One of the criticisms levelled at information and communications technology is the ability for people to hide their true identities. This is especially relevant with the likes of online social networking.
Okay, so half the fun can be creating an online persona; adopting a username; designing an avatar to represent you. Some people prefer to use their real names; others identify themselves by means of pseudonyms – which, in themselves, can reveal something about their personality. One of the benefits of this relative anonymity is that people can escape the persecutions they may face in the real world.
And while this is all fairly harmless stuff for the majority of people, there are some whose reasons for ‘hiding’ are more sinister. Hardly a day goes by without a story about predators seeking out young children through chatrooms or scams of every type with people claiming to be someone they are not for fraudulent purposes.
Incidentally, identity theft is nothing new and this can’t blamed on ICT. The expression first appeared in 1964 and has become the catchall term for this sort of thing, even if identity fraud or simply impersonation would be a better description.
Anyhow, the upshot is identity where technology is concerned may not be what it seems - or, in fact, it may be all that it seems.
As the years roll by, my deterioration continues apace. I’m not quite as quick out of the blocks as I used to be, if you get my drift.
Nevertheless, I’m not ready for the knacker’s yard yet. Growing old has its drawbacks but it’s better than the alternative.
Just to prove I’m still up for a challenge, I have just invested in a Wii for some good family fun – almost old-fashioned fun if you believe swinging a remote around is like the real thing. (Obviously it’s not really, otherwise my ‘real life’ golf handicap would be approaching scratch as opposed to a decent innings in cricket – somehow the Wii system has corrected all the bugs in my swing, stance and aim).
My son is having a ball with it. Funnily enough the Miis – avatar characters you can make to play the games – really caught his eye and he was off making one not just of him but his sister, cousins, friends, you name it. And when we play one of the games, there they are eager to take part as well. I could identify most. Except for a guy with the grey hair, slightly podgy and balding, bit of a limp, always a bit behind the play.
‘Who’s that?” I asked.
‘That’s you, Dad!” he replied hardly missing a beat between pitches.
“Oh,” was about all I could manage in crestfallen disappointment. It wasn’t quite the image I had of myself. Just when you really do need technology to hide behind, it comes out slaps you right in the mush.
So, if you are playing Wii and you spot a Mii with grey hair, a blue shirt, slightly podgy and balding, that’ll be me wandering aimlessly about (so that’s fairly accurate). Give me a wave.