Dangers of the Internet
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- Length: 2597 words (7.4 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
In Sherry Turkle’s article she tells us the different ways of creating games, alternate identities and lives people assume when they are "gaming" online as she calls it (456).Free speech , privacy, people sending you all kinds of stuff over the internet–porn for example I’m really tired of it! . All I know is that every time I check my Email box there are piles of messages coming up like “Are you Horny?” and many other that are so indecent to say.
I feel that we are not protected from the internet. There must be a way to control these unwanted messages, because my block sender feature seems not to work. Calling Aol to change my password doesn’t either. What can we do? For me it is scary sometimes I’m not against technology at all but there must be a way that technology doesn’t take over. I always wonder how people sending pornographic web pages get our emails address, I assume that they probably steal or buy our information from Internet servers. I guess is it just like when you get junk mail from businesses that mail you advertisement from items you never inquire about. That sucks if people get their advertisement from stealing our addresses, or using “cookies” to store our information. I’m not really sure. I assume another probable way is picking at random which I think is odd because everyone I ask says that they are tired of getting unwanted messages. My cousin who’s 14 yrs. olds gets dozens of messages a week. Not only are these kids getting messages but, they are being tricked into going to these pornographic web pages. How dangerous is that because who knows how many thousand or million children and teens are being exposed to that junk.
I ask myself are our rights as a user being violated?
The search was quite surprising, I found out that there are many cases of pornographic sites using child friendly sites. For example a former Girl Scout site instead of going to the girls scout site directed you to a pornographic page. This is according to www.epic.org/(Electronic Privacy Information Center). The story says that The Black Diamond Girl scout had www.Blackdiamondgirlscout.com registered to them as their official web page. They realized that their URL was too long so they bought a new and gave up the other one. Their new one is www. Bdgsc.org/. Within a short time span, the domain was bought and now that domain is re- directed to pornography. We can’t proved that they do it on purpose but, several pornographic sites prey on typing errors, and not knowing what the actually domain extension is. They may do this because they get more money from advertising, like to shock you, or perhaps it is just coincidence. Whatever the reason is, as users and parents we need learn how to protect yourself from these unwanted surprises.
I was interested to know how these people get away with tricking youngsters to going to their web pages. I researched for more probable answers to me concern. I found out that these immoral people know that a common way for a site to obtain traffic is to use popular names, use .net, .org, or .com or its equivalent then, for example They will use known popular site among teens like http://www.gulr.com. These sites offer free email, advice columns, chat rooms and much more. The problem is that if someone verbally told a youngster lady about this site, they may type in http://www.girl.com and they would automatically reach a pornographic site. There are many more of these pornographic web sites that have close spellings to children's sites or have popular names.
For instance,http://www.whitehouse.gov will bring you to the United State's White House where you can learn more about President Clinton and other Presidents. Make the error of typing in http://www.whitehouse.com and you will be brought to a pornographic site with no warning page. Whitehouse.com even brags that it has been mentioned on many networks and news broadcasts.www.Whitehouse.org is also a pornographic site, but at least they have a warning page that you must be over the age of 18 to enter. Also www.Whitehouse.net is a parody site of www.whitehouse.gov site. This site does not have any advertising on it, but is very misleading because the page looks very similar to the real White House. This happened because the United States government did not have the fore-thought to buy those domain names, before someone else did. Once someone buys a domain name, they may sell it, but they name the price. Whoever buys the domain name owns exclusive rights to it. So what can we do to protect yourselves? According to the web site www.About.com the first thing you can do to stop this is:
·Talk openly with your children about the dangers and what they should do if they encounter a solicitation or disturbing images. Sign an Internet Safety Agreement with your entire family that spells out what you should do and say while online. ·
Install filtering software to help block out unwanted pornography.
·Learn about the dangers that are online. Information about Internet Safety which is available in this site.
·Report unwanted sexual advances and unwanted pornography to your Internet service provider or the CyberTipLine run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. If the situation is serious it should be immediately reported to a law enforcement agency.
That’s one thing we can do, except that there is something we need to consider. According to Jeffrey Race’s article “Exterminating Spammers Step-By-Step”, filtering /blocking unwanted messages is one of the solutions, the problem is that selecting the right kind of filtering software for your family can be difficult because there is no one size fits all there is a variety out there .It is difficult but not impossible . The software requirements for an eight year old child is different from that of a teenager that is adventurous. To find the software that meets your needs and expectations you will have to consider some points:
·The age of your children?
·Are you trying to catch your child in the act of violating rules?
·Are you trying to stop them from visiting pornography and hate sites?
·Are you trying to protect them from wandering into pornography by accident?
·If you are trying to stop them from visiting pornography, are they very technically savvy, where they will be trying to disable the software?
The next thing you can do when you hear, You've got mail! You have to ask yourself, it isn't from someone you know, it is from a stranger trying to sell you something, or worse yet, trying to get you to view pornography. How frustrating! Sometimes, hitting the delete key just isn't enough. If you are tired of unwanted pornographic messages like me, take action and get them to stop!. This is something else you can do!. First of all, don't reply to them, even if they offer you a way to unsubscribe. If you reply back, it will verify that the address is a good one. According to Adam Boettiger’s article “What can I do about spam?" another step you can take is to block that sender. If you are using Outlook Express 5.0, you can just select Messages, then use the block sender button. To see if you can block that sender from your email program, go to the help section and search for block sender. Don't be surprised though if you receive the same email again, only from a different address.
If your block sender feature does not work for some reason there is another way to get rid of the unwanted messages. Report them to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). ISP's don't like spam as much as you do! Spam will bog down their servers which will cause them to spend more money to keep their service up. Most ISP's offer a place to report spam. Check with your ISP to find out how to report spam to them. Take matters in your own hands and call a “spam cop”. They can help you track down the actual sender by viewing the header information in the email. Even if the spammer, used a Web based email, like Hotmail, most of the time, you can still locate what ISP they were using by information in the header. ISPs do not like their servers being used by spammers to send spam, so they will cancel the account of a habitual offender.
When I started this research my main concern was to find out how people sending pornographic web sites got our email addresses? I assumed many things but “cookies” was one of my main concerns. I found out that the poor browser cookies has been terribly accused of being responsible for storing information from the Internet which has been considered to be an evil gutter of pornography. If these stories are to be believed, then cookie is a dangerous program that worms its way into our computers, retrieves all our credit card numbers, buys without our consent, and send us porn. This is not true!
My research concluded that Cookies is nothing more than a bit of data that a Web site asks your browser to store on your hard drive so that it may retrieve it later. Part of what the browser writes is the domain name of the site, and it will only release the cookie information if the requesting site matches that domain. How does this work? For instance let’s say that ebay.com might store a cookie on your hard drive that indicates the city where you live so they can display auction information when you view the home page.
It is safe, a web site with a different domain cannot get the information out of this particular cookie. Most sites like ebay.com that offer some degree of personalization rely on cookies to identify you as the person who wants to see A, B and C, but not X, Y or Z, thereby giving you a more efficient presentation. Let’s say you want to purchase something over the Web? Without cookies you can probably forget about it, because the site cannot track the items you have selected as you move about. I’m not saying that using Cookies is completely safe; it is possible for a site to have a downloadable program or control that could do nasty things, including stealing your cookie information. Always be careful when asked if you want to download and run any programs especially if you are not sure who runs the site.) But, you can be sure that cookies are safe. You have the power to unable/enable cookies from your computer but, keep in mind that if you flat-out reject every cookie that comes your way you’re going to be missing out on some rich and rewarding Web experiences. If you still want to play it safe, just set your browser to alert you when a cookie comes along. You can always take some and reject others according to your own comfort level.
If cookies is not responsible then, how do these people get our information? According to the web site www.email911.com in the article“ Ten Tips to reduce spam” one of the ways spammers obtain our email addresses is through the use of “bots” or spiders that go out to websites like mine and look for “mailto” links with email addresses. There is a “ plethora” of bulk email software available out there that allows spammers to enter a keyword like “accountants”. This program then accesses the internet and does searches on multiple search engines under that keyword and then jumps from page to page on those sites, sucking up email addresses and creating a mailing list for spammers. The majority of pornographic spam is sent with HTML- enabled email, for two reasons:
1.It allows spammers to display explicit images to you in hopes that you will be enticed to visit their adult website.
2.Spammers are able to determine an “ open rate”, which tells them and x amounts of people that opened the message and had the image load on their computer and how many clicked at the porno site. This information is critical to them in deciding how responsive a list is, which will determine whetjher they mail it to you or not.
There are many ways that we can prevent spammers from sending us porn. “The 10 tips for reducing spam” suggest these: 1. Set up a public and private email account 2. Buy your own domain and set up a virgin email address. 3. Never reply to spam 4. Never buy anything from company that spams. 5. Filter spam at the server level 6. If you are going to complain, complain to the right person. 7. Use disposable Email Addresses( DEA’s) 8. Pay attention to privacy statements when filling out forms 9. protect your web sites from spam-bots 10. Learn how to use an email program with filters.
Keep in mind that some are free and some require you to pay a fee. I feel that we shouldn’t have to pay for a solution to stop something that we never asked for in the first place.
In conclusion, conducting this research about pornography being filtered into our computers and our lives has left me with a better understanding of how it really works. We need to take into consideration that children of today are growing up in a technological world. Almost every home has a computer in it. The children who live in these homes are learning to use a computer before they can even walk and talk. I learned that there are many ways for parents to protect their children from
objectionable websites on the Internet. But, the only way for a parent to be one hundred percent sure of what their child is looking at on the Internet is to look at it with them. This does not mean that we cannot let our children use the Internet. Parents can do many things to protect their children from the Internet such as using parental controls, downloading a filtering system onto the computer and talking to their children about Internet safety. These precautions will help to prevent children from accessing certain sites.
Turkle,Sherry “Who Am We?” The Presence of Others Voices and Images That Calls for Response. Third Edition . Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz. New York: Bedford St.Martin’s, 2000. 442
Race, Jeffrey. "Extermining Spammers Step- By Step” http://www.About.com (25 March. 2002)
”How Content Filters Block Access to Kid-Friendly Information on the Internet” Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, DC http://www.epic.org/ (December 2002)
Boettiger, Adam “What can I do about spam?” http://www.email911.com/resources/articles.html
weil, Debbie "Ten things you can do TODAY to take control of your email" http://www.email911.com/resources/articles.html
"How Do Filters Work?".The Guide to Safe Internet Access at Home.http://www.surfcontrol.com/resources/home/files/Parents.pdf (19 Apr. 2002)