I first fell in love with the Internet when I was in middle school. I would ask my parents to take me to the library to work on “homework” and find new books when in reality, I wanted to get on the computer and play games and read the latest celebrity news – I was obsessed with the Harry Potter cast at the time. The web was very much a commons that belonged to everyone: a place where anyone online could publish or make anything. They could do so without asking permission from a publisher, a banker or a government. It was a revelation. And it made me — and countless millions of others — very happy. Since then, it’s grown into something far beyond our creative imagination. You can now order a pizza, buy a television, share a moment with a friend, send a picture over instant messaging, and search for anything you please– there is literally no such thing as a stupid question on the Internet. However, with great power comes great responsibility (Spider-Man, 2002). We all know or know of someone who has had their social media account hacked. Heck, even I was a victim at one point and I had a pretty darn good password, if I must say so myself. We’ve also heard terrifying stories about people who had their credit card information snatched from them through some sort of virus when they bought something through a shopping site. Or worse, someone whose identity has been stolen. The list goes on and therefore gets messier. “What can we do to stop these things from happening,” we ask ourselves. Well, unfortunately there’s only one solution. Can you guess?
Stay away from the Internet.
The Internet is now our environment. How it works — and whether it’s healthy — has a direct impact on our happiness, our privacy, our pocketbooks, our economies and democracies. Be safe, everyone.