When I read about the increased incidents of cyberattacks on public school computers, this computer troglodyte got to wondering if the problems could possibly be partially cured by separating classroom features from school recordkeeping by using different server accounts — maybe even a third account for classroom Googling and other use of the internet.

If nothing else, it might provide a clue to which use is the primary target, therefore giving clues as to who the attackers are. Also, this way, pure classroom use could be protected by not having any outside access.

The fact that these kinds of occurrences exist is the reason why I am so careful about what information I give out about my computer use, and I conduct no kind of money-related business via computer. I don’t order anything; I don’t pay bills on the internet; I don’t allow my bank statements or investment information on my internet.

I use only snail mail, telephone or face-to-face transaction. My initial reason was that I didn’t trust myself; now I trust neither myself nor the internet system. I admit, this dog is probably too old to learn new tricks, but I also apply the other old saw — better safe than sorry. I simply don’t know enough about computers in general to plow my way through firewalls and all that other gibberish that gets thrown at me without definitions or explanations.

One of the most important lessons schools can teach is internet safety — how to be more discriminating about what information you put on Facebook, for instance. I lied about my birth date because both my telephone banking and my pharmacist ask for it as a means of identification. After all, wishing someone a happy un-birthday is just as sincere as the real thing. Students should be aware job applicants are sometimes screened on either Facebook or websites as a means of evaluating one’s good judgment.

Another potential danger is sexual predators who scan the internet for victims. Everyone, not just juveniles, needs to be fully aware of all these potential dangers so they can protect themselves.

With modern technology developing so fast, it is hard to keep up with the latest developments and the vulnerabilities that they expose us to. It is both a blessing and a curse.

Another modern development is cars with dashboard computers etc. instead of knobs, dials and other means of turning on lights etc. I see these as far more of a hazard than a help, as one has to look away from the road to see what they are doing. This whole idea scares the liver out of me. It’s bad enough that people use their phones while driving, but to look away long enough to complete a maneuver is horrible. After all, what was so inconvenient about the old way? That is why I hope my old 2000 car lasts me as long as I’m able to drive.

I also cringe when I see college students walking down the middle of the street in front of my house talking, or worse yet, texting on their phones, oblivious to their surroundings. Sharing a crowded sidewalk with them is chancy enough. I can’t count the times I suddenly hear a voice behind me say something that makes me think they are talking to me. I stop dead in my tracks to turn around to respond and have them plow into me because they aren’t looking carefully.

With technology and mores changing so fast, we all need to learn to think ahead about the ramifications and changes these new developments bring. They may be new, but are they really an improvement or just a novelty? We need to use better judgment about how we apply them.

Lenna Harding lived her first 20 and past 43 years in Pullman. A longtime League of Women Voters member, she served on the Gladish Community and Cultural Center board. She can be reached at lj1105harding@gmail.com.

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