An Infinite Regression

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Should your parents be able to follow you online? – Week Five Lecture Work

An interesting point someone made in last weeks lecture was the concept of cyber parenting; your parents following your online activities. The internet is a place that the parents of our generation (generation Y) never grew up with and can be a little skeptical and unsure of how it works and the people who frequent it. It is not uncommon for parents of children to have their home computer in a common room in their house such as a lounge or media room. Some parents may even use the services of many “nanny programs” that track online history and flag or block certain sites that may be deemed detrimental to their child. These sites are usually the general pornographic and illegal material but can also be extended to social networking sites or online games that are played with other people (i.e. Runescape, EVE, etc).

However there is a great video of what’s been termed ‘Facebook Parenting’ which is mainly when parents will add their child as a friend on Facebook in order to keep up with their lives. The video (Link) shows a father of a teenage girl who has complained about her parents on Facebook, however they catch wind and in return her father makes a video about it and posts it on her Facebook. It’s a little bit more exciting than that but I’ll let you see that in the video. It’s also interesting to see the response of teenagers on this topic as well (Link).

The idea of your parents being able to follow your movements via Facebook is a touchy subject with a lot of youths, however they can only see what the user decide to show them.

It’s a bit of a touchy subject with a lot of fine lines and thin ice surrounding it. But the issue is mostly up for argument within family circles, as each family is different in how they police their child’s online usage.

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How I communicate with the outside world via technology (or Tutorial task 2)

So this weeks tutorial task got us to look at how we communicate online with others, whether it be friends or family.

To me, I do a lot of my socialising online through Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter and Tumblr, as well as through Skype. Before Facebook we used MySpace, and before that Bebo, and before that we actually spoke to one another. Not to say that I don’t actually speak to anybody anymore, I’m more saying that now that most of the people I know use these online social networking sites I find it easier to communicate with them. These social mediums have essentially cut out the need to actually speak to someone face to face. Gone are the days of leaving school and not seeing your friends until the next day. Nowadays when you go home your friends come home with you as well.

So to answer our first pre-determined question; I’ve been using online social networking tools for around 5 years, longer if you count the days of talking to my friends via the chat function of whatever popular online game we were playing in Primary School.  As for what influenced me to start using them? I’d have to say simply because my friends did. If I wanted to stay up-to-date with how my friends were talking with one another I would have to use whatever social tool they were using at the time (which explains my use of Bebo and MySpace *shudder*).

My concerns for my own privacy on these online networking sites are pretty low. I’ve read a lot on how Facebook tracks your browsing data and saves your personal information and have come to terms with how it is. I’ve accepted the fact that Facebook does this and it doesn’t bother me THAT much. You can control fairly easily the information that you share on Facebook so it’s simple to control what is and isn’t shared with the outside world. And if you’re extremely privacy conscious then you simply don’t have to sign up. Simply put; Facebook tracking and sharing your information is going to happen, you just have to accept it and not put anything on there that you wouldn’t want shared with the outside world.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Facebook (and Google) is in the right here. I do think that it is a breach of privacy for these websites to be able to track you across the web. Any website you visit that has a “Like on Facebook” or “Share this on Facebook” button is stored on the Facebook database as a site you have visited. Your entire browsing history saved without your control. Granted that only happens if you leave your Facebook signed in permanently like I do, because I’m lazy. However we sign away our privacy rights as soon as we accept the Terms & Conditions of Facebook.

As for people that I solely know via the internet, I actually have quite a few. Many of which I’ve known for years and talk to quite regularly. Most of them I know on varying different levels. I’ve got a friend who in Canada who I email every now and then who runs a potato farm, a friend in Singapore who is midway through his conscripted military service in the police, an aspiring entrepreneur from Holland, an art student from New York as well as various others from all walks of life. I find that I talk to some of these people less than I do my normal friends, but when I do we have far more meaningful conversations, somewhat like old friends catching up. We might exchange photos of our families or a recent holiday that we went on, that sort of stuff. I find that my conversations with them are richer in quality but lacking in quantity.