The side we never learn about

It’s all good and well talking about the benefits of the Internet but I don’t think we ever really talk about the dangers thoroughly enough. In school, I was never really taught about Internet safety and what we should and should not do, we were simply expected to just know.

Whilst the Internet provides us with plenty of platforms to meet new people, be it for friendship or a relationship, and yet we are never warned about the dangers of doing so. Online, we can be whoever we want to be. So why are we so trusting of the people we are talking to when we know full well anyone ca change their name and use others’ photos?

Furthermore, the amount of information the Internet has about us is truly scary. I was only made aware of this from this University module and at this point it is already too late to remove this information. Anyone is able to access this information and it is therefore easier for predators to find us, stalk us or even approach us directly.

Nowadays, kids are using the Internet at a younger age than ever. It is for this reason that I feel schools need to warn children of Internet dangers earlier and it is their responsibility to teach them ways to be more  “Internet smart.” For example, their could be a dedicated Internet Safety day where all school children are taken out of their usual timetabled classes and instead have lectures on ways to be safe online.

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JSTOR

JSTOR is a media platform on which people are able to access thousands of professional articles, journals and books, which would otherwise be protected by copyright laws. Anyone can gain access to these published works simply by buying a JPASS which you can get a yearly pass ($199/year) or a monthly pass ($19.50/month).

Once you have purchased your pass, you have the option of reading the work online or downloading it in a PDF. However, you have to agree to the ‘Terms and Conditions‘ which state that you cannot distribute the pages nor print out the entire book/journal.

Personally, I feel that  JSTOR is a very good initiative. By allowing schools, universities and individuals access, everyone is able to obtain professional and reliable resources in order to further their studies or research. I often use JSTOR because it is a non-profit organisation and is there purely to help people and encourage reading. Although many people use it for these purposes,  if there were fewer restrictions under the Creative Commons licence, people would be able to pass the authors’ work, ideas and opinions as their own and they would not receive all the recognition they deserve.

Although it might seem stingy to ask people to pay in order to access these books, many people would take advantage of this free service and as a result, people such as the authors would suffer the consequences.

 

Some things we can’t control

When I think of my online visibility it freaks me out a little bit. Although I knew that anyone could see my photos and information when I created my profiles, I never really understood how much they could truly see.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my online visibility are my photos. Yes, I’m that girl that doesn’t set her Instagram and Twitter profiles as private. I know that I probably should but I have no personal information on there and I have never run into any issues with people stealing my photos. The only thing that worries is me is that Google has photos of both me and some of my Facebook friends on their “images” section, however this is the price I pay for having a public profile.

Whilst my social media settings are completely down to me, there is a lot of information on Google that I have not chosen to put up. For example, 192.com has taken my student halls address from the Electoral Roll despite the fact I have never voted. They have provided not only my address but also the names of all my flatmates. Personally, I do not feel that such information should be released to the public as anyone could track me down and knock on my door (an idea that I find very unsettling).

Personally, I love the Internet: it’s a great invention of our generation and it can be useful for a wide range of different things. However, it is also a very scary part of technology; it can store every photo you upload, every word you type and every place you go without you even knowing about it.

 

Twitter as an online community

Twitter is usually used to rant, complain and make funny statements. However in many circumstances it can be used to spread awareness and do good in this new technological world.

Last week, a young man named Macauley Campbell from my hometown Southampton, died in a car crash. Inspired by his love of festivals and music, his girlfriend Fleur began the #MACFEST in order to raise money to create a whole new festival in his honour in Southampton. Within 24hours Fleur managed to raise over £10,000 and had been in contact with celebrities such as Craig David, and Scotty T and GAZ from Geordie Shore who agreed to attend MACFEST.

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This story is  true testament to the way Twitter can be used for good and to create a sense of ‘community.’ Although Mac was loved by many in Southampton, his story has now been told across the country via Twitter.

MAC FEST” now has nearly 10,000 followers and is continuing to gain following and spread further awareness.  They are hoping for the festival to take place this summer and the line-up of acts is continuously getting bigger. His family are receiving more support than ever and Twitter has shown them how truly loved their son was by everyone.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Twitter can be used to for such inspiring purposes, many use it as a platform to post both offensive and abusive content, and is often a main source for Cyber-bullying.

 

Send to all

 

Every week Michael McIntyre does a segment on his chat show called “Send to All” in which he asks a member of the audience to surrender their phone to him. He then sends one message to absolutely everyone in their contacts and then reads out the responses, which are more than often extremely comical, as they come through.

In this particular episode, McIntyre sends the message, ‘thinking of getting a total make-over where should I start?” To which his mother replies in a panic causing McIntyre to opt in calling Joseph’s mum claiming that he had tattooed her face on his bum.

This is a good segment as it means that the audience have a chance at feeling included in the chat show and do not remain passive the entire time. It also gives the show a sense of unpredictability, as we never know what Michael McIntyre will text.

 

 

 

 

 

All-in-one

Nowadays, we are able to use our phones for practically anything e.g. texting, taking photos, surfing the internet, paying and now even storing our plane or concert tickets. This change has made our lives much easier; we no longer need to carry a million different things in our pockets, our smartphones will simply do.

Not only has it made our lives easier, but this form of convergence has also changed many other aspects of the media industry. Today, I can sit on the train and listen to/read the news directly from my phone. This means that I can stay connected to what is happening across the world, but as a result, Journalists are having to learn new skills such as reporting on social media platforms (e.g. for Twitter) and their audience now have access to their reporting for free, causing uncertainty about their income.

The creation of the ultimate all-in-one phone means that we have become significantly more dependant on our phones. It is now virtually impossible to leave the house without these tiny devices, and if we do, we feel the need to run back and grab it before we can even begin to think about starting our day.

Trading privacy for freedom

Michael P. Lynch’s article The Philosophy of privacy: why surveillance reduces us to objects written for The Guardian is an extremely useful online resource for our module. In his article Lynch argues that we ‘trade away’ our privacy for the ability to gain freedom, security and convenience from The Internet. And in many ways, he is not wrong. Barely any of us ever read the Terms and Conditions, we simply tick the box agreeing to comply with them without even knowing what they say. However, in doing so, we are signing away our privacy, allowing the government and even certain firms to gain access to our pictures and information legally.

 

Lynch also argues that losing our ‘information privacy’ causes us to lose our autonomy also. Decisions are taken away from us, and we therefore lose some sense of freedom. He claims that autonomy is what makes us fully mature adults, hence why we treasure our independence so much. It is for this reason that we must fight to keep all sense of our autonomy, freedom and privacy. These are fundamental tools in making us human.

 

Should the government have access to our privacy? A huge question of today’s society. One that I fear we shall never come to agreement about. Whilst it is true that they are able to keep us safe through surveillance, I feel that we have a sense of privacy and that our photos should remain our property rather than ‘public property.’

I have chosen Lynch’s article as a useful source as I believe that it helps us see our privacy and autonomy in a different way. Before reading this piece, I never thought that our autonomy could be directly affected by the level of privacy we are allowed to have. Thinking about it now, it makes a lot of sense. When we are children, we have very little privacy and therefore very little independence. As we grow up, we are allowed more and more privacy and we eventually become completely autonomous. But what happens if we are refused our privacy?