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Internet and Deaf Community
June 14, 2002 - By Grant W. Laird, Jr.

InternetBy now, I am sure you've noticed that virtually everywhere are trying to become more and more involved with Internet. Naturally, it has given more benefits and opportunities in deaf and disabilities community. E-mail is probably one of the most powerful tools we have now. Among other than e-mail itself, instant messaging and chat room are also very popular these days.

As you know, the more we introduce many new benefits, the more we introduce more problems. In recent years, we saw big increased in what they called "cyber-criminal" activities and as well as "cyber-stalking". It can be from fraud to spamming to stalking. It is important that every of you make every step to protect yourself, family, friends and especially children by awareness, educational and protection tools (anti-virus, cybersitter, personal firewall, etc.)

As a parent, you need to make sure your children(s) are aware of all activities. Please use your common sense when it comes to like talking to stranger in chat room. It does not matter if the chat room is for `deaf' or `disabilities'. (Answer is never talk to stranger however if you know what you are doing, just be very careful) If they start to bother or stalk to you, please seek for help immediately.

Sadly, Internet is so powerful. You can find web site and get personal information from anybody (such as criminal background, credit history, employment history, all other private information) for small fees. It can be good thing but same time it can be bad thing, too. Some people will abuse the system and try to fraud or hurt people emotionally or financially.

Finally, it is very vital that you keep all of your anti-virus software, firewall software and/or any software you are using to protect your computer updated and current because there are always new virus and new hacking methods coming out every week (possibly everyday too). It is advisable that you do not keep any personal information such as username or password to sensitive areas like bank, credit card or any website that you use to pay your bills on the computer. Write down username and password on paper then store the information somewhere where your children or friends can't access or see them.

Experienced hackers can get into your computer and retrieve any username/password stored in your hard drive easily if computer is not protected. If you do not have any kind of protection on your computer, I would suggest you to check Zone Alarm or Black ICE and
download. They are ones of good protection programs all over the world and widely used. If you have good protection program other than Zone Labs or Black ICE, which is fine as long as you keep it updated and current. Don't let this scare you away from using internet for it has a lot benefits, Its always exciting and good to "web surf" as long as you keep your computer protected! Happy Web surfing!



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