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The Internet Epidemic

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In the past decade alone, communication has fused into the world of technology. Breaking news hits Twitter before televisions, and renowned journalists have been replaced with popular bloggers. As the cyber world continues to expand, the current generation becomes more and more plugged into the internet. While web pages such as Facebook and Blogspot flourish, students find themselves spending a greater amount of time in front of their computer screens; although the thriving success of the internet opens more resources and opportunities, it also increases the risks of cyber bullying, privacy violations, and even identity theft. This leaves many wondering, where does society draw the line?

Despite the masses of homework and extracurriculars that consume the lives of most students, many still find the time to access Facebook, write a blog entry, or, as currently popular, create a Formspring. Formspring.me allows anyone to anonymously ask the account holder any question, but recently Briar Woods students have found that their own pages are filled with much more cruelty than curiosity.

“It’s kind of cool,” Said Junior Nico Climaco.“But, there are some who are really being bashed on the Internet. Some of the people who use formspring are going too far—a lot of kids are getting hurt and the people who are leaving these comments need to know that their words have a deep effect. People are being insulted on their appearance, weight, or past, none of which are controllable. And you don’t know who’s saying what—is it just a joke, made by someone completely random? Or, is it meant to hurt you, from your best friend?”

Countless other students share the same feelings; because the comments are completely anonymous, those leaving comments are merciless and brutal.

“I’ve been called…awful names on my formspring,” said an anonymous source. “I regret making one because it allowed people to publicly humiliate me. I mean, even though you don’t have to respond to every comment, you still see them. It really does hurt to know that people think so poorly of me, and I have no idea who’s saying these things.

The more plugged in society becomes, the more vulnerable the current generation becomes. More and more opportunities are provided for students to be exposed to online predators or all forms—especially stalkers and pedophiles.

As countless high school students readily admit, Facebook following is a favored, even endearing pastime. But, when Swedish company The Astonishing Tribe drafted an idea for a new cell phone application called the ‘Recognizr’, following turns into legitimate stalking. The facial recognition app can instantly match pictures to social networking sites like facebook and twitter. According to myfoxdc.com, security experts are worried that, if the app is approved and activated, burglars and other threatening figures can take a photo of the targeted victim and discover their address.

"This app looks like it could be a stalker's dream." Tom Gaffney of software security experts F-Secure told Fox Five News.

With the help of this application, countless innocent, unknowing people can be preyed upon. The dangers of the Internet are already plentiful, and this “stalker’s dream” makes the odds seem even more probable.

The Internet is not intended to be a dangerous place. In fact, the internet can open valuable doors for teens. But, the further teens venture into the internet the more careful they must be. Safety is something that simply has to be assured—in terms of physical and mental well-being alike.





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