offline. A small number of that 3 percent said they were bothered by the encounter (Wolverton II, 2012, p. 13). This raises several questions about what our children should be allowed to do or view online. In particular, what are the responsibilities of parents when permitting their children to use the internet? They should probably understand that because of flimsy privacy settings their children are inherently at risk of being stalked or approached to begin with. This is especially true on Facebook, which many young teens use and attempt to “friend” as many people as possible. The danger in “friend-ing” so many people is that the sphere of “friends of friends” grows exponentially and eventually the teenage Facebook user will have complete strangers with access to their personal...

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