Practice Safe Computing
It is unbelievable how many Internet Nightmares happen on a daily
basis. It is not hard to find a news story about somebody's identity getting stolen or a child disappearing
or being molested by someone that they met in an Internet chat
room or yet another virus on the loose. These are nightmares that
can be avoided.
Maybe it would help if we thought of the computer as an automobile.
It takes more than just turning the key to keep it running smoothly.
It needs fuel and lubrication to keep it running. The tire pressure
needs to be checked. It needs maintenance performed to keep things
from breaking or to let you know that something could be going
wrong that you may not know about. It needs to be washed and waxed
to protect it from the elements. If these things weren't done
then you would find an awful lot of rusting vehicles broke down
on the side of the road. The most important thing to remember
is that they don't drive themselves, they need to be driven and
for that to happen a person needs to be taught how to drive.
A computer isn't that much different than an automobile. It needs
to be tuned up and cleaned up to keep it running smooth. It needs
regular maintenance and updates to insure that it stays running
well. The most important thing is that people need to be taught
how to use a computer. For the most part, a computer is fairly
intuitive to use but there are things "under the hood"
that need to be maintained. There probably isn't a parent reading
this that would give their kids the keys to the car without the
proper training, so why would they hand over the "keys"
to a computer. This new high-tech generation needs to be taught
how to drive safely on the Internet Superhighway.
What is this high-tech generation doing online? They are doing
research, chatting, emailing, playing games and sharing files.
What else? Chatting with people that they don't know, downloading
pornography and downloading every new and "free" program
available. They are doing all this anonymously and with ignorance.
The anonymity makes them feel immortal, that they can do anything
and go anywhere without being held responsible.
What are the parents doing while this high-tech generation is
online? They are reading a book, watching movies, housekeeping
and working. The computer is just a cyber-sitter, an electronic
babysitter. It is hard for some parents to comprehend the threats
that the Internet can pose and have little regard for the power
and extensiveness of the Internet.
This is a perfect formula for a nightmare.
What happens, for instance, when someone installs a 'free"
program that installs Spyware on your computer? You may not know
that it's installed but it is. So now somebody out there could
be watching everything that you are doing, logging your every
keystroke. Scary. Adware/Spyware removal programs will remove
the Spyware and keep your computer safe. The W32/Swen@MM virus
and the W32/Mimail.i@MM virus both looked real official, one looked just like it came from Microsoft
and the other from PayPal, but both wreaked havoc when unsuspecting
users clicked on the attachment. Installed updated Antivirus software
would have caught and stopped the virus from spreading.
Online safety demands personal integrity and the ability to recognize
danger and respond appropriately. Kids, parents, all computer
users need to realize that it takes more than pushing a button
and a mouse to keep a computer and the Internet running smooth.
Ignorance with nightmarish consequences, from legal complications
to physical harm, leads to behavior that probably wouldn't happen
if computer users were empowered with knowledge. Education is
the key. Practice safe computing!