I love surveys and research that takes an entire section of the Internet and makes some grand, and potentially scaremongering, claim about how dangerous it is.
Research carried out by ScanSafe (yes, conveniently they do make Internet security software) claims that four out of every five blogs contain potentially offensive content, such as pornography or adult language, whilst about one in twenty contain potentially catastrophic computer viruses, spyware, and other harmful software.
However, it transpires that the biggest culprits are YouTube (which I thought was a video sharing site, not a collection of blogs), and MySpace.
ScanSafe spokeswoman Amanda Hassall said: “Blogs are a great way for people to express themselves freely on the web – the figures showing the huge increase in blogs speak for themselves.
“But it’s important for people to be aware of the potential dangers of clicking onto just any blog, as there’s the risk of downloading unwanted or harmful software onto a computer.
I find it interesting that blogs are being bombarded with criticism on several fronts.
Not only do the majority of them apparently contain ‘potentially offensive content’ (which, with a phrase that vague, is hardly surprising), but they’re now a lethal source of gremlins waiting to sneak themselves onto your computer and stop it working properly.
Of course, ScanSafe would be quite happy for you to buy and install their software to keep and your children safe online, but the general online security that you already practice (you do, right?) should be just as sufficient for reading blogs and visiting social networking sites.
The study showed that web surfers weren’t entirely innocent in all this:
A study last year found Brits search the term ‘porn’ more than any other group in the English-speaking world, and that two in five British men – nine million – visited porn sites in the last year, with the same number having downloaded adult content in the last month.