The issue of crime that has begun over the internet has been increasingly becoming an issue as social networks gain in popularity. People can easily use internet to hide behind and cause destruction is someone else’s life. I remember how bad it was when I was in elementary school, and at that age I didn’t even own a cell phone, or have a Facebook. The bullying was done thorough AIM, with fake screen names. Now, the harassment has become even more wide spread, and the targets stretch as far as race, religion, sexuality, or just plain based off of looks. I remember another 6th grader faking a screen name, and pretending to be a girl who bullied her in school. She was too scared to retaliate in person, and so she hid behind a screen and caused destruction. At dinner tonight, I asked my parents how they felt about crime over the internet, and my mom said, “Well I know it gets worse and worse. People now don’t even feel safe in their own homes because they can get harassed while just sitting at their desk in their room.” This is true, and worse than ever, people can’t find a way to deal with it, or a way to feel safe, and so they take their own life. I’m sure any Rutgers student recalls the story of Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after being secretly filmed as harassed based off of his sexuality. The university has actually taken measures to ensure an incident like this does not occur again. An article online explains how the school is naming the new anti-bullying center after Tyler Clementi.
Anyone who has a facebook or twitter has joked about “stalking” another person. Maybe a friend, or a guy you like. It could be someone you dislike, and you’re just looking for things to make fun of about them, using their own private photos, comments of life events to center your jokes around. What happens, however, when the stalking becomes a little more serious, and starts online, but finished some where else? My parents have always encouraged me to keep all my profiles private, and except only people I know and talk to. I obviously only accept people I know, but I’ve come in contact with a lot of people in my life… and how many of them do I really really know? When the state of New Jersey passed a law that underage driver’s needed to keep a red sticker on the back of their car, my parents wouldn’t abide by it. My mom thought it put a target on my back. What if I was heading to the mall, and I was essentially saying “Hey, Im underage.” Not everyone in the world has a hidden agenda, but I’ve seen the news, and there are enough people to scare me. If I don’t want a target on my back, then I certainly need to keep my private life private. I know I especially shouldn’t be posting my whereabouts online. You never know a person’s intentions until its too late. The Internet is a safe house for creeps with fake accounts and bad intentions.
Identity theft happens every day, and is reliant solely on a person’s ability to pretend that they are someone else. Crime happens online everyday, whether it be a form of cyber-bullying, stalking, or theft. It is hard to keep your private life private when so much of it is blasted on the internet. Its important to remind yourself that not everyone has good intentions, and its not always safe online. Keep those you trust close, and as for everyone else, if you haven’t met them… or don’t really know them, do your best to stay clear. Even by taking every precaution out there… danger still lurks. Don’t be a victim of the Internet.