How many people are foolish enough to talk to strangers over the internet and reveal details about themselves with no second guessing themselves? Well enough to make a television show that is for sure. Ever heard of the television show on MTV called “Catfish”? Well if you haven’t there is an original movie where a guy named Nev thinks he is building an online relationship with a family and a romantic relationship with their daughter. But nine months into this journey he starts to do some investigating and realizes that everything is a lie and the woman Angela created a ton of fake profiles to create this fake life. He then creates a television show in which he tries to help others meet their online “loves.” Some of these people are engaged but they have never physically seen the person who they fell in love with online. In many cases they have never spoken to them on the phone either. Some turn out to be success stories but the majority turns out to be fake people. It is a pretty funny and entertaining show but these people along with many others are being naïve with their use of the internet.

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Growing up online my parents always preached to not enter online chat rooms, do not talk to strangers and do not give anyone personal information about yourself. I remember back in middle school I had a MySpace and many strangers would always message me saying how I was beautiful and the most gorgeous person ever and how I should model. Creepy thing is I was like 13 at the time and they looked like they were 50 and married with children. No thank you but I think I will pass on having a potential online stalker.  My freshmen year of high school Chat Roulette became popular. If you don’t know what Chat Roulette is it is video chatting with strangers. You can skip people or stay and talk to them. Chat Roulette hosts people from old creeps, to young creeps, to people playing practical jokes, to celebrities and then normal kids who had nothing better to do. The internet hosts so many opportunities for people to interact with strangers and many kids think that it is harmless. Little do they know how dangerous it can be. Fall into a chat room with the wrong person and reveal a little too much about yourself and you will be stuck in a situation you will regret. Some kids are just dumb about it and when a “hot kid” with ten friends adds them they jump for joy, but they aren’t at all sketched out by the fact that they only have three pictures and ten friends (and which none of them that user knows). For me this is an instant decision to block that person because it could be a cop making a fake profile or a pedophile/creep.

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Many of these websites have warning features that tell you not to trust everyone you talk to online but many kids ignore this and do not read them. I found an MSN survey that said 44% of children lied about their ages online. 75% of children have received messages from strangers and about 40% have responded to these messages. Have these children learned nothing in school? When I was in elementary school we were brainwashed with this awesome online Disney game that taught you about computer safety and not talking to strangers. Maybe younger kids just don’t care or schools stopped using these tactics but I think they need to stress computer safety to children. Facebook has been adjusting their safety features but this is not enough. Unfortunately when it comes to the internet there will always be some hacker somewhere that is able to hack your Facebook and find out about you. Privacy does not really exist on the internet and many people are not able to understand this. In the future I believe that privacy will just continue to deteriorate until it no longer exists.

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