Monday, November 19, 2012

Creeping

My kids are constantly lamenting my propensity for "creeping".  That's what kids call it.  I  call it tactful surveillance from a distanceI ABSOLUTELY want to know what my kids are doing with whom and where and sometimes, clicking around the internet at sites they frequent gives me just enough information to either allay my concerns, or to throw up a red flag for further investigation.  And honestly, I can't recall any red flags.  It also gives me the opportunity to catch a glimpse of subtle things they've said in conversations that have no frame of reference.

This type of surveillance usually comes from facebook, but instagram and pinterest are also good sites for disseminating information.  

I just need to remember...Karma.  And I see her in action frequently.  MORE frequently since the advent of "cookies".  If you don't know what "cookies" are (besides those little morsels of goodness that are hard to resist and usually take up residence on your thighs, and you can find melt in your mouth versions here and here and here oh, and here and here.  See, no need for a cook book), the simplist version of explaining it is they are a  text file that is set on your computer by a website.  So, let's say you were looking for new appliances online (just SAYIN'...not BUYIN'...yet).  And you went to several different websites.  Well, that information would be stored on your computer by the websites.  Now...no big deal right?  This should be something "invisible" to you, right?  But did you ever notice how you'll be online and notice that ads come up that COINCIDENTALLY relate to what you have recently looked at.

THAT is thanks to cookies.  I, however, call it creeping.  Because it is very similar to what I do with my kids.  It is someone else looking at what interests me, but taking it a step further and letting me know (it may be subtle for some) that they KNOW what I'm looking at.  Now, this can also be a good tool when tracking what kids are doing (although, I suspect that many are smart enough to delete their cookies so that they aren't as easily tracked, either by you or websites), but I find it a tad unnerving to be reading updates on facebook and see ads for the last 3 sites I have previously visited come up in the advertising bars of facebook.  I should delete the temporary cookies but on occasion I DO stumble upon a site that I don't immediately bookmark and want to get back to it and it IS a reminder.

Still, it IS creepy who's watching you.  Or it should be.

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