Rule number one of the internet : Never talk about the internet.
Oh hang on.. Sorry. I was thinking of Fight Club there for a second.
The internet. It's a wonderful place, yes? Full of information and possibilities and people. Oh I know there are plenty of bots around, but people.. People make the internet a wonderful place to explore. It also makes it oh-so-dangerous.
Rule number one of the internet : Be sensible.
There's been a couple of stories on the news lately of teenage girls going missing after meeting up with people they've met on the internet. While it is a worrying thing - the internet isn't to blame. Specifically - facebook isn't to blame.
I've been on the internet for more than 10 years now, I'm healthy, (sort of) sane and pretty much in one piece. No, I didn't really have parental supervision when I started out - mostly because I sneaked on when my parents weren't looking. When they did realize I've been using the computer for things like chatting and surfing however, they told me one thing : be sensible. Don't give out personal information. Don't be an idiot.
I realize with things like facebook and myspace and friendster and hi5 and all those other social-networking sites, you do end up giving out personal information. Things like your name, and maybe place of work and/or school - but you really don't have to fill all the spaces provided. You can omit those details and no one is likely to complain. they can always message you if they need to contact you.
And yes, I know you can meet people on the internet. I, myself have been lucky enough to have met some really wonderful people. It's not likely I'll ever meet any of them, sure.. but I have received packages - expected and unexpected - from them. Gifts that I treasure and keep in a special place. And if I ever do decide to meet any of them.. Well I'm going to be sensible.
Is it too much if I say that it's common sense that if you're going to meet up with someone you have never met before, you go to a public place? Filled with people and preferably somewhere familiar to both parties. Go with other people, bring at least two or three friends along.. And for God's sake, don't go anywhere "private" with them! Not to a quiter place, and definitely not to their cars!
Yes, I know it was horrible that these girls went missing, and yes I suppose I am selfish for saying this. But I do hope those few idiots doesn't ruin the internet for everyone else.
Our government right now is at a place where they're likely to do anything to make sure they stay in the good graces of the public. And while many would be outraged at the possibility of over-policing the internet, I fear many more will cry out that certain sites just be banned outright.
Maybe netiquette should be made part of the curriculum in school.
Or better yet - teach common sense.
It seems that most of the problems in Indonesia could be solved with just a little bit of common sense. *sigh*