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New bill makes lying about your age on websites a crime – “How old are you?”

New bill (passed) makes it illegal to lie on online “age checks”.

Mercier and Sperber’s theory about how the mind works gets to the core of why we value accuracy in journalism and political communications: We use it as a proxy for credibility, because factual mistakes are the easiest targets for an argument to the contrary. Whether or not you have your facts straight is how we judge you — as a politician, a publication, or a pundit.


We continue to believe that the truth will out and the facts will save us. We will have better information and make better decisions, elect better leaders, have better government, be better off. That’s a pretty hopeful picture but not one that’s in line with how humans — or the world — work. When you take Mercier and Sperber’s theory to heart you understand that narratives, ideas, and ideologies are what fuel the world, not facts. For the Slashdot poster, the good news is that the Internet is nurturing accuracy. The bad news is that accuracy only takes us so far.


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Predators take advantage of children’s natural vulnerabilities such as attention, depression, and insecurities. Most internet related crimes often involve adult men who use the internet to meet and seduce underage adolescents into sexual acts. Victims that meet face to face with their offenders are typically already expecting to engage in sexual activity. “In the N-JOV study, 73% of victims who had face-to-face sexual encounters with offenders did so more than once (Wolak 2008).” Child predators find ways to have the victims form a love or romance for them in order to stay with them. According to Internet Safety 101, at least 200 million girls and 100 million boys will be sexually abused before adulthood. Online predators tend to target girls more than boys.

Lying takes more cognitive effort than being honest in general, because you have to work harder to keep your facts straight. Once you start down the pathway of lying, you not only have to remember facts, but which facts you changed, and how. Imagine if you told your partner that the shirt you just bought cost $25, when it really cost $50 (and you paid cash). Now, if someone else compliments you on the shirt and asks where you got it, you might have to come up with a false store to stay consistent with the lie about its cost (say, Old Navy, instead of Banana Republic). That shirt is now the “Old Navy” shirt, and will have to be each time it comes up as a topic of conversation. You might also have to remember to cut out the tags when you get home to support the lie.

In addition, we tell lies to protect their own feelings. If we know that a lie can make a person happy then go for it even though it is bad because we love them and we will do everything for them. Second, we tell lies to avoid getting into trouble. An example is we prevent physical and mental harm. A situation that is proper to this is when we are in danger; obviously we need to tell numerous lies to protect ourselves from getting hurt. Third, we tell lies to avoid losing someone. We tend to lie because the truth might ruin our relationship with the person even though we know that when we lie to someone, we already ruin the relationship we have with them.



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