This is a new series of articles (based on real cases) which are addressed towards children and teens and brought to you in collaboration with www.kellimni.com. This website is for young people who need someone to talk on various issues, while creating awareness among parents on what their children might be going through. Your feedback is welcome
Nowadays everybody uses computers and mobiles, nearly everyone has computers in their home, some lucky ones even have them in their room. One favourite way we teens have of spending our time is surfing the net, setting up pages on social networking sites or chatting. We even send huge amounts of SMS’s. Although these things make communicating with friends easy, they sometimes can be dangerous and things might get out of hand. This is what happened to me and I want to share it with you.
My parents let me join Facebook when I was 13. I was really excited because all my friends were on Facebook and that is all they talked about, adding friends, photos, farmville etc. I was really quick to add all the friends I could as it was a kind of competition, who had the most friends. I also added as many photos as I could, most of them of me posing with my friends at sleep overs, on the beach, at school, home and anywhere else that I thought was cool. Apart from adding friends, people also began to add me. What I did not realise was that I was adding people I did not know, to me what was important was the number of friends I had. I would check the age of who I added but that was about it.
One day I was chatting with friends online, when one of my ‘friends’ said ‘Hi Lisa’. I did not know who this person really was, only that he was 13 and looked really cute in his photo. I decided to answer and we chatted for about half an hour. He got a lot of information out of me through our chatting, like where I went swimming, where I lived, my mobile number, where I shopped for my mum, where I went to school. I did not know that he was not who he said he was. He began to send me text messages around 20 times a day and pretty soon, his messages began to get romantic. I was enjoying it since I thought he really liked me. After a while his messages began to freak me out. He started asking me weird things like ‘what was the colour of my underwear’, ‘did I like to touch myself?’ I was beginning to get really scared of him. I told my friends and they told me to tell my mum. I was too afraid of getting punished by her. I tried ignoring him, but he told me that he would come to my house if I did not answer him. What could I do? I eventually told my mum and she called his mobile. She found out he was really 35. She told him that she was going to report him to the police and they are now handling it. Thankfully he has stopped contacting me.
Things to Think About:
Do you add people to your friends list who you do not really know?
Do you add photos that might be too personal for everyone to see?
Do you give out personal information ?
Do you understand the dangers of social networking sites and online chatting?
Have you ever been pressured into giving out information you have not wanted to?
Are you aware that any information, photos etc you put on the internet is available to the whole wide world?
A video in Maltese on this subject can be seen below