Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our next topic of business (I know! I'm on a roll tonight!)

Is determining what is the threat to me?

Is it some creepy fifty-year-old man sitting in his basement trying to meet up with me?
Or is it some boy my age who lives five miles away from me who is a great sweet talker?

I think I'm going to pick the later of the two. Why? Because the second one is close enough to me in age, location, and interests that I feel safe. That is mistake number ONE. Suddenly I feel safe, so I open up to him (or her, whatever gender you want, I won't be biased), and now they know all about me. They know what I like, what I don't like, what school I go to, how old I am, what my interests are, and what I'm most likely to be doing that Friday night (uh-oh). So now I'm about to meet up with Mr. Emotionally Unstable Teenage Boy With Raging Hormones, hurrah! Safety first kiddos.
Mr. Emotionally Unstable Teenage Boy With Raging Hormones of course has a hidden agenda, who doesn't? And even IF (and often times that's a BIG if) he doesn't because I don't know everything about him there is bound to be something there that freaks me out, so now I feel unsafe. And that's what all these security measures are there for, to make ME the user feel safe, and cozy.
Because by the time I figure out that this person is crazy, scary, weird, whatever I don't like, it is WAAAAY too late. The cat's out of the bag folks.
So, I think that there needs to be a serious re-assessment of the real threat to users like me and even those NOT like me. Because by this time, TRUST ME, we all get that there are creepy old men out there who want to do bad bad things, and we know how to avoid them. But what we don't know how to do is avoid those people who we are peers with, and who make us feel or be unsafe.
We hormone filled teens can often be a threat to ourselves and others, and what we need is a way to protect us from our own instability. The Internet makes us too transparent, to a point where we end up ruining all of our friendships and safety mechanisms (put in place by our parents and others) because we don't know when the hell to shut up and stop telling people's big secrets.