Becareful of the web!!

With the advent of growing technology and the expansion of the digital world, the old clich̩ stands true Рtechnology is everywhere and has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards, if we are not careful.

Websites such as http://facebook.com/ and http://myspace.com are viewed, by some, as a social networking place for friends, families, and even enemies. People use Facebook and Myspace to keep in contact with childhood friends, upload friendly photos from candid parties/events, post notes about their friends who have impacted them throughout their lives and also share links and personal home videos of them doing the “chicken noodle dance.” Some would think that these websites are wonderful places for positive interaction with college students across the globe, or even childhood friends from elementary school.

Students should use these sites just as their mission statements state, a networking tool for friends. Students that use networking websites to cause harm to others is inappropriate behavior because it destroys a persons’ lifestyle, relationship, family ties, friendships, and most important career. Using Facebook and Myspace for revenge on others is childish. Why not be adults and confront the issue face-to-face? What kind of intentions will motivate someone to want to seek revenge online? Just because the person is not interested in you or just because the person is a prominent person in the community, does that give them the green light to be publicly scrutinized?

According to Alexa.com, a prominent web traffic counter and search engine, Facebook holds the number seven spot of the most popular sites online, while Myspace comes in strong at number three, right behind sites like Yahoo and Google. The amount of users has grown by nearly 300 percent to 18.5 million since last July, on Facebook alone.

As fast as you can use the technology to harm a person’s life, the faster it will take legal authorities to track you down. Have we ever heard of cookies, encryption productions, or even I.P numbers? It will not take much time to find out where information is being posted from and which computer is admitting the virtual “trash.”

In recent news, a high school principal sued four former students because of fake Myspace profiles they allegedly created, portraying him as a drug and alcohol junkie. The mock profile lasted less then two weeks before the students were tracked down. The principal made claims that slanderous remarks have demolished his reputation and is seeking monetary compensation for the students’ immature actions. Users should think twice before they create such slanderous profiles. A defamatory statement is not actionable unless it is published. Unfortunately for online users, when libel lawyers say “published”, they mean communicated to one person (not including the person defamed). You can be accused of libel by writing about someone on a personal blog, providing at least one person has accessed the defamatory material. With over a million hits a day, I’m sure more than one person can access these bogus profiles – think twice!

We’ve all heard the horror stories of how “Facebook has destroyed my relationship” or “how I found my ex-girlfriend cheating on me through Myspace.” There are still a few people who choose not to set foot into this virtual war of the worlds. Facebook and Myspace users need to become aware of what they create and post online. No telling who might see it. Who wants to log on and see their teachers’ naked pictures “taken from their teachers” camera phone… how disrespectful is that? Numerous Facebook and Myspace accounts have been deleted from users posting inappropriate photos and information on their profiles. Many lawsuits and federal actions can be taken against users who abuse the privacy and terms of agreement outline that the users agree upon registering for such sites. Yes, the term of agreements is the box you check that you normally do not read. Using the Internet to play practical jokes or “out” people is just immature and not appropriate behavior for “adults.”

Facebook and Myspace, along with tons of other websites online, are great innovations that allow users to express their creativity and give users the opportunity to create new networking, chain of friends or comrades. People join these sites with the notion of being free to express themselves and to connect with people through various groups who share the same interests like “I LOVE NEW YORK” or even “SUPPORT OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT.” That freedom should not compromise others’ values or jeopardize their lives, due to immature acts. Even though we live in a society in which expression is judged by legal clauses or bible verses, it is vital that we remember that the consequence of being free inflicts penalties – whether positive or negative.

Be careful out there, it’s a dangerous world wide web we live in!