Friday, 11 January 2013

Anti-Social Networking

Addiction - a word normally associated with drink or drugs - but can you also be addicted to social media/internet? It seems to me that some people can't get enough of it.

On one hand, I see it as a great way to express views, meet like-minded cyber-friends from all different backgrounds and from around the world - all whilst sitting in the comfort of my own home.   
It's a cheap and very easy way to stay in contact with family/friends abroad and it allows lonely people the opportunity to socialise. Social media can help you stay connected to your fellow man. Not bad eh?

Want instant information at your finger-tips? Search the internet. Fancy talking to someone? Skype them or use online chat. Facebook, twitter and many other sites are great places to contact vast amounts of people very quickly. The internet is a great place to promote a worthy cause, and even get petitions up and running quickly. I love social media.


But what about the ugly, dark flip-side to it? 
Do you really know who sits behind those computers, or do you even care? Many of us have avatars, provide hapless names and can become faceless people we are not. Even a photograph provides no proof that it is of you! I read that a blogger found her own family picture under someone else's name. 

Also, we lose vital time at work and home spending valuable time on the internet or social networking. It's hard for people to get our attention in real life because we are so busy checking our emails (whilst we're eating dinner), texting (whilst driving - all the while condemning drink driving!), being 'poked' or poking others on sites (or am I already out of date?). I've almost broken my ankle doing long jump because my email bleeped me. We feel naked going out without our mobiles.  Some of us have lost track of what is happening in the real world around us because of it. 

Are we even aware that there are online predators, or do we only recognise them after we have been 'caught' in their net?

Do those people who boast about the great foreign holiday they're about to embark on, stop to think that a burglar may be reading that message? Cross-referenced with their home address, that is a recipe for robbery!

Do parents care about the amount of information they divulge with photos of their children on things like facebook without even blinking an eye? I mean, most parents wouldn't normally give this info to a stranger on the street, so why parade it on social sites? I wonder if any of that information has been used to groom children? Just a wild thought. 

Every time you open a new account your are required to give details of your name, email address, gender or suchlike. Different accounts have different disclosures of personal information. Bit by bit, every personal detail about you is put on the internet for all to see, or for dubious characters to gather and hack into. How about the ones that form close personal relationships with the unsuspecting innocent ones? Many of those in such situations end up with their hearts broken, their bank balance being greatly reduced or being scammed in various ways. Well, to my shame, I've been stung too. I befriended a nut... but I'll save that for another post, because it ended well for me. 

Do you spend too much time on the internet, and why?
Have you ever been scammed in some way, or even suffered a troll, what did you do about it?
Do you have any safe tips on being secure on social sites or the internet?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and views.

72 comments:

  1. Interesting topic. When I first started blogging, I used a false name but in the end found that I am disclosing so much of myself in my blogs, I may as well use my real name. I don't believe you can hide in this day and age. Tou just have to look at how your information is being used every time you use a credit card for instance . There is so much information out there on each and everyone of us and some people know how to piece all these bits together to find us - no matter what.

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    1. I know what you mean Lanthie, certain things in certain instances disclosure of information is indispensable. However, I don't believe that we should make it easy for the potential fraudsters and trolls out there. I would suggest we make it hard as possible. Nice to hear from you and thanks for sharing.

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  2. I completely agree with you. You came up with such good points which I did not think about ever. Like, posting a status about your vacation can alert a burglar! Its true that we have become addicted to internet, And of course you cannot deny that it is an option which connects you with the world, your family and your loved ones. But like two faces of the coin it has many drawback too. It depends on each person how wisely you use this and how you take it as- a boon or as curse.
    But, I feel that the young generation is the one getting most affected by this. They gain incomplete knowledge from this source which develops a criminal psychology in them. A free and convenient access to porn sites can be the major reasons for rape cases in teenagers. Extra marital affair have increased in number due to such networking sites.
    But ultimately we have to decide! Because its "us" who is suffering,... or gaining!!
    Nice post. enjoyed reading as always.

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    1. Esabella, your response has got me thinking along another track now. The way in which the impact of the internet varies from generation to generation. Strangely, it seems to me that the younger generation are the most vulnerable to excessive bingeing on computers, at the expense of their social/emotional development and contact with the 'real' world (though some may disagree with me about this). This is ironic as you would expect them to be the most technically savvy. Good to hear from you again Esabella.

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    2. Loved the post and will write a full comment a little further down. But I needed to comment about the generation variations. Yes it is true that the young ones are more influenced. It is really their fault since 3 year-olds have their own Ipads. They didn't buy them, they were handed to them by their parents. Being a flight attendant, I see many toddlers with Ipads and I find it a little sad. What happened to regular toys? And is it even healthy for their vision to be in front of a screen for so many hours at such a young age? Of course, it would be easy to blame the parents. What are the parents doing? Well since I come across the situation a lot, from what I have seen, most are working 'cause now their cellphones have to be connected to their work email, many companies expect their employees to have a laptop and everyone is expected to work at all times. It is not fair or right, but if you don't reply, another will and then you might get fired, right? Because you are not as available or as productive .. and then how do you take care of your children if you don't have a job? Seems like a vicious circle to me.

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  3. I love the diversity and the semi-anonymity. I do spend too much time on it, but I try to balance this with real world interactions. There are evils and one needs to keep an eye on privacy settings but I'm fairly relaxed about it to be honest. Perhaps I'm too trusting. But then that applies to real and virtual worlds.

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    1. Yes, no doubt about being careful in both worlds Robert.

      Getting the balance right is so important these days because so many things are being done on the internet now such as banking, shopping, etc, whereas we use to have face to face interaction before. Thanks Robert.

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  4. I am totally guilty of this!!! 18 months ago I didn't even know how to turn ON a computer! Once I learned, there was no turning back. Just like anything though, you have to use common sense and be responsible. Parents need to monitor their children's activities on the computer and adults need to be wary of how much information they put out there. I personally LOVE Facebook and spend probably too much time on it because it is so much fun catching up with old friends and classmates. I only had one really bad experience with a stalker there--but I blocked him and reported him and that was it. Otherwise, social media has been wonderful for me--especially blogging (best decision I ever made) because I have met some incredible, talented writers like you and I cherish the relationships that I have developed with my fellow bloggers!

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    1. I'd like to link what you have said here with the previous comments I made to Esabella.

      Could it be that mature adults perhaps have had the greatest opportunities to develop a strong relationship with the world and people around them and therefore have a grounding to enjoy the benefits of all this new technology in a balanced way? Ie: Because they are able to harmonise them with other elements of their life? Thanks Menopausal Mama

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  5. I think the simple answer would be that everyone should approach the world (and perhaps especially the Internet) with a healthy skepticism. For example, you seem like a nice person RPD, from the posts and comments I've seen you write, but that doesn't mean I'll be wiring money to you if I suddenly find a plea in my inbox.

    I think most of my online interactions are either with people I know in real life or with people who it doesn't matter who they really are. I'm mostly talking about other bloggers here, but if any of you happened to not be who you say you are, it wouldn't affect me in the slightest. An awareness and ability to separate those two groups of people is important.

    I think those who are most at risk are the very young (and thus naive) and the older generations who did not grow up with computers and the Internet. It all comes down to being aware of the dangers. What you don't know definitely CAN hurt you.

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    1. Oh Neel, wire that money, ha ha ha. This point about the generations is coming through really clear to me, through this discussion. I read your response after I had written my reply to Menopausal Mama. I agree with you, ignorance is not bliss. Thanks Neel.

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  6. Here is yet another arena in which to learn restraint and balance. I love social networking - have met lots of great people and been exposed to tons of great information. (BTW, I'm not the nut you met, am I?) :) BUT I'm also very aware of the potential dangers, too. I am who I say I am - I share things that I would never be ashamed to have my family or friends know I shared - and reserve enough of myself to keep me comfortable. I know some horror stories, though, of people who were robbed after announcing their travel itinerary, etc. Restraint and balance...

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    1. Melody, if that is your real name :), I don't know, perhaps you are that nut, how many IDs do you have on the internet? ha ha ha ha. Seriously though, you make some good points here, and thanks for commenting. Melody, also feel free to share any of those horror stories so we can all be warned.

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  7. I love the web, I hate the web, I love the web, I hate the web...

    It is strange how you can feel like you are being productive and wasting time all at once when it come to the Internet. I'm guilty and I hate it. In some ways I feel like the internet is the main cause of social degradation, and yet it is the main way I stay in contact with a huge portion of my family. I think it debilitates our kid's life skills, yet they have access to endless supplies of educational material. I sit on my computer for hours and write my blog feeling like I'm doing something productive and somehow rewarding. Yet, I'm broke, and unemployed. I should be spending ALL of any free time I have trying to secure some reliable employment. I find the Internet to be an ironic place in so many ways.

    And yes I do believe social media is addictive. It's an outlet that many people use as much, or more than speech. It has become an every day habit, take it away... And it will occupy your mind just like a cigarette to a smoker.

    I try to go up north from here to camp and fish Salmon with friends once a year. "Salmon camp" is usually three or four days in the middle of a national forest. No signals... No phones, computers, or power. It's great to get up there and forget about everything but catching the next big fish for a few days. I don't think about bills, my job, my messes, responsibilities, you know the stuff I'm talking about. The one thing that still creeps into my mind other than which fly to try next... I want to check my messages.

    I love the web. I hate the web.

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    1. Definitely a love hate relationship. Jon, sounds like that salmon camp is a form of rehab for you. And a tasty one too :) a chance to dry out a bit from all this technology and reconnect with nature.

      The good thing is that you are aware of how much time you are spending on the internet so it's just a matter of getting the balance right in order for you to cover all that you need to do in a day. I love the analogy of the cigarette to a smoker. Very well put.

      Jon, hope you and your family are doing a little better in regards to the bereavement, although I know it can be a very long process.

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  8. What puzzles me is why anyone would go to a park and concentrate fully on his electronic device. He misses out on the beauty of the present moment in the midst of nature.
    Here's part of a quote that explains it better:

    "There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute - here and now.
    The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle. Which is exactly what it is - a miracle and unrepeatable."
    ~Storm Jameson

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    1. I've shared a few of my views already on this, so please allow me to switch around and play devil's advocate. What if, for someone, the beauty of the present moment lies in communicating with that other person at the other end of a phone line? Is it any less real than looking at a tree? Just a wild thought. Thanks John.

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  9. Well I used to be addicted to face book, now I'm addicted to blogging. Yes, I do spend too much time on the internet. I am online feeling like I don't want to miss a thing. It feels like I'm being sucked in to the online world. Sadly I have nearly given up part of my social life because I'd rather be sitting at the computer 75 percent of the time. Even if I were to get out with friends, I wouldn't be able to manage without checking my email. I'd come running back here to see if my page views have gone up. I do that 5 times a day, terrible isn't it. Consider this, I'm not married, nor dating anyone, so I can do whatever I want. If I could be anywhere, I'd rather be here blogging than in a relationship. And it wouldn't work if I was in a relationship because I would be on the computer all the time instead of with someone. So I'm better off staying single as I am, lol. It's very addicting.

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    1. From you comment I can see what you mean. But aren't you concerned that you are slowly taking yourself out of the real world by not socializing as much face to face? You may not mind right now, but how about the future? By taking yourself out of society, don't you think it less likely to form a relationship with someone or will that be online too? Just throwing up questions that come to mind. Do you think this would have any impact on any children growing up around you?

      How would you envisage dealing with it, if your stats went down? Thanks for being so honest Susana, and hope you don't mind the barrage of questions.

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    2. Yes, it bothers me that I am online more than out in the real world right now. Hopefully I'll come out of this spell in the long run. In the future I would rather see myself out in the real world more. :)

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    3. A quick little encouragement for Susana: the more you get out, the more you have to write about. I know your experience on your flight to Buffalo was not great, but your post about it was and the outcome (your participation being asked to help with the issue) is great news. I know it seems easier to just stay at home and blog/ or read other blogs, but humans are the most interesting thing to write about, but you have to meet them to write about them :)

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  10. "We feel naked without our mobiles".
    As someone who has never owned a mobile phone, I cannot confirm the veracity of this statement, but you are certainly right to highlight the degree of dependence that most people have on social media and their accompanying technology. My current beef is with the sheer number of cyclists who are more intent on checking their mobiles than on what should have their undivided attention. Genuine discussion forums are fine, but I suspect (because I don't use them) that sites like Facebook do not provide this facility and instead encourage the trivialization of everything.

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    1. Oh Dennis you raised a point that effects me to no end. I like to ride my bike too. And one of the issues I have, is seeing young people riding top speed texting and using their mobiles with their both hands off the handle bars - yes, off the handle bars. It takes only a second for something to go wrong. There have been times when I have had to shout at the person coming towards me because they seem too engrossed with that mobile. Now you got me going.
      This is also a major problem with people driving. They just can't let the phone ring for a second or answer that text later, it's so damn dangerous. You got my blood up now.

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    2. To add to the problem, most have earphones on with really loud music so they don't hear you shout. I rollerblade so same issue. People really don't realize how dangerous this issue is. I have seem some really heart-wrenching ads about texting and driving on CW channel, but people still do it. I don't drive anymore so at least I don't text and drive. But I sometimes check my phone when rollerblading :(

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  11. It is true that what mass media and technology has become, is a double edged sword. I'm not just connected to the internet when I go out with my mobile phone, I'm connected to the whole world. I remember, back in the 90s, I'd be out traveling around and I'd wonder what movies were showing at the movies, so I'd have to trip over there.... Now I can just check on the phone with a press of the button. I ALSO remember thinking, "You know, there could have been a nuclear attack, and the news is warning everyone to go indoors, and I wouldn't know. Now I will be alerted automatically on the phone.

    But yes, as with everything, you can get addicted. I've know a few people who were addicted to the Internet and mass media. It was an absolute shame, but they couldn't do anything without spending hours on facebook....

    The amount of information we give out online is getting a tad ridiculous. I sometimes wish there was a 'centralized' info site or file we could just send or get a company to connect to, instead of having to fill stuff out.

    I never report anything about vacations or anything on facebook. There's too many house robberies in the area I live in, and we already know Lisa's Facebook is stalked. We can't even put that we are getting in the hot tub, as people will drive by and take pictures.

    Fact is, there are horrendous dangers with the Internet, and people need to realize what they are. I try to be as safe as I can, but in the end, we'll see what happens with it all. Good post for trying to put some heads up out there.

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    1. Dan, you have to let us know how to get that instant automatic nuclear attack warning app for our mobile phones, ha ha you never know :). It took me a very long time to get my own mobile but once I had it, I was hooked.

      But seriously, regarding your comment about a centralised site, this could be a good idea providing that the site was in safe hands, and not administered by 'big brother'. If you have any tips on being safe online, we'd love to hear it. Thanks Dan.

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  12. It's so strange to think about how twenty years ago, no one had cell phones or PCs or GPSs. I enjoy social media and the convenience of modern technology, but nothing can replace a hand-written letter or a face to face conversation. I dislike living in a predicament of immediate availability, and am pretty good about ignoring my cell phone. Still, I have met what I consider to be real friends online, people I'll probably never meet in person, but with whom I've had some excellent, intimate conversations about life, living, etc.

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    1. Helena, sounds like you have found the balance that is right for you. Quick question: Do you consider the online relationships in which you have shared intimate conversations to be as real as your face to face ones?
      Thanks for your comment.

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  13. I know that I spend too much time on the internet. I'll sit down saying, "Just a few minutes on Facebook, BC, etc., then I'll get to writing." An hour later and I'm still there. It's more of a time suck issure than a safety one, though the safety issue is so relevant today. On Facebook I finally decided to post everything as public and really watch everything I say. If something is too private for me to not share with everyone, it doesn't belong there. I'll tell to who I want to hear it face-to-face.

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    1. Janene. Sounds like you have the right approach towards privacy. When it comes to the drain on your time I suppose the question we all need to ask ourselves is, could I be doing anything else better with my time? It may be that what we would be doing in the real world may not be as enjoyable or productive. So we may as well indulge.

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  14. Oh my.....you're talking directly to me aren't you :) ha ha Oh yes, guilty as charged. I'm writing this as I hold my laptop on my lap at nearly midnight. I've recently pondered "unplugging" for a weekend and writing with pen and paper. Perhaps going away to a bed and breakfast and leaving my laptop, iPhone and iPad at home. Eeek that give me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it!! Surely I'd go mad?! No....I don't think I would. I might get in touch with myself and recharge without the distractions of my beloved social media? Just the fact that I said "beloved social media" proves your point, doesn't it?! :)

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    1. Michelle, glad to have been of assistance to you in your self diagnosis. Private message me if you would like the contacts for a support group in your area ha ha ha :). Your comment did make me smile.

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    2. Michelle you would be surprised. I know that the thought of disconnecting is scary. But I did end up disconnecting - my computer crashed on me while my phone charger is also connected to my computer - so I was in the "dark" for a few days and on a trip. It felt great!

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  15. I think I spend too much time on the Internet purely because it is part of my life. Without it I would be unemployed and single. Then again I may have a different kind of job and a different woman by my side. Scary thought.

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    1. Your job and your wife/girlfriend/woman two of the most important things in ones life. Your experience raises more questions about whether the line is becoming thinner between our 'actual' and 'virtual' lives. Thanks for commenting here Daniel.

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  16. I am on the internet a great deal at this time in my life due to a medical condition. I was almost completely away for the last two years. I just started back a couple of months ago.

    I do think about all of the bad things you mentioned about the internet. I try to not broadcast when I am home or away. But, I would rather be away from home if they are going to break in.

    I had a bad experience with someone years and years ago. I ran a blog for abused women. An online stalker attached himself to me. I was just starting out on the internet then and very stupid about things. It ended up with the FBI getting involved and I had to delete the site.

    This person sent me some incredibly horrid images of things done to women and made it clear they knew exactly who I was and where I was. It was a nightmare. I have learned a lot since then and am not so open with everyone anymore about my private information.

    But the fact of the matter is that if someone wants to hurt you then they will. I am a believer in destiny. If it's destined to be so then it will. Therefore, I choose to be as careful as possible but refuse to live in fear.

    As always you have come up with another fantastic pro/con post. I certainly don't know all of the answers nor do I want to. I am just going to keep on keeping on!!

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    1. It seems that the internet is now a way of connecting you with people because of your medical condition, and I see that as a positive thing.

      What a bad experience you suffered with that stalker. And, it must have been extremely frightening knowing that the person knows you, but you don't have a clue who they are. I fully understand what you mean about not living in fear, and it's so fortunate that there are people out there who are hell bent on hurting others in any way they can. All we can ever do is protect ourselves as much as possible and hope for the best.

      Maybe one day in the future you can continue to run a blog for abused women. So many women need help, advice, and others who they can communicate with in desperate times. So I applaud you for all the hard work you must have put into that blog. I truly have appreciated your comments Jackie.

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  17. This is a great post (as usual) Rum Punch, and I agree with you on all counts. The internet and social media outlets are great sources of well everything. But like anything else, its use MUST be tempered with common sense. Anyone can attract a stalker, a nut, or someone just out for whatever they can get, but so many times they're invited in. Just look at the amount of info that's so freely given on FB. Instead of divulging all your personal info, MAKE A PHONE CALL. I've heard that in most divorces, the first thing a lawyer does is check out FB, Twitter and the like. WHOA! Just how low have we sunk?
    As for the internet/computer, I'm off and on ALL DAY, EVERDAY. I turn the computer off once a week, maybe. And I DO NOT LEAVE HOME W/OUT MY CELLPHONE! However did we live before they hit the market.
    I joined FB 2 yrs. ago, only because I wanted to play the Farmville game there. I was SO HOOKED on that dat blasted game, that I once "harvested my crops" while out to dinner. After 6 months, I shut it doen, and went cold turkey! It was to the point that I needed an intervention, LOL!
    RP, you have opened up the faucet here. I am rambling on and go.
    Suffice it to say, great topic!

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    1. Oh Nell, you made me laugh with your comment - 'cold turkey' ha ha ha, 'harvested my crops whilst out to dinner' ha ha ha. You was ADDICTED for true.

      I can see why divorce lawyers check out those sites too, and I've heard that employers do the same thing, trying to find out what their employees are up to etc. Thanks for the laugh Nell. :)

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  18. To answer your first question, absolutely, one can be addicted to the internet. As for me, I try to keep it within a limit, that means I don't have internet on my mobile phone, mainly because it would increase my expenses and partly because I know I would be checking my emails all the time if I had the opportunity to do so. This way, I can't do it, so I don't miss it.
    Great post, and I could say a lot more on the topic, but I've worked on a paper for the last few hours and the whole weekend and I just can't think clearly anymore :)

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    1. Thanks Kleopatra, you made a good point. At least you're aware of what might happen if you got email on your mobile. So maybe it's best not to yet have this facility, and you're right about the cost too.

      I'm wishing you all the success with you paper because I know that you are now studying very hard for your exams. I know you are a regular here, so don't worry if your knackered or can't say a lot, just concentrate on your education right now.

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  19. Check out the book Life Without It, a satire about our addiction to cellphones. It is not a book encouraging you to throw your cellphone altogether or cancel your Facebook account (we all know that won't happen.) But it is more about making people realize that the behavior they love to criticize is not only their best friend's or their sister's, but their own. We all love to comment on our friend's nonstop Facebook updates or their refusal to have a phone conversation - texting is simpler - but most of us have been/ still are guilty of all the above, right? But we still complain about it since complaining is so much fun!

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    1. Of course your right. I've definitely been guilty. When that mobile rings I just have to answer, I can't stand hearing it ring for too long, and when it's not a good call, I slump down wishing I had let it ring. And, I remember almost breaking my toes jumping over the hoover a couple years ago because I could hear my email tone ringing in the distance. Mustn't forget I've experience the dark flip side too. But it's all worth writing about :).
      Thanks also for the info about the book 'Life Without it'. No promises I will read it, but you never know.

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    2. You should. I know the author very well. I think you will like it :) Keep your toes safe

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  20. Such an interesting topic. Seems everyone is addicted. Some people keep it more in check than others, but I feel like almost everyone has been through a period of time when he or she felt like they couldn't stop checking their emails, their Facebook Likes, their page stats for us bloggers, and then hopefully it passes and we realize that there is more than all of that in life. Sometimes a nice homemade dinner with one good friend is what you need: no phone no computer nada! I call is Back To Basics night. And one cool idea for dinner: first person to touch their phone pays the bill!

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    1. I just love the idea of your 'Back to Basics night'. Absolutely brilliant for those that are truly addicted or those who want to answer calls in the middle of dinner. I think I just might adopt that one. Let's see who gets a free meal. Nice One OneBigMistake.

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    2. PS: if it is a homemade meal - cause I love to cook, I will make a point to keep a random grocery store bill so I can "threaten" my guests/friends with something to pay :) let me know how it goes :)

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  21. I entered on different literary sites or networks in 2010. This helped me a lot to improve my poetry attempts.
    I am one of the saddest persons in the world. There must be also people like me, I am not the only one. I am considered insane and I am totally alone, lacking financial rights, I live from a small rent. I worked illegally with my psychiatric diagnostic only 5 years, and I don't have retirement rights. This is the legislation in my country. I am supposed to be helped my my mother.
    That's why I wrote my plea in vain (for normal rights) on different sites in vain, then I retired from the net because no one helped me. And I stopped writing poems. Internet social networks are fine but they cannot take the place of a phone call or face to face conversation. I don't even receive mails.
    After a few months I came back on the net, restarting to write poems for a while. Complete isolation is very hard to be endured. Communication is a primary need. I wrote again my miserable life story, hoping in vain for help on different sites in my country and elsewhere. I guess no one can help those like me so I will retire again, but I did not want to die, it is sad.
    I confess that before internet I was in about 20 places begging in vain for freedom because I did nothing wrong and I was abused every day. I think there are many people like me on the net, but no one communicates with them.
    Life is good, carpe diem or try to be happy every day!

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    1. I do feel very bad about the way you have been treated because regardless to any illness someone suffers from, we should all be treated with dignity and respect. Legislation is hard to get around, but I always say to people in this country UK, to always try and seek legal advice as to their rights because sometimes people are given wrong information. I don't know how it is in your country and I don't doubt you have done your very best to get help to no avail.
      I think sometimes it can be difficult to help someone if you can't provide them with a solution or even point them in the right direction, so to speak. So maybe people didn't have answers for your pleas, and that's why nobody was able to help. I'm only guessing now.

      In regards to your comment, I do agree with what you mentioned about face to face conversation but when this is not possible, the internet is a good substitute in keeping in contact with others and keeping up to date with what is going on in this world.

      I personally think that in the meantime, you should continue to write your poems and keep up the communication with bloggers and the people you have met via the internet/social sites. I've had some real meaningful chats and made some good friends that I'm in contact with and I've seen life from very different points of views, all from blogging. Don't give up Christina-Monica, keep the doors of communication open.

      Your comments on this blog have opened up my eyes to many things that I was not aware of, and you have a valuable voice that should be heard.

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  22. Awesome article. I am addicted to social networking too..In my opinion, to be safe in social networks is very important and I generally take care of what I post on these sites,who my audience are...do they really need to know about this..and then post it. These are the simple tips I follow and I have not faced any problems till now due to my social networking.

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    1. It is better safe than sorry. You've got some simple tips which can be very effective. Thanks Janika.

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  23. For the exact reason of why you have now got 50 comments on this post you've been given a versatile blogging award: http://weirdn-wonderful.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-versatile-blogger-award-or-liebster.html

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    1. Thank you so much Jamie, I truly appreciate you thinking of me and left you a PM. I shall in no doubt pop over to see what you have in store for us. Thanks again.

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  24. First of all, I think everyone can spend their time any way they wish. So if someone wants to be on the internet 24/7, that's fine with me. As for internet safety I've never really worried about it. Chances are nothing dire will happen, but if it does I'll handle it. I've already been hacked a couple of times, and those were at worst minor inconveniences and actually quite funny. I just think people worry too much about everything. It's like Mark Twain said: "I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."

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    1. NP, you always have a very relaxed way of looking at life, but I would have been in a wild blind panic if someone hacked my accounts. I do hope that nothing dire happens but as you can see, sometimes that's not always the case. You've been hacked twice now, so do what you need to do to stop it happening a third time I say :).

      I think I just might fit neatly into the category of worry a bit too much. I need to take a leaf out of your book NP. I'm relaxing this weekend :)Thanks for commenting.

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  25. Yes, I do believe people can become addicted to the internet. I just bought my teenage son his first computer last month. He goes to a charter school, and he has lots of assignments that require them to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I wanted him to have his own computer to park all of his electronic files. I am trying to teach him how to be responsible with the time he spends on computers and the internet (especially gaming activities). It is definitely a challenge. It is clear to me that if I don't maintain diligence that he would spend most of his time doing gaming activities.

    His friends sometimes make comments to him about how restrictive we are as his parents. The point is that all of these kids seem to be out of control and addicted to Cyberspace. My observation is that this is a serious problem, and I even believe the productivity in the work place suffers because of the current insanity.

    I love blogging and the ability to spread the gospel via the internet and my mobile devices. It's a cost effective way to reach a lot of people. And even though I don't spend any more time than I feel I have to on social networks, blogging, and my website, I do believe I spend too much time on these.

    Finally, being a minister and having a website, it's impossible for me to remain anonymous. I accept that as going with the territory. But I try to limit what I share about my personal life, and I don't share personal photos.

    As usual, great post. I really enjoyed reading some of the other comments as well.

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    1. It's good to hear that you are taking an active interest in what your son is doing on the internet. Many parents don't, as they are happy to have the extra free time. In some cases, but not all, it is a case of 'out of sight out of mind'.

      I too feel that some children spend way to much time on social sites and can't even hold a decent conversation in person. Everything in moderation I say.

      The internet has come a long way in spreading the gospel. I remember my church background well, and it was a case of door to door or face to face on the streets. Now at a touch of a button you can find anything on the whole web and get to comment on it.

      As much as I hate to say this, I do feel that some professions need to be careful in what they share to the public. Religion can cause great anger amongst some folk, and sometimes it is best to keep personal info about family/riends personal. Thanks again for you comment Frank.

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  26. I love the internet. I go on Tumblr a lot and Facebook. I actually met the person I want to marry on Tumblr. I think to be safe you have to use your own judgement. When you see a FB account with maybe 10 friends and no pictures, maybe you shouldn't be talking to that person. Because, they may not be who they say they are. But, if you see the account with a good number of friends or some pictures or maybe other people tagged them in things... see it's really just using your own judgement.

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    1. Nice to hear from you, and I hope that your relationship goes well. Judgement does play a role too, and at the end of the day, the responsibility lies with you in doing all the necessary checks before you tie the knot. Let me know when that big day happens so I too can celebrate with you here. Looking forward to seeing you here again and thanks for the comment.

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  27. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk! Personally, I don’t think I spend too much time on the Internet but, of course, my answer is subjective. I can say for a fact that I don’t spend that much time on Facebook. I never play Farmville or any games there. I probably spend more time on blogs and email, and searching the Internet for information. All in all, I really love the Internet and social media.

    I’ve been scammed via email requests from seemingly sincere people but I didn’t bite. Almost did once b/c the request for help came from a friend’s email address. But caution prevailed and I found out my friend had never sent that email, she had been hacked. Occasionally, I run into trolls on Facebook and block them. A few times spammers have left garbage comments on my blog. I delete the comment and block them.

    My tip for Internet security is keeping your anti-virus software updated. Just having it installed isn’t enough, you need to be sure you’re getting all the recent updates b/c there are new viruses all the time (and if you want automatic updates, sometimes you have to manually set that option). A year ago, I got a nasty computer virus while surfing the web. Destroyed tons of data on my hard drive! Wiped it out just like that! I was stunned because I had antivirus software installed. Turns out I had inadvertently neglected to keep it updated by setting the right option. Updating is key. Big lesson learned there!

    Security on social sites is a tricky thing. On blogs you can be vague about your exact identity if you want. But on sites like Facebook, everyone knows who you are, where you are, and hackers sometimes get in. No site can be a fortress of security. On FB and sites like that, I never post my phone number, not even my mobile. I never say when I’m going out of town or even out to dinner. I might post pics when I get back but not before. So many people post every detail of their life on FB, not very safe at all. People let their guard down too much. I try to err on the side of caution, but that’s my nature. This is a good post and good questions that are difficult to answer clearly in this modern society.

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    1. Oh JerseyLil, you might not spend too much time on the internet but I know that your dogs do... I read your latest post, ha ha ha.

      Thank you so much for the tips about safety and keeping your anti-virus software up to date. Sorry to hear how much info you lost, it was a harsh lesson but at least you are now aware what you need to do, so it won't happen again. Certain things can just slip your mind at times.

      I heard a long time ago how emails were hacked into and then the hackers tried to get money from all the contacts in that persons email account. They succeeded by stating that the person was in need of urgent help abroad on holiday, and after losing their IDs, money etc they needed the funds instantly to get them back into the country. The lengths some people go to.

      Thank you so much for the comment JerseyLil, which has given me much more to think about.

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  28. I love the internet and have met so many wonderful people on it. However, I am still cautious to the best of my ability, but that's just second nature to me on and off the net. With all the horror stories I've heard I do wish children and teens would practice a bit more annonimity, then again, I guess we can all be vulnerable.

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    1. Thanks for the comment and welcome My Meddling Mind :)

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  29. Just like most things, the internet can be a powerful tool if used properly and in moderation. When it gets to the point where you value browsing the web over being a productive member of society or you substitute internet relationships over real ones, it may be time to take a step ( or two) back.

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    1. Yes, it's kinda like knowing when you've had too much to drink. Thanks Kyle.

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  30. I've definitely made the move to where most of the important things in my life are done online. Paying bills, shopping, working, socialising. I don't think it stops me from doing all the "real world" things though, it's just changing the location of things I already did.

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    1. I still don't feel safe enough with doing all these online transactions, so for now I'm steering well clear. But, I do believe that the day is coming when I won't get a choice in the matter. Nice to hear from you Kellie and hope to hear from you again.

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  31. Ok, it's official, I'm crazy jealous of you,for amazing posts you get tons of amazing comments, are you working, do you really need a job when you have this blog :) ?

    as for the internet/online addiction i am extremely careful not to give more than it needs to be given, one words that describes is security, i am very careful what info i am giving out, and yes, i am addictied but only because there isn't much for me to do, i know it might sounds as complaining but it's not, long story anyway and not sure you wanna hear about it

    in the end, i agree with every single thing you said in your post

    hope you can find some time to stop by my blog to give a read to my latest post http://gabrieldilaurentis.com/energy-the-positive-the-negative/

    thanks, you're awesome :) thanks for your comments made on bloggers.com :)

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    1. Thanks for the comment Gabriel. I guess when there is nothing to do, the internet is a way of keeping busy, and making lots of online contacts whether for blogging, friends or family etc.. so in that respect, it is a good thing. The main thing is always to be as safe as you can.

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    2. I'm glad I did leave a comment, you speak from the heart, you speak up your mind and I appreciate that, you're sincere, you're straight forward. Enjoying your last post, see you there :)

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  32. When I was 17, I met a guy online, he was 18, and in another state of Australia. We talked online initially, and then on the phone. Boys hadn't paid me much attention before, and so I believed I was in love. He said he loved me. We would talk for hours and hours. One day he called me to tell me his ex girlfriend was pregnant with his child. He was due to fly to meet me - I stupidly told my parents about his baby, and they flipped out. He still came to meet me, and stay with me for 2 weeks. I fell more in love with him when he stayed. It was my first sexual experience. He said he loved me too, in person, looking into my eyes. He returned home and I didn't near from him for a while. He got back in touch with me 2 weeks after he left, I was so sad. He was making a new start with his ex gf for their child. We continued to talk online. I loved him so much. His mother died, hid child was born. He told me if it wasn't for the baby we'd be together. This Weston for five years, us talking. I thought we'd always have a connection. One day, I got a call from him, late at night. His phone suddenly went flat. I didn't think much of it, phones go flat. Two hours later, at 12 am, a woman called me, asking how I knew this guy, why was I calling him? I told her, and said that I always asked of he was seeing someone, and he'd always so no. I had no reason not to trust him. I told her about the baby, and his mum. Only, there wasn't a baby, and his mother wasn't dead. He had kept his lies for 5 years, later telling me he wanted to be more than he was, to impress me. The only things I know about him are his age, name and occupation. The rest of it - lies.

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    1. Wow Carly, your heart must have been so broken after hearing that it was all a big pack of lies, especially at such a young age and being in love. It is so unfortunate that this still happens today. I've heard about people being approached by guys via the internet who spend all day either grooming the victim for sex or to extract large amounts of money from them. I was going to say that the young ones are targets but it does also happen to the more mature women too.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us all Carly, I'm sure it wasn't an easy thing to do at first. I also hope that your comment will help to make someone else stop and think before they accept everything that is being said to them via the internet.

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