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ZOOM Is Changing The Way We Communicate

I really like using Zoom for meetings, but a month ago I saw what can happen when security measures are not taken. I was Zoomed.

Illustration of computer with multiple human likenesses.
Image: istockphoto.com

 A month ago, I had a day that would unexpectedly burn disturbing images in both my brain and my wife’s brain. I was attending someone else’s Zoom social get together. It is difficult to forget. It was a shock.

What began as a charming get together of sharing and caring amongst people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers/carepartners, did not end well. It turned into an invasion of indecency and pure smut. A hacker’s prank or an experiment in disruption, spoiled the event for all who were involved. This was a gross abuse of technology.

When used properly and measures are taken, Zoom calls can be very helpful, enjoyable, and productive events. Follow these suggestions and keep your software up-to-date to keep out uninvited participants.

If you or your group use Zoom for a meeting, a get together, or lectures, make sure that you take caution and follow some of these precautionary steps to protect from being interrupted by unwanted attendees, to your event.

Zoom Hints For Attendees/Participants:

  • Use the “art of the pause” when participating so others can respond to your comments.
  • Be patient for speakers who may speak more slowly.
  • Make sure you upgrade your Zoom application to the latest version to get important updates.

Zoom Hints For Hosts:

  • Always password protect your meetings.
  • In your meeting setup, turn off screen sharing for participants as a security measure.
  • Use the waiting room so you can screen who is admitted.
  • Have attendee’s audio and video muted as they enter the room, so it is not distracting. Muted audio can help a lot for those late arrivals who might interrupt a meeting in progress.
  • Always greet your attendees as they enter and say goodbye when they leave.
  • Make sure you have the latest updated version of the Zoom application.

Informative Zoom Videos to Watch:

Share these resources with anyone you know who is a Zoom user or moderator. One of these sources may help keep you and your attendees stay safe.

A Danger In Profiling

Is Profiling Really Right?

I am worried! I’ll tell you why. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA), the people looking out for us at the airports and train stations are going to be profiling passengers. They are on the lookout for people that stand out in the crowd—people that move differently and may appear to be nervous, stutter, or seem to have something to hide.

Parkinson’s patients may fidget, tremor, or shake to and fro, at any time for any unknown reason. Stuttering, stammering, or broken speech can be part of the illness—does TSA know this? Who is training TSA about the thousands if not millions of people who travel with neurological disorders? If isn’t Parkinson’s, it could be one of the many other illnesses that calls attention to the patient. Stress and anxiety strike even the healthiest of the population at certain times of his or her lives—how does a TSA agent, someone unfamiliar and void of neurological conditions make the judgment to dismiss one person acting strangely over another to a traveler acting strangely due to a medical condition?

About 4 years ago, my wife and I were traveling to go to Florida. On this one occasion, I would take a walking stick that hikers use and can be adjusted to work as a monopod for stabilizing a camera. I decided it wouldn’t be a problem since the stick was retractable and very portable.

Security went smoothly, until I passed through the metal detector. I was fine, but the young woman scanning my carry-on and now, the stick, eyed it like she had never seen a walking stick before. Her perplexed expression confused my wife and me but we hoped that wasn’t going to last—it did. She called over a tall, pushy, young, man in his late 20’s to ask me what this was and to tell me how he was going to proceed to dismantle it in front of me. I immediately snapped back,

“If you break it, you buy it! It’s a simple spring-loaded walking stick! I have Parkinson’s disease and on occasion I find it helpful! Last week, the tension spring on the stick got stuck and it took me an hour to get it right and if you disassemble it, this thing will never work right!”

 To my amazement, the kid eyed me, eyed the stick, and handed it back to me. My outburst had paid off and we were free to be on our way.

Here is an example of our culture making life more difficult rather than easier. I understand the need for security on our planes, trains, ships, and highways, but I also think that those inspecting the cargo and passengers should have knowledge about what and who they are inspecting—don’t you?

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