If it’s on the Internet it must be…
True? If you think about it, we all have the ability to ‘break the news’ of the latest event. There is no reason to fact check. This is how hoaxes are propagated. “Going viral’ has become a mainstay of our digital jargon. This is also how rumors and bullying starts.
Free? Just because there is a link, app, picture, movie, book or music does not necessarily make it free. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), enacted in 1998, protects the digital rights of copyrighted material. Make sure you know copyright before using these mediums. If in doubt about the legality of reuse, don’t use it. Many will use jail broken devices and install software that will allow access to other media.
Safe? The Internet space is rife with malware, viruses and cyber crime. Websites may use your browsing history and target you through unwanted ads and pop-ups. Clicking on a seemingly innocent ad can result in clickjacking. A website can harness your computer’s CPU power for the purpose of cryptomining. Or perhaps redirect you to a fake login site that will hijack your credentials.
Cheaper? There is no denying that online shopping is a convenience for consumers. But consider all the costs before clicking on the ‘check out’ button. Are there shipping costs? Is this the exact item that you have inspected in person? What are the return policies? How long will shipping take? Is the vendor a known and trusted source? Is a secure check out method provided?
Here’s a really good example of Internet illusions: There is a famous rock overlooking the ocean in Brazil where many people have taken pictures that appear to show them in death defying positions on the overhanging bolder. One slip and they will surely plunge deep into the depth of the ocean in the background. But is it really all it appears to be? Take a look at the story here.
Make sure to do some fact checking. Read reviews of products and the fine print before purchasing. When searching for images or clip art on the web, check for reuse permissions. A good resource is Google’s image search and then select tools where you find a drop down box for Usage Rights.