Evil Internet

Recently an Austrian teenager sued her parents for the baby pictures of her that they posted on Facebook over the years.

I’d say, that is the tip of the iceberg.

Most of us who use Facebook were lured into it by the catchy promise that you “keep contact with your friends and faraway family” that way.  Some of us (especially authors) were lured into it because “you have to be on social networks” to put yourself “out there”.  And Facebook (and Myspace, years back, and Ning, and various other networks) was an easy forum to share updates and developments in our lives.

Here’s the thing.  People don’t understand (or consider) the dangers.

Facebook, as you may have noticed, insists on a cellphone number for every new account.  Once you have innocently given Facebook your cellphone number (and there are various ways in which this can happen), one of the tricks they do unless you are aware of it and change your settings forbidding them this,  is to mine your cellphone for all the numbers on it and match them to your friends, family and contacts.  As you see, your number can get onto Facebook without you ever having given it.

Whatsapp:  This is an offshoot of Facebook (did you know this?).  Whatsapp, once you activate it, immediately links your cellphone to your Facebook account unless you know they are going to do it and forbid them.  Example:  My son, after receiving a smartphone from a well-meaning and by now regretful relative, joined Whatsapp for a family group.  If I’d known, I’d have told him to leave that alone.  He is 14.  He received a Facebook invite on his Whatsapp from a total stranger who “likes” his profile.  My son’s very sensible response to that:  He blocked the stranger, and then went and deleted his Facebook account.

Don’t whatsapp me.  I don’t have Whatsapp and am not intenting to get it.  Send me an sms or an email, or don’t bother.

Here’s how it works:

People who are your genuine friends may or may not see your kiddie pictures, and they may or may not click “like”, and they may or may not comment.  That’s not the point.  Instead, paedophiles, perverts and people in the human trade, in other words criminals, stalk the net to discover kiddie pictures that they like.  Then they have various choices.

Some pretend to be a teenager too, sometimes even a cute teenage girl (pictures they’ve stolen elsewhere), and approach your child (if your teen has a profile).  They make friends with your child and get themselves invited, and the next thing, crime, abduction, rape and death.  (There was a particularly bad case in Cape Town some years back where the sixteen-year-old invited her “friends” to visit while parents were not home; ended up raped and murdered, and they cut off and removed her arms (probably because she had defended herself and got some of their blood, i.e. DNA, under her fingernails).

Some, on the other hand, never contact your child.  They use hacking techniques to find the cellphone number of the child, then use the cellphone to determine where that child is (did you realize every cellphone is a tracking device by its very nature?), and abduct the child from school or wherever else.

Still in the mood for advertising your child online?


12 thoughts on “Evil Internet

  1. Sadly we didn’t even need the internet for such abuse though. A neighbour of ours fell in with the wrong set who imprisoned and tortured her and then finally killed her. We had been to this young woman’s 21st birthday party. We knew her and her parents well. This was say, nearly 20 years ago?

    The internet and MRA groups is having a detrimental effect on women. By which I mean, encouraging abuse, stalking, sexual crimes. Bad news.

    I fell out with blogger over their persistent requests for a mobile, FB doesn’t get it either. It’s sad to be verging on paranoid but privacy is privacy. Not what the internet tells us it is.

    • Real privacy is keeping one’s details to oneself. Absolutely.

      That is tragic, about your neighbour. It happened to one of our neighbour kids too, got in with the drug crowd and ended up murdered. :’-( Beautiful young girl with only 1 exam to go before completing her matric.

    • Yes. Poor Katy. Had a rebellious streak with her parents, moved out … didn’t help that she was mentally and physically disabled. First we knew was when I read it in the local paper. Couldn’t believe it 😦 The crims were the people and friends she had moved in with. It’s the sort of story horror novels are made of. Except it was true.

  2. As they are prone to say about guns, it’s people, not their devices that are dangerous. I wouldn’t touch Facebook with a ten foot cell phone. Like any jungle, the internet has wild animals and poisonous plants and people have to get used to the idea that any human advances have dangers. Nobody is ever totally safe but with care and a good deal of luck we can survive.

  3. I have Facebook as a promotional tool – same with Twitter, Linkdin (?), and two or three blog sites. My presence is very limited, however, I don’t remember ever being obliged to give a phone number, but I don’t really keep track of these things.

    My agent (our mutual friend) also has FB, maybe even uses it less than I do, but says he has had friend requests from many people he does not know, including a bevy of cute young women, none of whom he has ‘friended’. On a hunch, I have just checked my own record, and I see similar requests – both genders, people I have never heard of.

  4. This is one of any number of things with a serious potential hazard. It is one that also needs to be weighed up on the risk/freedom scale. Taken to excess, complete risk avoidance would mean being locked in a heavily guarded property 24 hours a day – and then a freak storm might happen anyway!

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