I just saw a heartbreaking news bulletin about teen suicides as a result of cyber bullying on Ask.fm.
It got me thinking about the ongoing discussion on privacy, safety and security online. There seems to be three camps of opinions:
- The solution is in our own hands. Education and understanding of the media is the way forward.
- The government should create boundaries with legislation.
- The social networks themselves are responsible and should act accordingly.
I personally lean towards No. 1: Education
…but what we, as digital professionals, tend to forget is that the vast majority of the population are nowhere near our level of understanding of the digital world.
Educating the entire population will take time, a lot of time, possible a generation or two. It is not an instant solution.
What about No. 2: Government control?
I didn’t pass the bar, but talking to people in the digital industry, my feeling is that laws can do very little due to the international nature of the Internet and therefore the companies that operate within.
Besides, what can politicians, let alone lawyers, do with companies bigger than most countries?
No 3: The companies must sort out their act
Companies need to be responsible for their social networks, they need to act ethical, they need to prevent bad things from happening on their sites.
It sounds fair. However, this is based on the assumption that The companies have it within their power to do something. To this I will offer this somewhat scary alternative: What if they are powerless or don’t know what to do?
As a species we are adjusting to this new digital layer that has become such a big part of our environment so incredibly fast.
This is applies to us as users, customers, professionals and companies.
The scary truth is there is no instant solution, we all have to do what we can to adapt and hopefully help others along the way.