Name Your Demon
It makes a difference, what you call the things you hate or fear. And the language you use will rub off on your children and the young people with whom you come into contact.
This came home to me afresh last week when I read an article that made repeated reference to ‘the dark net’. The story in question was to do with grooming young people for the international sex slave market, but I’ve heard the phrase in many other contexts.
I strongly object to this tag, and I think all of us have a responsibility here. The phrase ‘dark net’ has a certain allure to it, especially for young people. It hints at secrets, covert worlds and cabals, with a strong suggestion of science fiction; the kind of club anyone with a desire to feel part of the tech-y elite, particularly on the edgy, non-conformist side of things might want to join.
I would be happier if the more unpleasantly motivated side of the internet world were labelled in a less attractive way. I don’t have a cut and dried solution here and would be extremely interested to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Perhaps the out and out obvious, ‘the illegal net’? Although that might hold the same forbidden fruit attraction. 'The loser net’, could be off-putting enough to make it club youngsters would be less inclined to explore, but I can’t see that catching on.
However, I am of an older generation. No matter how long I spend trying to come up with with language that will reach today’s children and young people, I’m never going to be up to date enough with the current vernacular.
So what’s the solution?
Why to ask them of course.
I haven’t yet, but I would really like to have a conversation with some young people around the subject, and to ask them how they think the ‘dark net’ should be labelled in order to reduce it’s allure.
Today’s teens could help us with this and many more instances of finding a way to belittle the demon in the naming and therefore to reduce it’s power.