Risks online- cyber bullying and fake identities

Childline explains that cyber bullying (also called ‘online bullying’) is “when a person or a group of people uses the internet, email, online games or any other kind of digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else.” That is one of the many risks online but surely it’s extremely serious. There are a lot of sites where people can read about how to stop cyberbullying and take due precautions. First step it taking safe measures like make your social networking profiles private and not accept people that you don’t know in real life. Next, always remember that the ‘block’ button exists and you can block anyone who annoys or bullies you. No matter if someone talks abusive about you in real life or online it still hurts. It may lead to lower self-esteem and even cases when people wanted to end their lives exist. At the end of the day you may ask yourself “why is this person acting like that?, Why is he bullying me online?”. Truth is, online you can be whoever you want. You can talk nasty about people and think that there will be consequences because it is not face-to-face. Internet empowers people and they feel invincible. What they don’t understand is that their words and actions online may have consequences offline. How to stop it? There are a few things you can do:

  • report bullying and the account of the person will be deleted
  • delete the person and ensure by doing so that he will never be able to get in touch with you
  • try to talk to the person and understand why he does it. Maybe he has serious problems and bullying others online makes him feel better.

I have spoken about Catfish in a previous post but this time I will look at it more deeply.

The TV show has 2.5 million viewers in its return, “winning the day in its sought-after 12-34 demographic.” It has such a big rating among this demographic because when a person is young he is more likely to face the ‘catfish’ phenomenon. By creating fake profiles on social networking sites, these predators trick people into thinking that they are someone else entirely. They choose a random person’s photos, create an imaginary friend list and pick jobs that they wish they had in real life. Some people do it because they are too shy to speak in person or because they don’t like their looks. Others, for more selfish reasons like revenge or to steal someone’s money.

Long story short: This woman had 2 failed marriages, but still believed in love so she decided to join a dating website. There she met a “really good looking guy” who said he was a widower. They started talking on the phone and she developed feelings about him. At one point, he asked her to send him money and so she did, because she was in love with him. They’ve actually never met and over a period of time she has sent him over 1,4 million dollars. Now, every reasonable person will think that this is an online scam and this person is not who pretend he is, but this woman truly believes that he is telling the truth and his stories are legit. The UK financial website of the year, www.thisismoney.com  revealed a list of the top 10 online scams. Number 5 is dating scam that “involves the befriending of a victim over social networking or chat rooms and, after a relationship is struck, they use emotive reasons to persuade the victim to send money.” It may sound unbelievable that there are people who fall for this type of scam but if a person finds his “soulmate” or believes he has, he is willing to do everything to make his partner feel him better. Even if that means sending him over a million dollars. In most cases, individuals must look critically at people they meet online and rarely trust them. Moreover, after they have been a victim to cyber crime change their behavior for the better and try to help other people who might be facing the same problem.


Is online dating destroying love? </3

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“Every era has its own utopian possibilities: ours is the chance to make our lives more bearable through technology.” says Emily Witt. Without doubt, the internet now composes an irreplaceable part of people’s lives. Since 1995 when www.match.com was launched, people use the internet for finding partners by registration in dating sites. The most popular ones are www.okcupid.com, www.mysinglefriend.com, www.plentyoffish.com or www.zoosk.co.uk . The question is why singles find it easier to communicate and flirt online rather than offline. Is it simpler to approach the opposite sex on the internet? Do people find it less complicated to chat with strangers on dating sites or apps? What are the problems, are there any risks related to them? Is this the future of relationships?

According to a study 85% of singles say that meeting people through online dating is socially acceptable. And 67% of singles know couples who’ve met through online dating. To begin with, when a person is on the internet he can relieve his true self and be 100% honest, because he will communicate with someone who doesn’t know anything about him and has never seen him. Also, online there is no shines or fear that the person sitting on the other side of the computer is not looking for a relationship. The simple act of registering in a dating site means he is. Online dating offers the chance to remove obstacles such as distance, work field or time and offers users millions of potential partners.  Dating sites are growing at 70% a year in the US, which undoubtedly increases the opportunity to meet the man/woman of your dreams. Of course, not every date is going to be worth it, and surely not every person met online will take part of your life. Tinderella (the name of the dating app Tinder+ well known fairytale princess Cinderella) and Soon2becatlady are bloggers who posts their dating stories or interesting, creepy and funny messages that they have received online. They update their blogs frequently, give advices on how to communicate best in dating sites/apps and answer reader’s questions.

Women like them know that even if there are thousands people registered in a particular date site or app is it extremely hard to find someone who is worth spending time with. Although, these types of sites have an algorithm-based service or in other words, the match is based on a questionnaire that each person has to complete before making a profile, they are not 100% accurate. Another issue is that there are so many profiles which make it absolutely impossible to choose from. Usually, most people try to represent themselves as perfect. In their description they are likely to write things like charming, good-looking, with stable job, good sense of humor, sporty. Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics suggests the main problem is that dating sites assume that if you have seen a person’s photo and have read his profile information you know everything about him. And this statement can’t be more wrong. He comments: “They think that we are like digital cameras, that you can describe somebody by their height and weight and political affiliation and so on. But it turns out people are much more like wine. When you taste it, you could describe it, but it’s not a very useful description. But you know whether you like it or not. And it’s the complexity and the completeness of the experience that tell you if you like a person or not.” This is one of the reasons why a lot of people don’t find online dating effective. Besides all that, the risk that people are not always who they present to be cofffnstantly exists. For example, you may think that you are chatting with 25 years old blonde female while on the other side of the computer is sitting a 64 year old unemployed male. With reference to this, In 2012 was the premier of the American reality TV show Catfish which talks about the truth and lies in online dating. Each episode follows the story of two people who met through social media from their first chat until they meet face to face. Sometimes the story has a happy ending and others, like stated before the person that shows up has nothing to do with the online profile he made for himself.

To sum up, online dating sites fill people with both hopes and disappointments and will probably continue to do so in the future. No matter how many risks they conceal, they are the new way people find love and create sustainable relationships.

Are online dating sites increasing chances of finding Prince Charming? Or maybe they are only increasing chances of passing him by while we are in front of the computer and he is sitting in the bar downstairs looking… for us? Each person can decide for himself.

Me? I decide to agree with Ariely and his theory of wine. So please, excuse me but I will go downstairs to get a glass of wine. And then … who knows 😉


Resources: 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n20/emily-witt/diary

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/06/is-online-dating-destroying-love

http://www.datingsitesreviews.com/staticpages/index.php?page=Online-Dating-Industry-Facts-Statistics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLoRPielarA

Blogs:

http://tinderellanyc.com/category/tinderellas-dating-stories/

http://soon2becatlady.com/