METRO PLUS

The net is neither villain nor Mr Know-All

AN OLDER generation of our teachers taught our little children: A is for Apple, B is for ball, C is for cat and d is for Dog. Those bygone years taught us a lot about values and nature while the future of our next generation of children shall witness the perils of being taught: A is for artificial intelligence. B is for browsing, C is for cyber chatting and D is for DOS! Decades ago, some University researchers in America began sharing information between main frame computers connected by a government run network called Advance research Projects Agency Network which led to more research leading to the discovery of the Internet.

Rajesh Jain whose fame began in 1989 when he sold his India World Communications to Satyam Info Way for a few thousand million rupees has almost succeeded in marketing a computer that is inexpensive and cheap to the public. His dream computer should cost no more than Rs. 5,000! He also visualises large-scale use of recycled computers from developed markets at very low prices.

The cosmopolitan nature and outlook of Kochiittes often conflicts with the traditional underlying social habits generally prevalent even with the younger generation, like marriage fixing through the paraphernalia of marriage brokers and astrologers and so on. But this social habit could take a nosedive with the rise of online dating initiated by Yahoo Website. The fact that around 17 million people around the world viewed their online dating site encouraged them to turn up with a new innovation, video and voice components so that young lovers can reach out through the web to hear the loved one's voice and behaviour as well. Whoever said marriages are made in heaven ought to think again for today, marriages are made by the cyber net!

Parents and relatives, beware! To many youngsters, the four walls of the cabin in a cyber caf� throws open the forbidden garden of carnal pleasure. Youngsters in their school uniforms arriving in groups are a common sight in cities. Some come to watch porn with uninhibited freedom. While these feed on sensual imagery, the social fabric of mutual respect and shared values that holds us together in a society shall give way to a rising number of perversities, unleashing the worst kind of sexual crimes against little children or young girls or even married women.

Cases of old women being raped by young men are recently being reported in our State, famed for its human development index ratio and 100 per cent literacy. We do not have to blame technology for the kind of hysteria which the internet is bringing out in our youngsters but instead ask ourselves, `Why are we suppressing their basic instincts? Why can't we let them ask us the uncomfortable facts and questions instead of our silence, leading them to unravel the poisonous visuals that will pollute their values and thinking and unleash a sexual hysteria in their young selves?'

Lastly, a recent study by Consumers International, spread across 115 countries investigated 460 websites which claim to give expert advice on health, finance and investment options to web browsers, free of cost. The disturbing finding of this investigation is that 50 per cent of the websites did not disclose the identities of the experts who dole out web advice and 60 per cent of websites provided no further information about the content of such sites.

This obviously means that consumers who rely on such advice are doing so at their own risk of being fed with inaccurate and incomplete information. While it is fashionable to keep in tune with technological advancements on the internet, it is also wise to remember the old adage that all that glitters is not gold, or in other words, all that you see and read on the web are not necessarily correct. So, browsers beware before developing blind faith in all the techno buzz of the cyber world!

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