Couple of days ago I wrote about my dealings with the elderly and computers, and that puts me in mind of age issues and their relation to computers. And so we face a sort of strange question; is it ok to let kids into the world of torrents?
Well I can you give you a definitive “I don’t know.” Depends on the family, the kids, which kind of torrents. There ARE legal torrents that don’t have any kind of copyright infringement issues; of course those are typical the UNexciting torrents. So it all depends on if you’re ok with young people breaking the law in the convenience of the home. It’s not as dangerous as going to a store and shoplifting, but it’s basically the same thing.
If you read a bunch of the torrent sites, as I do, you’ll hear all kinds of arcane and abstract arguments about how downloading music, tv, movies, comic books, books, and software that you would normally have to pay for is ok because a) the big companies can afford it b) nothing is really stolen since you don’t end up with any kind of physical object in your house c) if they’re not in the US they aren’t breaking any US law and defghijklmn…..there’s no end to “why I’m not guilty” arguments.
So ok, I’m not a hypocrite, so I’m absolutely not here to argue the merits of is it right or wrong. But as an older person the chances are pretty likely you’re going to be faced with the question of whether or not you should tell some younger person HOW to do use torrents, if it’s in your house should you allow it. and if you say yes what conditions are you gonna set.
Yesterday I was visiting with a young woman, who’s now 18, and back from college break and she wanted some music from something called Rihanna (HEY, I told you I was the older person in this scenario!) and she wanted it right NOW. She had discovered Limewire on her own some years ago and I asked how why she didn’t use that, and she said it messed up her computer. So I asked her why she didn’t use Bearshare? And she said she hadn’t heard of it, but a friend had a Mac and there was this site for people with Ipods and did I know about it and all she wanted was just one song not a whole album, and on and on it went. And I finally said OK, just use a torrent!
And she was like, what is that? Now I recently read that recently uTorrent reached a 5 percent saturation on PCs. That means that 5 percent of every computer out there is running uTorrent. That is very intense. So I took her to Wikipedia and had her read the torrent entry and then gave her an explanation of the basic technology and asked her if she had any moral conflict with just taking this song she wanted. Can you guess the answer?
I had faced a similar situation about half a year ago with a young lady about the same age. But in her case I explained that this knowledge is a little dangerous. If you’re hanging around a lot of kids and you know how to “get stuff” off the internet you’ll have lots of kids either begging you for the stuff itself, the information on how to do it, or the criminal minded kids DEMANDING you do it. So that young person and I had a very serious talk about personal use vs. spreading. So just be aware; you ARE going to be an older person than you are right now, and you ARE going to come into contact with younger people who are going to want info like this. And yeah I know kids usually find out about “computer stuff” first, but not our generation. We grew up with the stuff so many of us are serious users already and we’ll determine the habits of the next generation.