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Hiding behind the screen

Posted By Wendy Ma On April 14, 2011 @ 11:49 pm In Features | Comments Disabled

Ever-accelerating technological advances have made websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Formspring, and Twitter increasingly accessible. However, only a few people claim to partake in all of these hip online networking experiences.
One of these technological fiends, Sophomore Alanna Milshtein, has every networking account imaginable—from Formspring to ooVoo.
Most South students are like Milshtein, having countless internet social networking accounts, each of which represents a different way to interact with the world.
The average South student spends roughly two hours per day on social networking sites. Many students, including Milshtein, do not realize the potential harm of these accounts.
Milshtein believes, however, that social networking sites are harmless and argues that “people are not skeptical on the Internet!”
To prove her point, Milshtein created a fake Facebook account. Her fake identity, Steven Li (a “freshman at Newton South High School”), had just moved to Newton from Chicago.
“After creating the profile I friended a bunch of people and they all accepted thinking went to the same school!” Milshtein said.
After a week, Steven Li had about 183 friends and chatted with five people about various things relating to school.
“This is a prime example of how some students at Newton South are just not cautious enough online,” Milshtein said.
“But the internet acts like a mask, which allows students to become someone else.”
It is a place of true anonymity.
A popular site called Omegle lets strangers talk to other strangers.
”On Omegle, you can be anyone you want to be,” Milshtein said. “I have chatted with many people using fake identities in the past.”
Role Playing Game (RPG) sites like omgpop, World of Warcraft, and Gaia Online are also very popular among teens.
They require a person to embody a new identity to compete in the game. Blizzard, a popular RPG gaming industry, has become a lucrative market by creating social networking websites that depend on pseudo personas interacting to compete at various games
This masking of true identity makes social networking popular.
Anonymity, however, is a double-edged sword.
“Being anonymous makes it easier to bully people because the bullies don’t worry about getting caught,” Milshtein said.
This social networking period of the Internet age has people putting more trust online than ever before.
“Many students think that by going online, they can be someone else,” Milshtein said. “I am way more confident online than otherwise.”
Formspring, honesty box, and other applications that allow anyone to ask or give comments anonymously have been popular.
Students at South seem interested in both giving and receiving feedback about themselves. However, many students receive hurtful comments.
“When honesty box first came out, I was excited because I thought people would be telling people that they liked each other and giving compliments,” Milshtein said. “In reality, I would get messages saying ‘you’re fat’ or ‘you’re so annoying, you have no friends;’ and then I began hating honesty box.”
Although teens love the Internet, it has downsides. Being cautious about people you interact with online is necessary, because the person behind that cyber screen could be anyone.

Ever-accelerating technological advances have made websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Formspring, and Twitter increasingly accessible. However, only a few people claim to partake in all of these hip online networking experiences. One of these technological fiends, Sophomore Alanna Milshtein, has every networking account imaginable—from Formspring to ooVoo. Most South students are like Milshtein, having countless internet social networking accounts, each of which represents a different way to interact with the world. The average South student spends roughly two hours per day on social networking sites. Many students, including Milshtein, do not realize the potential harm of these accounts. Milshtein believes, however, that social networking sites are harmless and argues that “people are not skeptical on the Internet!”  To prove her point, Milshtein created a fake Facebook account. Her fake identity, Steven Li (a “freshman at Newton South High School”), had just moved to Newton from Chicago. “After creating the profile I friended a bunch of people and they all accepted thinking went to the same school!” Milshtein said. After a week, Steven Li had about 183 friends and chatted with five people about various things relating to school. “This is a prime example of how some students at Newton South are just not cautious enough online,” Milshtein said. “But the internet acts like a mask, which allows students to become someone else.” It is a place of true anonymity. A popular site called Omegle lets strangers talk to other strangers.”On Omegle, you can be anyone you want to be,” Milshtein said. “I have chatted with many people using fake identities in the past.” Role Playing Game (RPG) sites like omgpop, World of Warcraft, and Gaia Online are also very popular among teens.They require a person to embody a new identity to compete in the game. Blizzard, a popular RPG gaming industry, has become a lucrative market by creating social networking websites that depend on pseudo personas interacting to compete at various gamesThis masking of true identity makes social networking popular. Anonymity, however, is a double-edged sword. “Being anonymous makes it easier to bully people because the bullies don’t worry about getting caught,” Milshtein said.    This social networking period of the Internet age has people putting more trust online than ever before. “Many students think that by going online, they can be someone else,” Milshtein said. “I am way more confident online than otherwise.” Formspring, honesty box, and other applications that allow anyone to ask or give comments anonymously have been popular. Students at South seem interested in both giving and receiving feedback about themselves. However, many students receive hurtful comments.“When honesty box first came out, I was excited because I thought people would be telling people that they liked each other and giving compliments,” Milshtein said. “In reality, I would get messages saying ‘you’re fat’ or ‘you’re so annoying, you have no friends;’ and then I began hating honesty box.” Although teens love the Internet, it has downsides. Being cautious about people you interact with online is necessary, because the person behind that cyber screen could be anyone.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/hiding-behind-the-screen/

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