Internet Safety

Four different problems, four unique solutions.

Internet Safety and Chat Rooms


New guidelines for online chat rooms should be implemented to protect users from inappropriate content.

Online chat has been a part of the Internet since the days of AOL. It’s a fascinating tool for social interaction, but it also has a dark side. Diana Graber of the Huffington Post explained in her April 2015 article how “everything from a damaged reputation, exposure to inappropriate content” and even just “hurt feelings” are some of the major problems associated with online chat. (1) The Internet and online chat, however, are continuing to grow, and we need to find ways to keep this ever-changing social medium safe.

The Problems

To see why new guidelines are needed, we'll take a look at two online chat examples: Omegle and Minecraft.

Omegle is a website and app dedicated to chatting with random people online either through text or video. The Omegle system is dangerously anonymous, and according to Charlene Wilson of The Courier it can be “used to exchange images and sexual behaviors”. It is hard to avoid this, Wilson further explains, because “you have no control over who you chat to”, and the lack of control leaves users open to unwanted content. (2)

The second example, Minecraft, poses problems mainly because of the chat feature in its online servers. An article by Melissa Maypole, also of the Huffington Post, where she explains Minecraft from the perspective of a parent, mentions how the chat “brings into play all of the risks of any other social network such as cyber-bullying…[and] exposure to profanity”. (3) I personally have seen this issue as a player on multiple Minecraft online servers and have seen how harmful the adult language and ideas can be to younger players.

The Solution

The core of my proposed guidelines is that if a website or game features online chat there should be easily accessible options for making that chat safer provided by the creators.

Some sites and games, like Omegle, already fulfill some of these requirements. The problem with Omegle specifically, however, is that the options are provided in an obscure link in small text at the bottom of the page. The link would therefore need to be much more visible to pass the “easily accessible” requirement.

Other sites and games, like Minecraft, do not. Outside sources are available, such as the Military Spec Language Filter by slimshadeey1 that can “filter all commands and chat messages, and [watch] for specified words and even [execute] specific actions”. (4) Minecraft itself, however, does not come with a built in filter and no options are listed on their official website, therefore failing to meet the requirements of the guidelines.

Pictures of the above cases are displayed below this article.

The Benefits

By making online chat safer users will be able to reap the full benefits that it can offer.

Sites like Omegle can offer social interaction to those who struggle with it in person. In a paper by Amichai-Hamburger et. al. in 2002 about personalities and internet interactions, they came to the conclusion that “the social services provided on the Internet…provide an excellent answer to people who experience great difficulty in forming social contacts due to their introverted personality”. (5) Keeping chat rooms safe is crucial to allow these people to fulfill their social needs, a key component of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid we’ve seen before.

Games like Minecraft can offer a relaxing atmosphere to those stressed by daily life. In the article by Maypole mentioned earlier, she explains how her son “finds [Minecraft] relaxing…after a long day of school with…lots of rules and fabricated competition”. (3) A toxic chat room can turn a pleasant game into a stressful one if not regulated, and so it must be protected to ensure that relaxing atmosphere is maintained.

Written by Amanda Walker







Internet Safety and Identity Theft

The Overview

The use of credit cards on the Internet should be limited to reliable websites.

Imagine going to eat dinner somewhere and when it’s time for you to pay, you give your card to the waiter. The waiter comes back not with a receipt for you to sign, but with the unfortunate news that your card got declined. How embarrassing, right? You know you have plenty of money in the bank but when you check your account real quick, your balance says $0. You then realize that you have been a victim of credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud and identity theft affects hundreds of people every year around the world.

The Problem

The Bureau of Justice Statistics says that approximately 16.6 million United States residents ages 16 or older were victims of at least one identity theft incident in 2012.

My mother and I have personally experienced this firsthand. My mother’s credit card information has been stolen on two different occasions adding up to a complete total of over $1500. A while back, I received a phone call from a number that I did not recognize. When I answered, the machine on the other line said that my card has been stolen and asked me to give them my credit card information. After knowing what happened to my mother, I thought this was bizarre and hung up right away. I called my bank to ask if my card was really stolen and they told me that everything was fine on my account and that I was not the first person to be scammed like that.

The Solution

Instead of there being a number ways to purchase items online, there should only be one reliable and trusting way to buy anything and everything online.

While using cash is one solution, this still does not solve the identity theft problem using the Internet. There needs to be one site, like PayPal but safer and more secure, that every single online store is required to use to let their customers purchase their items. You will still go to store specific websites to browse, but you will have to go to the “purchasing site” in order to actually pay for that item. The “purchasing site” would have every single shopping site and every single inventory item listed for you to choose from.

The Benefits

This would help solve identity theft and credit card fraud problems all over the world.

Online shopping is already risky, and this would lower that risk. With this purchasing site, people will no longer be entering their card information into a number of websites over the many years of online shopping. However, the world is getting smarter and smarter every day, and someone could eventually hack into this site. If someone does hack into the site though and does end up stealing someone’s identity, the victim will be 100% sure where and when their information was stolen because of the fact that they only use one site for online shopping.

Written by Kennedy Barron


Internet Safety and Cyberbullying

The Overview

38% of frequent bullied-victims reported suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt during the past year.

Chances are we can all recall experiences involving bullying whether we were the perpetrator, the victim, or a bystander. More recently, "cyberbullying" has taken prevalence in the lives of teens and young adults. Cyberbullying is when a child or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, or embarrassed by another child or teen using the internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. Victims often experience a loss of acceptance, loneliness, social isolation, depression, and an increased risk of suicide.

The Problem

Over 50% of teens have experienced cyberbullying.

Our increasingly connected world has created another platform for bullies to harass their victims, they are no longer confined to picking on other kids on the school playground; today, many opt for around the clock bashing via email, social media, instant messaging and other online platforms. Cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying because people can use the disguise of "anonymity" to harass their victims. So these bullys are free to harass without any repercussions hiding behind false identities. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying can be done at anytime of the day out of the eyes of authority figures, it is not limited to playgrounds and street corners anymore, making it that much more harmful. Bullying often time occurs when these individuals don’t know how to deal with problems that have arisen in their own life. And sometimes they feel uncomfortable with someone who is different. Bullies often wish to expose the weaknesses of others as a way to avoid their own weaknesses. Cyberbullying often times is more common in adolescents because of the transitional period in life they are going through, due to hormonal and physical changes.

The Solution

Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying.

The most fundamental way of dealing with cyberbullying is to prevent it in the first place and implement policies that keep individuals safe. Bullying, at any age can have devastating and long-lasting effects on individual’s lives but with the implementation of laws and policies we can dramatically cut down on the prevalence of cyberbullying. Esafety policies are important because they teach students techniques such as blocking bullying behavior online and creating a panic button for cyber victims to use when they feel threatened. States, such as Illinois, have taken steps toward implementing policies that ban cyberbullying in the home and in school.

The Benefits

Actions against cyberbullying should be part of a much wider concern; the creation of an environment where relationships are valued and conflicts are seen to be resolved in the spirit of justice and fairness.

The benefits of providing laws against cyberbullying are endless. First and foremost laws banning cyberbullying can benefit a child’s learning experience and quality of education. Policies can instigate change through chipping away at the root causes of bullying and make it a less desirable action through punitive measures taken with each offense.

Written By: Tennessen Crawford

Works Cited:

"Bullying, Cyberbullying & Suicide Statistics." Megan Meier Foundation. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Chu, Elbert. "Should Cyberbullying Be a Crime?" Schoolbook. New York Public Radio, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015

"Cyber Bullying Statistics 2014." NoBullyingBullying Cyber Bullying Resources Advice. 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

Cowie, Helen. "Cyberbullying and Its Impact on Youg People's Emotional Health and Well-being." 37 (2013): 167-70. The Psychiatrist. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Daniel, Rae. "New Illinois Law Will Ban Cyber Bullying outside the Classroom in 2015." New Illinois Law Will Ban Cyber Bullying outside the Classroom I. KFVS, 19 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"How Effective Are Anti-Bullying School Policies?" NoBullyingBullying Cyber Bullying Resources Advice. NOBULLYING.COM, 22 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

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Cyber Bullying - Lets fight it Together

Internet Safety and Illegal Downloading

The Overview

Over 80% of the U.S. has downloaded an illegal copy of a video or song in their life. Out of those over 40% of their music libraries were completely illegally downloaded According to Jason at Daily Tech.

Illegal Downloading has been around since the early 90’s but didn’t get big until June 1999 when the rise of Napster came. It is free to download music and movies but has some serious risk behind it. Through websites like LimeWire, Pirates Bay, and N1 Convertor millions of songs are downloaded per day. These websites use different methods of getting the file from the inner web the computer. LimeWire can download music straight to its program, Pirates bay downloads to a separate torrent program, and N1 is as simple as downloading it to you browser.

The Problem

Many people don’t see the dangers or consequences in front of them till it happens.

When downloading this free content people don’t think of the effect it may have on the people that are working their tails off to produce the entertainment that we all love. At the same time they don’t even think of the consequences for themselves like legal action or even having their identity stolen. The consequences for illegal downloading music and being caught by RIAA the Recording Industry Association Of America is starting off at 750 dollars a song According to Pigeons and Planes online article. The hidden dangers are what I am most worried about in illegal downloading, did you ever think you could have your identity stolen or your bank account wiped clean. Well it is possible because the number one spread of viruses, malware, and spyware spread is through illegal downloading According to Norton’s Symantec.

The Solution

Federal Trade commission said last year alone there was over 9.9 million people in the U.S. that were victims of Identity Theft according to Find Law.

Illegal Downloading is not just a problem hurting Hollywood and the music industries earn money, it is hurting millions of U.S. citizens. It is a problem that is longer overdue to be stopped. I am proposing a policy that will make all peer to peer sharing illegal. The peer-to-peer sharing is the downloading used by programs like LimeWire, Pirates Bay, and N1 Convertor. Anyone running one of these websites will be fined unless taken down immediately and the policy will also ban any foreign websites of this kind.

The Benefits

This Policy will help benefit not only benefit the entertainment industry but also us the people.

There is so many ways that this policy will benefit society. The policy will first of all cut down the illegal downloads by more than 75% in the U.S. alone. When doing this is will help the big movie and music companies make the money they deserve. The people of the U.S. will not be getting fined anymore because of these programs being gone they wont be able to easily pirate music anymore. Lastly your biggest benefit from this policy is an end a lot of the passing of malware, viruses, and especially the spyware that can cause identity theft.

Written By: Kennedy Clause

Works Cited:

Mick, Jason, M. "DailyTech - Nearly Half of Americans Pirate Casually, But Pirates

Purchase More Legal Content." DailyTech - Nearly Half of Americans Pirate

Casually, But Pirates Purchase More Legal Content. N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web.

24 Apr. 2015.

"The Dangers of Illegally Downloading MP3s and Films." RSS. Find Law, 14 December.

2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Mick, Jason, M. "DailyTech - Nearly Half of Americans Pirate Casually, But

Pirates Purchase More Legal Content." DailyTech - Nearly Half of

Americans Pirate Casually, But Pirates Purchase More Legal Content.

N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

"10 Things You Should Know About Illegally Downloading Music." Pigeons Planes

RSS. N.p., 08 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Music Piracy- Why illegally downloading music is wrong