porker – a lie, “he’s tellin porkers” or “itâ€™s just porkers” Wiktionary
I’ve been chatting online since 1996; back in the days when Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) were pretty much the only two forms of real-time online communication available. It wasn’t a mainstream activity by any stretch of the imagination. It was a sub-culture and the negative labelling was fierce.
The first High Distinction I received at university was for an applied ethics subject called ‘Vulnerable Identities’. For the main piece of assessment I examined the interpersonal communication challenges of chatting online and the differences between online friendships and r/l (real-life) friendships. The subject of child-sex chat rooms came up. Of course it came up. It made me sick. But it wasn’t the main focus of the piece because it wasn’t the main focus of the general user’s experience. It was a sick online reality – the same sick reality that we hear about in real life. And even though there was nothing I could do about it, the comfort I had was with the knowledge that, if anything sinister was going on out in the open domain, the police would be onto it.
I was 19 years old when I started chatting online. An adult, sure, but a teenager nonetheless. The friends I made online ranged from 14 to 34 and we would organise opportunities to meet in real life. My parents were OK with it. Sure, it was strange back then but they gave me ‘the talk’ and they trusted my judgement. The people I met were great people from all walks of life.
I have met people online who’ve changed my life forever – fleeting relationships with people whose real names I never knew. It was my online friends who taught me ‘how to vote’ – as in, the concepts of the lower house and the upper house. I mean, listening to my parents talk about that stuff was boring right?
I met people from all walks of life during a period of my life in which I was otherwise quite sheltered. Study, work, movies, shopping summed up my small world. But the internet opened a world of possibilities. I met people from different countries, people who were gay, bisexual and in open relationships. I chatted with women who’d been sexually abused, women who’d had abortions and women who’d suffered eating disorders. I made friends with disabled people whose passion for the Internet was absolute. But it was far from a serious affair. Most of the time we just laughed and mucked around. Some of us practiced how to flirt. We also tested the boundaries of what was and wasnâ€™t acceptable behaviour or â€˜etiquetteâ€™ â€“ and learnt fast.
We shared audio, shared photos (really low resolution!) and shared web links. When the internet grew up, we started to share videos as well.
Internet is short for Interconnected Network. That is what we were. And that is how I believe the Internet should remain.
My online experiences are no longer strange to most Generation X and Ys and those Baby Boomers whoâ€™ve embraced technology. With Facebook and Twitter, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, the Interconnected Network is larger than life.
What IS strange is the Labor Governmentâ€™s proposal to amputate the Internet in Australia. Unfortunately, cutting a limb off an Interconnected Network will instead make it a KindOfconnected Muddle.
Weâ€™ll have to change the name to KindOfMuddle. Kind of a muddle, really. But porkers like mud, donâ€™t they? And not the Multi User kind.
The Australian Government is about to introduce mandatory internet filtering. Electronic Frontiers explains that, if implemented, â€˜it will make Australia the most heavily censored country in the western world.â€™
The most frustrating thing about this legislation (and the impassioned yet ill-informed arguments for it) is that the filter in fact does nothing to protect children from what parents are really concerned about, like online predators, cyber-bullies, spam, viruses, and other cyber threats.
The only safeguards to these kinds of threat are parental monitoring of their childrenâ€™s activities online. Internet censorship will not keep children safe, no matter what the Government says.
Itâ€™s a porker.
For some of the facts visit www.timetotellmum.com
Or listen to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam speak on the matter.