The internet can be a valuable source of information, entertainment, and socialization. In fact, the internet can virtually open the doors to all possibilities. However, there are also certain computer risks that come along with connecting your computer to the internet. Here are some of the hidden internet dangers that could affect your family.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Exposing Children to Inappropriate Material
Most parents are already aware of the computer risk that walks hand in hand with the internet – the risk that their child will stumble upon something inappropriate. It is difficult to regulate the Internet, and children can easily find inappropriate material even from seemingly innocent keyword searches. Filtering programs can only go so far to protect children, and may have their own hidden agenda.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Invasion of privacy
Another risk that comes along when hooking your computer up to the internet is the risk that you or your child will be hurt or exploited. Any information that is posted online should be considered public information, and giving away personal information could place you identity and your security at risk. Children are particularly at risk for believing everything they read online, making them a high risk contender of child predators and scammers that could be looking to steal their identity or worse.
A subset of this is the “stranger danger” that is present to all children online. Online predators may attempt to establish a relationship with a child, earning their trust. Besides the risk of identity fraud, some predators may take it as far as trying to stalk the child. Public chat rooms are particularly dangerous to children who may not know who they are talking to.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Copyright Infringement, Plagiarism, and Cheating
When articles, pictures, and other information are posted online, they remain the intellectual property of someone else. However, this is hard to police, and many people, children and adults included, think nothing of stealing someone else’s work online. The internet has created new ways for people to cheat, from offering already written term papers to the posting of answers to quizzes and other homework. Thankfully, while the Internet can make cheating easier to do, it can also make it easier for teachers to check if their students are cheating.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Faulty Information
Since the information online is in no way policed, there is no real way to tell whether the information you are receiving is accurate. In some cases, if you trust the source, you can obtain accurate information from the internet. In many other cases, however, there is no way to tell how accurate the information is, and in some cases it may be entirely someone’s opinion or falsified statistics. Anyone can publish information on the Internet, regardless of whether or not they are an expert in the subject.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Hackers
Hackers are individuals with knowledge in how to find and use weaknesses in computer software to their advantage. In some cases the activities may be minor, but in other cases hackers can spread viruses and steal personal information. The techniques utilized by hackers are growing increasingly difficult to defend, as evident in the growing number of victims.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Malicious code
Sadly, the internet is full of viruses, worms, and other malicious codes that can harm your computer and steal your information. Viruses are infections that come from a specific activity you have done, such as opening an email from an unknown source or downloading an attachment. Worms can enter the system on their own, and then spread from your computer to any others you are in contact with. Trojan Horses are designed to look like one thing, yet have a hidden agenda that it runs in the background and steals information.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Time management
While this computer risk may not be as severe as others that come from hooking your computer up to the internet, time management presents a major problem for children and adults alike. In fact, there are now many rehabilitation centers which specialize specifically in Internet addiction.
The Risks of Connecting a Computer to the Internet – Health
You might not think that hooking your computer up to the internet would present health risks, but it can. Most commonly, heavy internet users suffer from repetitive strain injuries, eyestrain, and skeletal problems. The arm and wrist is the most common spot for repetitive strain industries, particularly on the side that uses the mouse. Posture problems are also common. And since electronic displays are harder to read than printed words, long term computer use can also lead to eyestrain. In extreme cases, it is even thought that overuse of the Internet could cause depression as some users try to replace normal human interaction with email and instant messaging.
There are numerous risks associated with connecting your computer to the internet. However, the more aware you are of these risks, the easier it is for you to avoid them.