I Shouldn’t Have To Write This…

June 20th, 2011

As I sit down to write tonight, my heart is very heavy. What I am about to write, no one should ever have to write. This may seem to conflict what I posted last night, but I honestly think it goes perfectly together. Today, something happened… Something that really isn’t uncommon, unfortunately… But someone needs to say something, and hopefully this can help at least one person. Some people are going to call me paranoid, but I would rather be called paranoid and help one naive person out there, than sit here and say nothing at all. Because of my personal beliefs on this issue, I can’t sit here silently. So, please listen… especially young people.

Today, I was on Twitter, as I usually am. I refreshed my timeline. When you are following thousands of people the way I am, it’s always random people that pop up at the top. This time, there was a tweet, telling “Twitter” to block this one account, “because it’s just wrong.” I could tell by the (unnamed) username, that it was a bad profile. I clicked on the profile, and the things I read in the timeline were awful. This profile belonged to a pedophile. A very outspoken pedophile. I mentally noted that this person had 127 followers, and wasn’t sure (yet) how to report someone. I reported the account. I wasn’t the only one.

I looked through the following list, finding one young girl. She was following him, as well. I sent her a tweet, asking if she knew that a pedophile was following her. She seemed oblivious to the fact that there was anything suspicious, which is quite troubling. I hope he hasn’t found ‘enough’ information about her…

“It might just be a joke.”

It is never okay to joke about certain things, and this is one of them. I don’t care if it is a joke. What is being said is simply wrong. I can’t explain to you in a post, my feelings toward pedophiles. Hatred is not the right word, because I believe that the word ‘hate’ should never be used. I have a very strong dislike for preying on children. In real life or online. It sickens me. I know that some people  reading this might say, “are you really saying this?…” Look, no matter who, this is not okay, in any sense of the word. I am not going to make exceptions. Ever. I don’t care if you get offended by this. I look at it as, hate the sin, not the sinner. Quite literally, WWJD? God loves people, hates sin. Enough of confusing my regular, ‘in the dark’ readers. Let’s get to the real reason I am here.

Young girls: There are very bad people on the internet. Yeah, yeah, internet safety, we know. No, you clearly don’t know. I cannot tell you how many people have their real names attached to their Twitter accounts. Do you have any idea how easy it is to track down people with just a first and last name? Google can do that for you. Yes, even teenagers. Your name is likely attached to your school online somehow, and kids have been found this way. Don’t call me paranoid, there have been studies done on it.

First: PLEASE, children, take your names off your Twitter accounts, whether it be in the ‘name’ section, or your Twitter username. NEVER use your full name online… If your real name at all. There’s a reason that 90% of my readers don’t know my real name, and I simply go by ‘Munkie.’ Quite honestly, I have had an online stalker before … who turned into a real life stalker. Thankfully it wasn’t a dangerous stalker, but that isn’t always the case. I learned from my mistakes. PLEASE learn from mine…

Second: Be careful what you say and who you trust with even vaguely personal information. The things people ask may seem innocent, but they aren’t always. The things you say on Twitter (or online in general), show pedophiles (or stalkers in general, for the older generation), your habits. Your likes and dislikes. What you do. Where you go. It’s so easy to find someone. All they need is a name, and habits.

I can’t remember where I read about this, but I read of a girl who came home from school (it’s been a really long time, I hope this is accurate. It will get my point across) — She came home to a crying mother, and a policeman. The policeman told the girl that the online boyfriend she had had for 3 months, was actually him. It was some sort of study, to see how long it would take to track down a teenage girl. All he had was a first name, the mascot of her school (easy to track down,) the state she lived in, and that she was a cheerleader for the basketball team. And a picture, of course. With that information, it’s easy to figure out what town, what school, and — show up at the school, and you can figure out from the picture, who the girl is, ‘innocently’ watching a basketball game … picking her out from the cheerleaders.

I don’t want to scare anyone, but it really is that simple. It’s easy to lie on a screen. I found out personally how easy it really is, after thinking my friend was one person, and turned out to be quite another. It’s not all fun and games. You can have fun on the internet, but please, please, please, be careful. Text can be deceiving, and predators are out there. Sometimes, where you least expect them.

After today’s incident, I felt I had to speak up, because there are so many naive kids out there, using the internet. I cannot tell you enough, please be aware of who is reading what you say online.


2 Responses to “I Shouldn’t Have To Write This…”

  1. Kelly on June 20, 2011 10:52 pm

    I saw your tweet earlier to block that person and report the account. I agree that an individual like that needs to be blocked and internet safety is a major concern. I work in the web, software and IT field and to say that most people are uncautious is an understatement.

    I do use my real name, but I also focus solely on my technology space or communicating with friends. I rarely use Facebook; I use Twitter. I am visible in the technical community here in my city so people know me and look for me for links and technical content. But I also know how secure my accounts are. I take the time to learn; many do not.

    Kudos on submitting the request to Twitter and getting others to do so as well. Twitter and other social communities should be a free communication points, but not at the expense of promoting something illegal or immoral, or at the expense of any other individual.

    My 2 cents. Canadian.

  2. kevfrescongo on July 28, 2011 11:57 am

    social networking checks & balances w/a lil vigilance.

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