Dear NPR: Please stop “cyber” scaring us

Dear NPR*,

Please stop “cyber” scaring us.

Your reporters frequently use phrases like “cyber security”, “cyber attacks”, “cyber warfare”, and “cyber bullying”. These phrases do not accurately describe your intent and—worse—evoke more fear than other equivalent phrases.

“Cyberspace” seems like a distant, alternate reality with the likeness of “Tron”, whereas the Internet is a public utility that is part of our very real everyday life.

Instead, please use “Internet security”, “Internet attacks”, and “bullying online”. Remove “cyber warfare” from your lexicon because it is a doubly sensationalized characterization of an Internet attack.

Word choice matters. I know you know this, so please opt for specificity and phrasing that elicits rationality over fear.

Best regards,

* And every other news media outlet, but I sent this to NPR.