27 February 2006

Identity Theft

So, we're all familiar with the term "Identity Theft" and assume it's always about someone trying to steal someone else's name and information for fraud; well I have another take on it.

Naturally, I spend a lot of time on the Net. I'm either searching for information, posting something, reading something, banking, or what have you. But at any rate, I'm pretty much always on the Net. What I've noticed lately will either shock, upset, or annoy you. Myspace.com and maybe similar type sites are allowing children to set up accounts and communicate with other teens and friends online. Now, to many this might seem like a harmless thing, but it's not. In fact, it's rather dangerous and risky. I'll explain.

The identity of the child is for the most part posted; however, do we really know if the child is 17 as they've posted or 13? Do we know that the alleged 15 y/o boy with a supporting photo is really 15 or 45? The answer to both questions is no; therefore, identify theft. The posters on these sites are stealing identities (by creation) and basically soliciting themselves online. In addition, their new ID is often quite different from the one their parents know. Again ID theft. They've stolen their original IDs (how they present themselves at home) and posted new ones; sometimes ones that you wouldn't even know was your child. While many gasp and shake their heads at a childs sneaking ability to create these pages, think about the company that allows this to happen with. Think about how easy it is for children to create hotmail, gmail, or yahoo accounts so their parents won't know they have an additional email addreses. Typically and unsupervised and unrestricted one. Parents, mentors, aunts, uncles, sisters, and brothers; even teachers, this is a frightening phenomena.

People, the Net is a haven for disaster when misappropriately used (as it often is) and we need to start taking a stand to better protect our children. Aside from the obvious as I initially stated, the Net is a grand scale ID theft circuit. Our children are being sucked in by what they think is a harmless activity. They;re relinquishing their known personalities and identities to be people they're not and they're posting pictures of themselves, making new friends, and often ignoring the teaching of their parents about online security. It terrifies me to think and know what's taking place in the world wide web and I'll be establishing my own Homeland Security. Maybe you should too.

6 comments:

BlaqRayne said...

It's sad that a great tool such as the Net is used for so much harm. I've seen a lifetime movie that served as a warning to teens about protecting themselves online. However, this issue does not grasp the spotlight. People need to be proactive about this because it's really something that is beyond parental controls. Like you said, it's so easy to create a secret email address and with Internet services such as cable which uses IE or Firefox browsers, it's nearly impossible to invoke parental controls. Yes, we can see where they've been but we can't physically prevent them from doing it again. Let's face it, no parent can trust their child to always do the right thing and not succumb to doing the "IN" thing to do. And in most cases, that's simply because they do not understand the dangers of it. They know the dangers of drinking and driving because they've seen proof of it, but the dangers of posting your picture and meeting people online does not get that level of exposure that it should. I urge people like Microsoft and Mozilla to start implementing parental control features. This is one scenario, where it definitely takes a village to raise a child.

BluJewel said...

Thank you for this comment. It does draw to light a problem that has reached epic proportions and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the Net is a tool many of us have become dependent on with its many positive uses, but when it's NOT used for the greater good, we all suffer. Agrred, we all need to take a proactive role in child rearing and also take the time to share time with a child. If they are the future, then we need to ensure that they'll actually get there.

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