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February 06, 2006

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From a personal perspective I have a terrible time with this issue in my novice computer classes. A lot of the people I work with are seniors who are still sort of learning the whole web metaphor. Many of them want to learn Ebay which in turn involves learning email and usually learning how to use PayPal. When you try to imply that you want to sit and talk to them about money, and thieves, and phishing scams they will often pooh pooh you and yet I've had at least one student who, on her own time, sent merchandise to a customer who said he'd paid but actually hadn't.

It was small potatoes to my student but I felt bad for any part I had had in teaching her the technology without giving her what I felt was the neccesasry precautionary lecture associated with it. We're seeing more and more people who need help with the computer not to type a resume but to buy airplane tickets, date online and look for job opportunities [make money fast or no] online. Deciding how much help to give is a conundrum, made more difficult by the fact that it's often tough in smaller libraries to point the patron to a book that will address some of the trickier problems involved with online fraud and the like.

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