ODT on Cybersafety

August 2nd, 2008 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

The ODT has a useful editorial on the issue of cybersafety:

Arguably, no single innovation has changed the shape of modern life quite as much.

The Internet is one of the most remarkable “inventions” of our times.

It has altered utterly the possibilities for, and nature of, communication, that most basic of human interactions.

And it has changed it at all levels of society: in academia, in the military, in business, in politics, in finance, in the media, and in education.

Few, if any, realms of endeavour are untouched by it.

I try to think sometimes if any other invention has changed the world as much as the Internet. Maybe fire? Or the printing press?

Both major political parties, Labour and National, appear to see it as critical to economic growth and international competitiveness.

Indeed, but with somewhat different approaches.

But like any new technology, especially one so ubiquitous in its applications, it brings with it a host of “issues”.

Many of these arise in the social arena, a fact underlined by the Queenstown conference: “Cybercitizens: Risks, Rights and Responsibilities of Participation in the Information Age”.

Cyberbullying, cybersafety, social networking, child pornography and online grooming were all officially or unofficially on the agenda.

is to be congratulated for raising awareness of attendant Internet “problems”, many of which are becoming all too real: a conference report in this newspaper on Thursday canvassed the matter of “complicit victims” – children as young as 12 actively seeking sexual contact with adults on the Internet with little idea of the consequences of their actions.

Netsafe do a wonderful job in this area, and unlike some other bodies have a very balanced approach.

Research in the United States showed 55% of people valued their online communities as much as their offline – or real-life – interactions.

Shocking though this may seem, it is fast becoming a reality that an older less “wired” generation must learn to accept, while helping to devise safeguards that will assist their children to negotiate the vast repository of unsuitable, potentially damaging, or downright dangerous material that is perennially a mouse click or two away.

All the best advice appears to be that imposing blanket bans is ineffective and counterproductive.

They are indeed both ineffective and often counterproductive.

Because, like it or not, the Internet is now part of the fabric of all our lives.

It has changed the nature of communication, and it is changing the nature of society.

Indeed. How did we survive before blogs? :-)

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10 Responses to “ODT on Cybersafety”

  1. ghostwhowalks2 (126 comments) says:

    I try to think sometimes if any other invention has changed the world as much as the Internet ?

    Changed the world ? Hardly. Are peoples lives enhanced or longevity improved. ?

    I think the credit card is miles ahead of the internet and clean fresh water along with waste disposal would be the clear leaders.
    But this morning the heat pump seems a good technology improvement to my life.

    PS its the fibre optics that have made the internet a lost cost technology

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  2. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    The lever.

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  3. berend (1,634 comments) says:

    DPF: I try to think sometimes if any other invention has changed the world as much as the Internet.

    The car has. It has radically transformed the world from where only the rich could travel and go on holiday, to where everyone can travel and see things. Remember that only 100 years ago most people never traveled more than 6 miles outside where they were born.

    And the phone would have. Unfortunately the government got in early, so the phone became too expensive to use too much. Only after the governments got out, did the price drop sufficiently for people to call anyone all over the world for just 2 cents a minute.

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    I try to think sometimes if any other invention has changed the world as much as the Internet. Maybe fire? Or the printing press?

    Fire was a discovery.

    My money is on the plough. Civilisation itself flowed from that idea (I recognise of course, Lee C, that the plough is a lever, so you might have something there :-) ).

    From the plough grew settled villages … agriculture yielding food beyond that needed for the farmer and his family … surplus … specialisation … wealth … war.

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  5. ghostwhowalks2 (126 comments) says:

    For bloggers the internet is the best invention EVER

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  6. PhilBest (5,117 comments) says:

    “NetSafe” is a classic example of the free market providing something on the basis of choice, that nanny state might have wanted to impose on all otherwise……….

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  7. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Good stuff eh!

    Two questions though.
    1. Did the barcode have as big an effect on our lives?
    2. when was the internet first conceived? (If that’s too hard, the barcode date of envisionment will do)

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  8. stayathomemum (140 comments) says:

    The wheel must be up there with the internet!

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  9. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The printing press by a frickin’ MILE! Allowed widespread access to knowledge, thus allowing us to build on the knowledge gained by others, as opposed to relying on memory or extremely expensive hand written books/manuscripts.

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  10. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    The latte? Neo-Marxism? Sorry, I didn’t mean to join those two together.

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