... on checking out "urban legends" and "hoaxes"... WITH THE FOLLOWING UPDATES
Oh Y’all…! Until a couple of days ago, I had the best story in mind to share with you here in this issue!!! It’s been making the rounds on the internet via email, and when three different folks from different parts of the country sent it to me in space of twenty four hours, a week or so ago, I had to agree it was special… Maybe you saw it too – it had to do with a famous violinist and a broken string…??? Actually, it was mostly about the power of one’s attitude, when combined with the kind of artistic skill that comes only from extensive practice and professional experience, and the choice to “go forth anyway” when confronted with the various challenges that sometimes show up in our lives (most often at very public and otherwise inopportune moments)…
Well, as I always do with such things, I made several phone calls to check out it’s veracity and to see who I needed to appeal to for permission to pass it along… and was I ever surprised to learn that not one bit of it was true! Not only did it not happen to the violinist specified, he wasn’t even performing at all anywhere on the day the story said it all happened! It turned out to be a genuine “Tall Tale”… and duty requires me to honor this person’s wishes and not perpetuate the myth, even if it really does still read like a “good story” otherwise …(dang it!)
While such things are not unique to the internet, new technologies seem to bring whole new areas where we have to be “on our toes” in order to not get “taken in” …Certainly, such stories often show up elsewhere too - in printed materials of various sorts, in newspaper articles, on TV as “special interest investigations” or those "special offer, guaranteed, introductory, limited-time-only-so-buy-now" commercials ("you too can have thin body parts in 30 days, guaranteed!" or "buy today - lose weight yesterday!" – the list is endless!), or even as targeted mailings via our regular U.S. Post Office boxes. But especially if you’ve joined the legions of emailers, perhaps you’ve come across this kind of thing before and have noticed it too… the well intentioned “virus alerts”, chain letters of all ilk, and especially the heart wrenching and gut grabbing stories – this group in particular seems to be growing exponentially in numbers these days, and making the rounds across the country like electronic tsunami waves... The problem is, electronic or not, so many of them are written just well enough, contain just enough of the right sounding buzz words, and have just the right tone to them that it’s sometimes really hard to sort out the hoax/myth/tall tales from something that genuinely needs our active attention!
PURELY AS A MATTER OF FURTHER PUBLIC SERVICE, then, allow me to recommend these free web site resources for your use should you find stories crossing your path that might benefit from a bit of investigation before they get passed along… and if you don’t happen to have a computer with internet hook-up at home, try your local library – the reference people there are usually happy to help with this kind of thing!
(1) Hoax Busters – http://hoaxbusters.org -- this web site replaced the one we'd originally linked to, and is still amazingly complete… detailed lists of hoaxes and chain letters are there, along with virtually everything one needs to know about recognizing hoaxes in general, and what to do about them when they enter your life.
(2) The Archive of Urban Legends: http://urbanlegends.about.com/science/urbanlegends/library/blbyolix.htm is absolutely a must-see! Don’t let the long address discourage you – there is a wealth of information here and lots of reassurance as well – especially about some of the more heart-rending appeals making the rounds as legitimate sounding stories. (Goodness knows, we've come a long way from the “do you have Prince Edward in A Can” and “is your refrigerator running?” days…!)
(3) The Symantec Company also offers a reliable reference list too – http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html. Since this company specializes in virus protection, they are generally rather quick to get “hoax” information listed and available.
(4) The F-Secure Company is similar, and offers information at http://www.datafellows.com/virus-info/hoax/ -- hoaxes are also listed here alphabetically for easy searching.
(5)Cyber Safety: Top 10 Tips for Youth - http://www.afp.gov.au/policing/cybercrime/~/media/afp/pdf/c/cyber-safety-top-10-tips-for-youth.ashx
(6)The 14 Rules of Online Safety for Children - http://blog.kanetix.ca/the-14-rules-of-online-safety-for-children/
(7)Parent Guide: Talk With Your Kids about Internet Safety - http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0006-talk-your-kids
(8)Mobile Device Safety for Kids http://www.scratchwireless.com/pad/mobile-device-safety-for-kids/
(9)FBI: Internet Safety Tips for Kids - http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
(10) And, here is the internet safety resource bank on our own site that I thought may also be of interest to you: Internet and Mobile Safety Resource Bank - http://educatorlabs.org/resources/listing-category/internet-and-mobile-safety/
Because their page both well researched and so beautifully laid out, rather than duplicate it here, it's a pleasure and an honor to refer you directly to them instead. Please see the listing, links and details, all posted here: http://www.attinternetservice.com/safety-apps-for-parents
Here's an overview of what you can find there:
Quote: "The internet can be accessed almost anywhere at any time, and that leaves your children exposed to questionable material. It’s important to know what is going on when it comes to your children’s internet activity. That’s why we took the time to research different apps and services that have made it their mission to give parents the tools to help keep their children safe. These are our 12 favorite."