Students in Cyberspace

CYBER WINDOW ON
THE STUDENT SOUL

The Web Empowers Students to Stand Up and Tell the World Who They Are. Could It Be They’re Saying Too Much?

By Jeff Brazil
Photography by William Mercer McCloud


Y
 ou probably will never meet Stanford University student Emilio G. Acevedo, but this is what you - and the rest of the world, for that matter - can learn about him simply by signing onto the World Wide Web: His father has not been around much, but Acevedo remains grateful for his influence just the same. His grandmother has forever stamped upon him the values and traditions of Latin America, and for that, he is in her debt. He believes in God, likes Mustangs and lowriders, and struggles with academic life. He thinks often of his “homies,” referring to his buddies back in San Francisco, where his mother, he confesses in his remarkably personal home page on the Web, continues to make sacrifices so he can attend Stanford.

Like thousands of other Stanford students who have embraced the Internet, Acevedo has no idea who it is who might be dropping in to gaze at his home page, a document that, in his case, amounts to an electronic window into his soul. It could be a relative. It could be a classmate. A potential employer. Or a complete stranger. For the world of the Web portion of the Internet, an ever-widening global network of computers, is as anonymous as it is vast and chaotic.

In short order, having a cyber sign-on and a home page have become practically de rigueur at Stanford, where computers are nearly as indispensable as bluebooks and No. 2 pencils were to earlier generations of students. But as the lure of the Web and computer technology grow at breakneck pace, so do some emerging concerns: Should students be so

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1996

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