It was 21 years ago this month that I first connected to the World Wide Web. Does anyone still call it that? More commonly these days it’s just the web or the internet, or simply online. In 2016, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without it.
As a freelance writer and journalist who works almost exclusively from a home office, my online connection is my very life. But for those of you who are not yet at the point of needing a 12 step program to help you deal with internet addiction, I should warn you in case you didn’t already know, the online world can be very scary at times.
Rule number one, don’t ever believe everything you read, and rule number two, don’t voluntarily turn over personal information to a website that you’re not familiar with.
Then there’s the strange phenom of false news, particularly phony death stories about some of your favourite celebs. Did you know that Betty White is no longer with us? When I first saw a link to that, I didn’t find it particularly strange. After all Betty is 93, and she had a wonderful life. I’m pleased to say, she’s very much alive and still having a wonderful life.
When people clicked on the headline about Betty’s death, they were taken to a pitch for a weight loss product, or maybe a place where they could buy a complete box set of The Golden Girls. If you were foolish enough to try and order anything and gave your credit card info, you might quickly end up in big trouble.
A lot of these phony sites and links are designed to generate page clicks, because there are some places apparently, including Google, which pay a few cents for every click.
What about those folks who offer to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars if you’re good to work part-time from home, filling out surveys?
Don’t believe it for a minute.
Be very careful out there in the cyber world.
I’m Roger Currie