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Computers and Cyberspace

When does reality end and cyberspace begin? Can crimes committed in cyberspace be punished in reality? Can a “cyber relationship” have the same rules as a relationship in reality? Basically, is cyberspace part of regular life or is it a world created by us with ever changing and moving norms?

Often, people make comment that they become so focused on something and it becomes a part of their life, an extension of them. I feel the same can be said of cyberspace. Reality is what you make it, and that can also include the universe that you see on the computer screen.

The cyber world is a society just like the outside world we live in is a society. With increasing ways to access this world, the two worlds are now beginning to overlap and some would even say collide. Some have become so enwrapped in this separate existence with instant messenger, e-mail, chat rooms, and message boards, the internet has seemingly replaced get-togethers, night clubs, bars, and meetings as the number one social gathering place. More people are wired to this world than you will ever meet in a club, so why leave home, this is the best way to meet people. However, it is unfortunate that this also involves taking you away from the reality that is around you right now. Many ignore priorities such as family, friends, and even work to be a part of cyberspace. It has almost become a form of addiction for some.

Should crimes committed in cyberspace be grounds for punishment here in the real outside world? Well, I think it depends on the level of crime. If you should threaten someone online, you should receive a ban from that location, but not be arrested. If you should continue that activity, then it will be assessed then, but for first time offenders, a strict warning or ban is harsh enough. The thought of losing out on that experience ever again is enough to stop most. More serious and special case offenders such as pedophiles who are putting kiddie porn on the internet or trying to lure children in chat rooms, should be prosecuted to the same extent as those we find in normal society. The same can be said for online embezzlers and hackers, it is no different to break into a company’s front door than it is to steal from them online.

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Finally, where does the cyber world end and reality begin...the only answer to that is, who knows? No one is exactly sure how you can define cyberspace. Couples who meet online and carry on their relationship there, are left with this burning question, just are police who attempt to put together cases against online offenders, the simple answer is that there is no answer. No matter where your world ends and another begins, just be careful and watch every cyber step you take.
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