Monday, August 29, 2011

News Travels Fast On the Internet

Notes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC.

Also covered in WBTV's segment, Protecting Your Cyberturf

What has the ability to travel faster than the speed of light? A rumor sent via text or posted on the internet. It’s summer time and young adults and kids have more time on their hands which usually leads to more time online. We want to talk to you tonight about how quickly rumors can travel in the digital world so you can be aware and protect your kids.

It happens scary fast! When a recent news network had their Twitter feed hacked the hackers tried to spread a rumor that the President was dead on the 4th of July. What about rumors? Well they travel just as fast and you need to warn your kids about the consequences. WBTV’s Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, is with us tonight to explain the problem.

We teach our kids not to pass along rumors and hopefully they do not. But on the internet, things are in writing and because they are in writing, people tend to believe it is more factual. Spreading tales and rumors on the internet is not funny and the results can have disastrous consequences. The person or people the rumor is about could be devastated by something that is essentially just not true!

Theresa has 3 tips to help you avoid your kid being part of the rumor chain


1. Be an example: don’t repeat or spread rumors

2. Talk to your kids about how to be savvy about rumors so they don’t fall for one by teaching them about rumor busting sites like Snopes or Urban Legend

3. Golden Rule: if the rumor is about someone they know, do not pass it along and encourage others to do the same

If you want to know if a rumor is true or not, check out sites such as:

For kids and teens, have them visit for tips on staying safe online, including how to avoid spreading rumors.

You can actually look up the timeline of a rumor by typing into Google: “Timeline of a rumor on the internet” and it will show you rumors, by year, and the timeline and iteration for each rumor.

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