Online- Useful or Deadly?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Social networks are a great way to find old friends and make new ones. Launched in February 2004, Facebook became a popular site for students to keep in contacts with relatives, classmates, and co-workers. However, recently the question arises: Just what exactly are we using social networks for today?

Fortunately, social networks can be used positively by communicating with others and promoting business. Many journalists have created MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages to build readers, receive feedback from others on their work, and find good top stories from posts of other readers.

One major problem people face with social networking is cyber bullying. The reason cyber bullying is so much easier and harmful is because people are more willing to say something behind the screen of a computer than they would to a person's face. There have been stories reported in the news about teens taking their own life because of cruel posts found online.

The second, possibly most serious problem we are facing is unwanted people finding us online. Many people in this world known as "creepers" or "predators" use online as a tool to hunt down victims for sexual or abusive purposes. Many of us think of these people as being old men that live alone searching for young girls, but just exactly how young are these people that are using online as a way to harm others?

The most recent story in the news that caught my eye involves a 14 year old boy who used online to successfully kill a 13 year old girl. The two had been using Facebook as a way to get to know each other and eventually decided to meet up for a date. Later, the boy brought the girl to his home, attempted rape and failed. However, the girl was found later that weekend naked near a bus stop, strangled to death. Many times we say situations like this could never occur in our own life. However, we need to understand the world today has turned brutal, scary, and unsafe.

It's a shame to think there are people using online as a tool for criminal purposes. However, not all users are bad. Many journalists have found with the switch of mass media converting from newspaper to reading material online that using social network is an essential tool in the success of promoting journalism.

What can we do to protect ourselves from something like this happening to us? There are several steps that can be taken to protecting online life of yourself and those around you. Start now by spreading the news to family, friends, and classmates so you know you are doing the best you can to protect others. Keeping online clean will help journalists today be able to expand the growth of their business, both behind and away from the computer.

Photo Credit: Safe in YourSpace


Alexa Smith January 25, 2011 at 6:19 PM  

I agree! The Web can be a great tool for keeping in contact with friends and family who are at a long distance. At the same time people abuse the Web just like anything else. It's sad that in the 21st century bullying is still a huge problem.

Maddie Boswell January 25, 2011 at 9:13 PM  

I think Facebook and other social networking sites have started to get out of hand. True they still serve their original purpose and serve it well, but they are also creating many more opportunities for predators and others to do harm to individuals. Even though privacy settings can be set and people can be blocked bullying and predators are still a looming problem.

Morgan Abel January 26, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

I think it's very important for users to be aware of their online activities. Facebook, for example, has a history of abusing its users' privacy. Keeping track of what websites you're using and what information you're making available is incredibly important.

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