[Note: this is to be read in the voice of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone]
You unlock this door with the click of a button. Beyond this portal in the shape of an “e,” a compass, a fox or a circle of primary colors, is another dimension. A dimension of information, a dimension of sound, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a world of both entertainment and ideas, an invisible world right at your fingertips. You have just crossed over into… The Internet.
Take, if you will, the case of a university in Winona, Minnesota. Where young minds go to grow and develop, a place where the students can finally experience freedom and independence. As we move forward in to this modern and constantly developing world, we will find that the world is rapidly shrinking. Through the laptop program offered by the school, every student on campus is provided with a computer on which all students move through the modern, digital society in which they live. The students are developing their own new, cyber identities within the increasingly connected world.
With a click of the mouse, they can find themselves connected to a community of people from around the world. Face to face interactions can be held with people from around the world, new, undiscovered information can be found easily and messages can be sent to even the most remote parts of the globe within seconds. Little did they know however, that their freedom would come at a price when they find themselves stumbling into … The Internet.
Threat of hackers and other cybercriminals, frauds and scams, identity theft and copyright infringement constantly plague these young students. The internet provides a wonderful opportunity for learning and developing, however it is important that these kids avoid the dangers and pitfalls commonly found.
How you say?
Here in this time, the internet is a community of people, just as the students are a part of the WSU community. Just as they do in their daily lives, students must protect themselves when surfing the internet.
They must keep an eye out for suspicious activities, be careful about sharing their personal information like credit card and social security numbers and be watchful of the people or organizations that they give this information to. They must also be cautious against clinking on suspicious links or downloading files, that may invite the installation of malware on their computers.
When the dangers and pitfalls are avoided, students like those of Winona State can find themselves successfully becoming apart of this new and expanding culture. This exciting, modern world continues to rapidly become more advanced with the passing of every day, more is yet to come as we continue to stumble deeper into… The Internet.