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wingspan • october 26, 2009

Internet use grows, so do safety concerns

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Michael Turlington Feature Writer


Internet causes communication change man said. “I love that you can keep up with people that have already graduated. I’m graduating early, so it’s going to help me keep in touch with people.” Along with the advances in communication, the increase of time and money spent on these networking sites is notable. According to a report from The Nielson Company, 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet was spent at social networking sites in August 2009, up from 6 percent in August 2008. In addition, the estimated online advertisement spending on these top social networks increased 199 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to more than $108 million in August 2009. “I usually spend up to an hour a day on Facebook,” Freeman said. “If I have nothing to do, I can easily spend up to two hours on it. If I haven’t been on in awhile, I have updates or people have posted new comments.” For students, there is a dark side to social networking that many aren’t aware of. In a new survey, 10 percent of admissions officers from prestigious schools said they had peeked at sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate college-bound seniors. Of those using the profiles, 38 percent said it had a “negative impact” on the applicant, according to Kaplan Inc., the education services company that polled the officers. “I’m strongly against students putting anything their parents would not want to see on their Facebook or Myspace. Every college has an investigator that looks on students’ profiles to see if there is inappropriate material,” Shannon Auten, senior counselor, said.

Ashley Roy Feature Editor


emember snail mail? Remember the bitter taste of glue and the paper-cut lip from sealing the envelope? How about waiting weeks for a response to your inquiries? Instead of writing letters to grandma, high school students are Facebooking her to wish her happy birthday or “tweeting” to ask her if she will buy a magazine to help pay for prom. “I usually send my grandma a message on Facebook about once a week,” freshman Jeri Owens said. “We talk about school, soccer and grades. I used to write to her when I was little, but it’s easier to just send her a message online.” With little fanfare, written communication has gone digital. In 1998, online social networking began with Xanga. For the first time, a person could create a page layout, comment on a blog and upload a few pictures for a personalized profile to share with friends. Like all trends do, the Xanga phase evolved into Myspace. New add-ons were available that made “getting to know someone” much more convenient. Myspace has since evolved into Facebook and Twitter, creating almost immediate connections with the world. Teachers, parents and students alike have accepted these sites as the primary way to communicate. “I heard about Myspace around 2004 when it first came out. It was the fad thing; everyone was doing it,” senior Brooke Free-

Even simple searches can bring up unwanted material. At West, a smart filter prevents most of these pictures from orld Wide Web. Facebook. coming up. “We subscribe to a software that proAntivirus. Cyberspace. You- Tube. If a person had spoken tects our school’s computers,” King said. these words 40 years ago, listeners would “If you Google something that is inappropriate, you get that smart filter. Things have looked at him like he was crazy. Now these words are common- that get blocked may not be dangerous, place and used every day because of the but they have links to them which will Internet. The Internet has opened up send kids to what are deemed as inapprolots of new possibilities, but it has also priate sites.” Filters can be downloaded to home opened up a new world that people with computers as well so that parents can the wrong motives can abuse. “If the Internet is used correctly, it is control the websites that their children phenomenal, but if it is used incorrectly, go to. “It is important to have a filter on it can be abominable,” Tom King, West’s your home computer. So many dangerous pictures can pop up when you are media center coordinator, said. Online predators are some of the on the Internet that you didn’t intend to worst abusers of the Internet. Social see,” sophomore Charlie Huynh said. networks, such as Myspace, are some of “It is good to have a filter that can block those pictures and webthe places that predasites from coming up.” tors can target children. A young person Another problem that Because of the almost is rampant on the Internet immediate exchange of might think is identity theft. With so information, it is easy to that he or she is many account numbers contact teenagers and on the Internet and so initiate conversations. getting a strong many people handling “The Internet is a relationship. these numbers, it has tool for communication. made it easier for a perWhat someone We can find out intimate son’s identity to be stolen. details about somebody may want to do “Personal informaat lightning speed, real is prey on that tion gets installed into time. I can video myself programs on the Internet right now and you can child. like it never used to,” King see me across the world Tom King said. “Your social security almost immediately media center coordinator number, account numwith very little lag time,” bers and account codes King said. are all over the Internet According to the N.C. Department of Justice, online preda- and the world, and the right person with tors can take months of online conversa- the right tools and attitude can steal your tion to win a child’s confidence. Would- personal information. With so many be predators get information off a child’s people handling so many bits of data, it Facebook or Myspace page and use the is easy for someone that is unscrupulous information to try to get the child to trust to manipulate and steal your personal inthem and feel like they are safe. Children formation.” Computer viruses, often sent in the feel like the Internet is a secure place, so they tell more about themselves than they form of emails, can take over computers and make them unusable. Antivirus prousually would in a face-to-face meeting. “A young person might think that grams can help protect computers from he or she is getting a strong relationship, this danger. “It is always better to have protection someone who is on their side or someone who understands them. What that person from computer viruses, even if it costs may want to do is prey on that child just money, than to have no protection at all,” Huynh said. “It can pay you back in the for their own benefit,” King said. The Internet has not only made it future if you are able to block viruses from easier for online predators, it has also affecting your computer. It also saves you made it easier for inappropriate pictures from having to stop using your computer and other undesirable content to spread. if it gets a virus.”

40 years of creating Internet connections 1965-66


Larry G. Roberts creates the first functioning long-distance computer network and designs advanced research Projects Agency Network. The Internet we know today grew from this.

March 1993

The Transmission Control Protocol, what moves data on the modern Internet, is created. The men who created this system, Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf, are the men usually credited with the “invention of the Internet.”

The World Wide Web (an application of the Internet) is invented by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailiau. In 1991 Lee wrote the first web browser called WorldWideWeb. This first version of web browsing did not support graphics.

The most common browser used today is released: Microsoft Internet Explorer. In November 1995 Internet Explorer 2.0 was released as the first browser to be supported by both Windows and Macintosh.


August 1995

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January 2004

NCSA Mosaic, created by Marc Andreessen, Jamie Zawinski and others, was released. This was the first web browser that became popular with the public. NCSA Mosaic eventually went on to become the web browser Netscape.

February 2005

Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe co-found Myspace, the popular social networking site. A little over a year later Anderson sold Myspace to News Corp. for $580 million.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg as a spin-off of Harvard University’s own network. Facemash. In 2008 three of Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates accused him of ripping off the idea that all four came up with together.

YouTube was founded by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim as a way to upload, share and watch personal videos. YouTube was sold to Google in October 2006 for $1.65 billion.

Twitter is launched by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stones. The purpose is to ‘tweet’ your current status or activities for other people to see.

February 2004

April 2006

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Ashley Roy Feature Editor A young person might think that he or she is getting a strong relationship. What someone may want to do is prey on...