Today is the fifth annual Safer Internet Day across Europe. Public events and school programs took place across the continent warning both children and parents of the many dangers on the internet. A large part of the programs warned about virtual friends and online acquaintances who may not always be who they pretend to be. Unfortunately, they all fail to recognize the biggest danger of the internet: the internet itself.
The internet is known far and wide as a killer of at least three South Koreans who remained online until their deaths, a stealer of time and money, and an unequal replacement for live social interaction. I thought it was fairly obvious that there are bad people in the world. I also thought it was fairly well-known that there are bad people on the internet. A government shouldn’t have to have a day dedicated to encouraging parents to control their children. If the parents wanted all the information they could have… well… just looked it up on the internet. What European continent (because Americans aren’t involved in this) needs to understand more is the negative effect the internet can have on the population as a whole. After all, governments should be focused more on the whole than the individual. It’s up to the individual to realize that a stranger on the internet isn’t any different than a stranger in the real world, unless of course the stranger on the internet is controlled by a computer, in which case the individual needs to learn to differentiate between reality and fantasy.