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The virtual world

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
So it has been pointed out to me numerous times by my sister that meeting people who you have met online is dangerous and stupid, even speaking to them in a virtual environment is risky because you don't know who's at the other end of the computer, but is it really?

In modern times we have been brought up to be completely self aware with who we talk to online and in the real world, 'Don't get in to cars with people you don't know' and 'Never give out personal information to people online' are shoved down our throats from a young age, there are assemblies in schools built around the dangers of the internet and protecting yourself. What really gets to me is that it blinds people to the real world, personally I think that not speaking to people from around the world limits your experiences and your cultural diversity. It seems all that's ever portrayed by the media is the negative consequences of interacting and meeting with strangers and it angers me that some people take that so seriously that they can not see that some people who you otherwise would not have met seriously have an effect (a positive effect) on thousands of individuals lives.

My point is this - everyone we know in our life was once a stranger and simply the fact that a person is online does not make them a stalker or a paedophile. I'm certainly not and I know that many of you aren't. Infact it's something like 1 out of 5 relationships now happen through dating websites.

Obviously I'm not saying it's a brilliant idea to give out your address, phone number, weight, height and sexual kinks to the next person you find in your inbox, I just don't understand how people have become that programmed that they don't realise that you can meet some amazing people online.

What do you think? Should we all be completely paranoid about getting to know someone we've never met before? Are all people on the internet weirdos? and how do we put across the point that we want to meet someone who we've spoken to for years to someone who is completely closed to the idea of it?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you raise a perfectly valid and interesting point. Yes the Internet could be dangerous and you don't always know who is on the other end, but equally it can work in a similar way in real life. Take a look at all of us who chat on here, if it wasn't for the Internet then thesite wouldn't exist. Not many people now this, but when the people who run thesite (YouthNet) first tried to get it going, the charity commission were convinced that the Internet was a passing fad. You only have to take one look at the help that people can find here to realise how much worth the Internet can enable.

    Getting back to the point in hand; if you are careful and sensible then I do agree that the age old don't talk to strangers adage can be a little too wide ranging. In the case of kids I can understand it, as many kids are naturally curious and also if young enough, don't comprehend certain situations as perilous or untoward. Whether this is through lack of experience in life or simply they're not quite as perceptive as they will be in older years. For example, don't get into a van with a stranger is pretty good advice I would argue. After all, someone you don't know pulling up beside you in the dark isnt quite the same as striking up a conversation with someone in a queue for a bar or bus etc. The trouble with real life is, that whilst in the Internet you can't be 100% sure who someone is, in real life it's exactly the same. People often forgot that in real life, people can lie and deceive others about who they are as well.

    I have quite a few friends from far off places, and I do agree with the OP in the sense that I think my friendship benefits both them and me in terms of being culturally aware etc. Being overtly cautious can cause problems with this, but being overly open and carefree has its hassles as well. I think the big thing about the Internet is that it's still a relatively new concept. Many of the younger generations have grown up with it all their lives, yet their parents may still see it as something new and unknown. It's usually the unknown things that cause people the most amount of worry. As we are seeing with recent law cases concerning abusive tweets, the law and social problems stemming from the Internet are still being explored.

    What is dangerous about the Internet or social media as a whole , is how it almost depersonalises social interaction. You can reduce a lot of risk in using it by having just a little bit of common sense. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to lose any form of common sense for some reason. You wouldnt walk up to a complete stranger in the street and give them a printed out sheet of paper with all of your personal details, contact information and life history. Yet this is what people often do when they use the Internet. Some people have difficulty conceiving the fact that because they are not actively giving the information away, then it's ok. Forgetting that once it's up there, it's usually pretty easy to see it without you knowing someone else has looked. One of my main but bears is privacy settings on Facebook. It's not as if there isnt enough information out on the web to be able to figure out why it's important, or how to change settings. I've gotten sick at the number of times where people have complained about privacy issues, when it's their own mal-configured settings which are to blame. More importantly, why was there the need to have all that information on there in the first place?

    I think I could go on and on about this at great length, so I will let others have some input on here. This is a very interesting topic with a number of avenues for discussion.


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whilst I'll agree that most people using the internet are perfectly normal, well adjusted human beings, a large part of my work involves the initial investigation and subsequent mopping up of incidents involving people on the internet not being who they say they are.

    It is rife, and it's not because the internet is awash with paedophiles, it's because loads of kids think it's ok to start chatting to some random on the internet and there won't be any consequences from it. People need to be a lot more careful, because trust me there are some scary bastards out there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Indeed, but is that really any different from anywhere else in life? There are fraudsters and scamsters and sexual deviants on the internet, sure; people who will exploit every weakness.

    But you only have to look at the number of women raped by friends or work colleagues, or the fact that a child's father is the person most likely to sexually assault them, to understand that this is not an internet thing. It's part of the human condition.

    The lonely and the sad and the vulnerable are most likely to be taken advantage of. But that's the same the world over, across all media. It isn't an internet thing, except that people who live in the internet are more likely to be sad and lonely.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The advice is not "Don't" but "Be careful"
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,212 Skive's The Limit
    I've never met anybody from here because your all clearly criminals and lunatics.

    Seriously don't think that the internet anymore dangerous than the real world - people are the same. The danger is that people drop their guard more easily in the virtual world.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »

    Seriously don't think that the internet anymore dangerous than the real world - people are the same. The danger is that people drop their guard more easily in the virtual world.

    Agreed, people seem unable to make the link that the virtual world can quite easily intersect with the real one. A lot of dangerous/sick individuals are quite happy to take advantage of peoples' naivety.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I met one of my closest friends because of the internet. I wouldn't go and meet any randomer, but thanks to the internet (and TheSite.org) I've developed a friendship stronger than I could ever imagine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The advice is not "Don't" but "Be careful"

    yep. and dont be stupid.

    ive met some of my best friends online. Ive also come across some very scary people.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ella! wrote: »
    I met one of my closest friends because of the internet. I wouldn't go and meet any randomer, but thanks to the internet (and TheSite.org) I've developed a friendship stronger than I could ever imagine.

    I have some great mates - and my lovely OH - whose paths I would never have crossed if not for TheSite. But those friendships were built over years. Maybe I'm a very cautious person but it is a big deal for me to give out personal information (even my facebook profile) to people whose identity I am not totally certain of.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    I have some great mates - and my lovely OH - whose paths I would never have crossed if not for TheSite. But those friendships were built over years. Maybe I'm a very cautious person but it is a big deal for me to give out personal information (even my facebook profile) to people whose identity I am not totally certain of.

    Well your other half being born on the same day as me, has to be awesome. After all we share a birthday with clint Eastwood.


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    Well your other half being born on the same day as me, has to be awesome. After all we share a birthday with clint Eastwood.

    And Brooke Shields I think.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ooh didn't know that.


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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree that tbh its no different to irl people are people no matter where they are and well i've met some of my best friends online. But if your gonna give out your personal info then you should be prepared to either face the consequences or ask for help if it goes wrong.
    But your more likely to be abused by your own family so...
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