Which social networks do you use? Who do you contact (friends, acquaintances, strangers)? Is it easy to lose sight of the fact that the Internet is a public arena and that we have a personal responsibility for everything we communicate there?
Sitting at home with a computer on your lap sending messages, all over the world, to friends, acquaintances or strangers, is so easy. The possibility of keeping in daily contact with many people has exploded. Yes, contact is easy, but in many ways impersonal. You don’t always see the person and thus have less possibility of judging their attitude and reactions. Maybe you have a web camera, but you choose when and how you use it. It’s not the same as standing beside a person and talking to them or is it?
How do you feel about this?
- Do you feel as if you are speaking directly to a person?
- Do you say things in the same way as you would if you met them face to face?
It can be easy to lose sight of reality and the implications of what you do on the Internet. Here is a story of one woman who did just that.
Woman "sacked" on Facebook
Social networks can be very positive for many people in many situations (cf. How Social Networks Helped Me). If you need practical help in an emergency, to create a profile to market yourself or just someone to talk to, it is only a few clicks away. However, there are frequently reports of some negative aspects of internet and SMS communication, for example, bullying of fellow students, contact with undesirable persons, etc. which can have a serious effect on the person at the receiving end. It can also have serious consequences for the person who bullies or threatens, for example, as this Facebook bully discovered. First cyberbully jailed
It is also perhaps much easier to “be” someone else on the net. But remember that everything that goes out there is a “document”, with your signature on it. And the Internet is a world-wide web, so information can be spread to unimaginably many people. In the same way that telling lies in real life can often have negative consequences, net lies may come back to haunt you and harm you.
Remember, you are communicating with real people. People who can use the information that you send out in any way they want to. They can be friends or foes, life-savers or destroyers.
Do a class survey.
- Which social networks do you use? (eg. Facebook, twitter, chat, blog, gaming, etc)
- How many regular contacts do you have?
- How often do you contact friends, a) on a social network, b) by SMS?
- How often do you contact strangers a) on a social network b) by SMS?
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