Freedom of Choice


“Beware of strangers bearing gifts”

I have been fussing this morning over the fact that a Google Chrome icon has appeared on my laptop desktop. It is a small thing, and I suppose that I downloaded something or other from the internet which installed Google Chrome as part of its beneficial features, but it worries me just the same.

The truth is – I don’t really know what Google Chrome is. Like everyone, I have seen the TV ads that claim it delivers a “better internet” but better for who?

If it really is better, why aren’t they explaining what the features are? Why did they make agreements with other software developers to “secretly” include it with other free software downloads?

It all reminds me of a bad relationship – you meet someone and start dating, and everything seems so perfect for a while that you let your guard down and start to trust  (because this person is so helpful they could never do any harm).

But then suddenly … you start hearing things that make you uncomfortable … like where you should go, or who you should spend time with. Then they get more aggressive and start telling you who you should like … because they have spent so much time with you that they now know you better than you know yourself.

You try to tell yourself this is nothing. After all, you are a grown up and quite capable of deciding how to spend your time and where to shop. But then you hear a rumor that you don’t quite want to believe.

Your friend has been telling people that (for a fee) they can manipulate you into doing things; and suddenly little gifts and surprises (like my new desktop icon) start appearing in the night.

It is all starting to remind me of a guy named HAL and that is a little creepy.

And if you think I am crazy consider this – your grandchildren have no knowledge of a world before internet. Their entire lives will be shaped and controlled by their interactions in cyberspace from their first play date until their last breath. They play games online, do homework online, and learn their social skills online.

There are phenomenal opportunities but there is also great risk – just do a search for the word “thinspiration” if you doubt how serious this is and read about how teenage girls encourage each other not to eat in an effort to become so thin that there thighs do not touch when they are standing up.

I wish I could tell you this was all nonsense – perhaps it is.

But if google is perfect and harmless, why are there pandas and penguins attacking anyone who dares to defy them?


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