If you’re remotely connected to technology news, or know any teenagers on Facebook, then you’ll probably know about the most recent ‘viral party’ that’s hit Facebook, which, as of this morning, achieved over 200,000 people attending.
Now, I do feel sorry for the girl who was holding the party, especially with how out of hand it’s gotten off Facebook, but this brings to mind something that I think people need to realise.
CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS NEED TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT THE INTERNET!!!!
This has been something I get angry about that pops up from time, starting from around the time people in my year at school were insulting teachers on myspace, and then complaining when they found out that the teachers could see what they had written, and continuing to this day when I read about people who didn’t pay enough attention to privacy online. So now seems like a good time to rant about it. Here goes…..
It should go without saying that everything you put on the Internet (unless you specifically have great security measures – like the kind banks and such have) can easily be found by almost anyone. As such, common sense would dictate that you don’t put confidential information up on any website (i.e. Phone Numbers, Addresses, etc), and this is especially true of social networking sites, where nearly everyone can see what’s going on. This party is a perfect example of a public event being found on the pages of her friends (by people she probably didn’t know), and the chain being followed until everyone and their dog knows about it. It’s not even that hard to make an event private (invite only) – only ONE check box – and it doesn’t take too long to invite everyone. If you have time to plan a party, and write up an event on Facebook for it, you have time to invite everyone you want to come. And even if you do create a private event, don’t put your phone number or address on it, if you know the person, write it in a Private Message or E-mail – or better yet, tell them in person how to contact you!
This is an important issue, because not only do you get these kind of viral parties – which can cause personal and property damage up to the tens of thousands – but because not being careful about what you put on the Internet can be downright dangerous. If you publicise where you live – even if it’s just to Facebook – you are telling the world – everyone who doesn’t like you, every ‘enemy’ that you’ve ever made, and every jerk who thinks it might be fun to trash your yard.
So please, think about what you’re writing before you commit it to the Internet, and educate your children about responsible Internet use from an early age. Thanks.
Oh, and to all you jerks who created pages making jokes about this sort of thing, could you please stop? All you are being are a bunch of trolls and jerks, all of whom are ruining my hope that my generation can grow up into a mature, reasonable bunch of people – the kind whom society wouldn’t want to disown. Thanks.