Maandelijks archief: oktober 2016

Refugees, criminal or bored?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor asylum seekers

It has been all over the news for the past months, a lot of refugees are looking for a place to stay. They have to flee from their homes because of the dangerous environment they live in. Most refugees are looking for a new life where they can live in safety but some might have different plans. They can commit crimes or even terrorist attacks; this causes harassment for the citizens of the host countries.

People are afraid these days; terrorist attacks have created a soft spot in the society of today. We are scared of what might happen and rather build a wall around all our problems instead of facing them. Refugees often travel hundreds of kilometres to reach a destination, only to be rejected by the ones who could offer help. This has various causes.

–     Terrorists pretend to be Asylum seekers only to enter a country, as side effect refugees are being segregated from society to prevent them from any terrorist actions (or other crimes)

–     Because of the economic crisis we were facing very recently, our economic circumstances aren’t as stable as they used to be. Helping refugees is expensive, this causes many countries to invest less in refugees.

–     A couple of conflicts were registered were refugees would come in conflict with other refugees and citizens. A stereotypical image is being created that refugees can’t be trusted and are seeking for problems.

If you take a quick look at the news you see hordes of angry people when an asylum seekers centre is being built  in their nearby surroundings. The citizens of these towns believe that the safety of their fellow townsfolks is in danger. What causes people to think that refugees are criminals?

There have been a couple of incidents where refugees and other immigrants were involved in a large sexual offence. Citizens of host countries are generalising the view of a refugee. Not all refugees are criminals, but some are. Does that mean we have to segregate them from society?

I think this situation only causes refugees to commit more crimes, various interviews (for example on Powned and Vara) have been held with refugees. A large majority of those interviewed people explained that they are in boredom. Could this not mean that when refugees have got nothing to do they will commit crimes?  This is only an assumption but what would be the result if we gave refugees things as education, work and shelter?

“The asylum centre felt like a prison”

I think segregating of the refugees is having an inverted result. By segregating them, we want to prevent them from committing crimes, we want our citizens to live in a safe environment that we have today. By segregating the refugees, they will get bored: they have no work and they will never be educated. Therefore, they will do various things to enjoy themselves, committing crimes might be one of those things. I have interviewed an asylum seeker, he used to be a very successful hairdresser, he said that he felt like he was locked up.

The point is that I would like to see what happens if we gave refugees more opportunities, integrate them into society and learn them how to fit in. Firstly we could just start giving them language courses.

Refugees are people as well, and just like in our society, there are people with good and bad intentions, we can’t separate people just for having a different culture. Bringing new people of which you know little into a country brings some risks, but we could solve or at least reduce the number of incidents. Not all refugees are criminals, most are people who like to develop themselves just like we do. We have to spread that view.

The thing is, we have faced a crisis, there already is a large rate of unemployment. If we let the refugees in and give them the opportunity to work, there is less space for our own citizens to work, which causes an even bigger unemployment rate. If we do not let the refugees work we will have to pay for them, not directly but in terms of Tax.  We will, either way, be confronted by the fact that the asylum seekers command an amount of money.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

What if I say that letting the refugees work will cause more job opportunities? Not all refugees are uneducated labourers, they also have the minds to start their own company, which creates more job opportunities. Of course, this will take several years to develop, and maybe some investment too. The problem is that, if we go on with giving the refugees various resources, no development will take place. By getting them to work we will not only grow economically but we will also involve refugees in society.

We have to integrate the refugees in society, this may reduce crimes and will develop the Netherlands as a “multicultural society”. Let’s not treat refugees like animals, rescued from traps, wandering through our society aimlessly. Let’s treat them like people, how it’s supposed to be.

(Made by Amber Aerts)



Online privacy invasion

Last Monday, a program called “De Grote Privacy Test” (the big privacy test) was broadcasted on Dutch television ( The program researches if the participants and the people at home know the risks of the invasion of privacy and online criminality. It reveals a lot about how much information is gathered about you and what is done with it. This is a big social problem. The producers want as much information as they can from the people who use their products so they can use it for their own purposes (and services). The users, of course, want to use the product but definitely don’t want an invasion of privacy!

It all starts when you buy or download a product: The Terms and Conditions. The never-ending list of vague text that everyone accepts without even looking at it. The Producers know this. It enables them to do almost everything, the customers will always agree because they don’t want to read the long lists. It enables them to use your camera, microphone, see all of your unprotected information and sometimes even download things! This brings insecurity and invasion of privacy.

The terms and conditions of iTunes are as long as the book: “Je hebt wél iets te verbergen” which has 264 pages!

Besides checking boxes and agreeing with terms and conditions, there are several other ways in which information from electronic devices can be ‘stolen’. For example: in the program “De Grote Privacy Test” a hacker, called Wouter Slotboom, showed a router he had bought. Everyone who connected to the WI-FI of this router got tracked and all the information gathered and used in those devices was from then available for him. He could see Instagram pictures, chats, web searches and even passwords!

The invention of social media worsened the situation enormously. A lot of things are shared and so, a lot of things can be found. Even things you delete can be copied or recovered.

The information that sites, apps, programs and other services or products gather can be used for advertisement, recommendations, predicting things and more. This sounds great, but when google tells me the traffic information on my route to school while I never searched for it, I get scared. How does it know that? What more does it know? I can’t tell this exactly, but it is sure that services like google know more than they probably should. All of this information could easily be misused. Think of this: someone has seen your information. He or she knows what phone you have and wants it. He knows when and how you drive to school in the morning. Easy catch, I would say.

I know you probably aren’t going to read the terms and conditions and you probably aren’t going to disagree with them either. So here 4 simple things that you can do to prevent some of these privacy invasions.

  • Using ad Blocker: Besides stopping ads from popping up on your screen, it also stops a lot of cookies and unwanted trackers from gathering and using your information.
  • When you use Google Chrome, you can enable ‘Incognito modus’. This will erase everything you do on the internet when you don’t use it anymore. This does not include photos, comments or other similar things you post but things like cookies, browsing history etc.
  • Watch out with what you do on the internet: be cautious with what you write, post and do online. Also: have a look at your privacy settings on your browser and social media.
  • Try searching safe alternatives for your social media. For example, Signal. It does the same as WhatsApp but it is privacy friendlier. Why leave WhatsApp? Well, it was bought by Facebook, which means that a lot of information can be used, just as on Facebook. (related article: “Facebook sued for invading users’ privacy” at

In conclusion, the internet knows a lot about you. Often too much. The upcoming of social media has greatly reduced privacy and your information is easily being misused or even being hacked! Terms and conditions are too long and are often misapplicated. They include all kinds of ways in which to collect personal data. This data is used or sold to other companies while it isn’t necessary for the service to work. In the 21st century, privacy seems to have disappeared. But we have to protect it, since it is not only a constitutional right but also a very big factor in our lives.

Author: Rick van de Sande                                                                                                     

quitting smoking: harder than ever

smoking-2Almost everyone knows someone that smokes. A friend, a colleague, a brother, a sister, a parent. “Stoptober” is a campaign which urges smokers to quit smoking for a month and hopefully longer. The goal of this campaign is to get as many smokers as possible to stop smoking. “Stoptober” started 11 days ago, but now it is even harder to stop smoking. It turns out that the tobacco industry adds more than is written on the package. It is not like the industry forgot to put them on the package, they did it on purpose to make as many people addicted to cigarettes as possible. This social problem involves many people. The smokers, the tobacco industry, the doctors (which treat the people who got a disease due to smoking), the people around the smokers and teenagers.

Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for your health, but it turns out that the tobacco industry adds many addictive substances, which make sure that people get addicted very easily (especially teenagers by adding things such as sugar, chocolate, etc. to make it taste sweeter). Sugar, for example, may sound not dangerous, but when it gets burned it releases toxic gasses which damage the health. This is just an example of the many substances that the tobacco industry adds to the cigarettes.

A woman named Anne Marie van Veen (43) has been smoking since she was 19. In 2014 she was diagnosed with lung cancer and stopped smoking since then. She watched a documentary named “Vervangers” (Replacers), which is about how the tobacco industry tries to lure children to start smoking cigarettes and get them addicted. After watching that documentary she realized that she couldn’t help to be addicted to cigarettes, because of the additives in the tobacco. Now Anne Marie is trying to warn people about the situation and tries to sue the tobacco industry. She started a website named, trying to warn about the dangers of smoking and to find support to sue the tobacco industry. She wants to prevent that children and adults start to smoke, because it causes many illnesses and damages the health of people.

I think it is very important that the tobacco industry has to be honest about all the additives and will stop adding extra ingredients to make people addicted. This affects teenagers especially, because they get influenced really easily, for example by peer-pressure.

It is logical that every industry wants to make profit and get as many customers as possible. They do so by making people addicted to smoking by adding additives and not mentioning them on the package. In my opinion, this is not a fair way to get customers. The industry causes health problems which will cost loads of money in the future to treat these illnesses. I agree with Anne Marie that the tobacco industry shouldn’t get away with such huge negative impacts on people’s lives.



author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders