The internet is a fascinating place, isn't it? It's like visiting another country without having to pack your bags or get a passport. And it's so convenient. You visit it when you want, as often as you want without waiting to catch a flight or worrying about hotel reservations. Heck, you can visit it wearing whatever you want.
The internet is a marvelous get-together for people from all over the world, and you can make some truly wonderful friendships in chat rooms, forums, social groups, and gaming rooms. You can display any picture you want of yourself (or likeness thereof). You can ask questions about anything and get instant answers.
But is it truly safe? Should you let your guard down when talking to your newest best buddie or your soul mate that you discovered online? For the most part, yes, it's safe if you take certain precautions. The key is to remember that whom you talk to may not be who they say they are. How would you know? By their picture? But you can post any picture of anyone you want.
Let's look at some of the bad boys (and girls) of the internet.
Trolls (trolling). These are people who post inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community to provoke readers into an emotional response. Nasty little creatures.
Have you run into one? I have.
Chicken Littles. These are people who like to use scary stories to upset everyone or cause a lot of chatter away from the current conversation. "have you heard about the virus in Facebook?! Don't select 'yes' on this app!" "Everyone! My system just notified me someone in this room is planting a bug on all our computers! Get out now!"
I've had many friends use this. They believe what someone told them. Me? I listened to my son. I check all these out on Urban Legends, Snopes. Most of the time, they're false. I got one recently that a Vietnam Vet said Target does not support vets. Checked it out at Urban Legends. FALSE, it said, and explained why.
Flamers (flaming). This is described as hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. The person who starts this type of behavior is motivated to incite flaming in the chat room.
Been there. Seen that.
Flamebait. A message posted to an Internet discussion group to incite flaming.
Why? Because this group of people thrill in watching Internet users become angry and fight it out.
I say, never give anyone your power. Walk away.
Grammar Nazis. For those of us who remember the atrocities of WWII and the frightening videos of inhumane treatment of humans, well, it's a tough title to grasp - and so are the Grammar Nazis videos.
Who are Grammar Nazis? They point out every single little grammar mistake of others, interrupting the chat. Or worse yet, leaving the comment on someone's blog. They are the 'superior race of grammars' and so darn irriating.
They remind me of trying to speak French to some French people, who stop you at every word to pronounce it correctly or to correct your grammar. Takes an hour to get through a sentence.
Rager. People you meet on online who seem really nice at first. After a while, all they do is bring up subjects, ranting about them, interrupting the chat room.
Angry Commenter. This person doesn't even make an attempt to be nice; just leaves the rudest of comments on your blog or the forem.
Ever happen to you? I've had a couple of friends this has happened to. Ruins your day if you let it. But these two individuals were too smart to let it. Just delete the comment.
Fisking. Point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors of a blog entry. I will add in reviews of books. I just read one review left for an author that I must say was just the dumbest reason to not like the book. I read another by a person who hates e-pub books for not going through the traditional publishing industry and leaves ranting comments about it while never even read the books.
Why? Because they feel like it and have the attitude of 'you don't know who I am so I am just going to say this because I'm in a bad place' syndrome.
Always check the majority of reviews.
Smack Talk. Using threatening or intentionally inflammatory language. Yes, sigh, they're out there. Don't give them your power. Walk away. What they want is for you to respond, so DON'T!
Virus Attacker. Sends out cutesy email chain letters with a virus attached. Or in a chat room or forum, asks you to check out their site (which has a virus waiting just for you).
Don't go to these sites if you don't know or don't trust the person. Do not open chain email no matter how obligated you feel to the person. It's not worth a virus or more severe attacks.
A common one is on Twitter where someone hacks another's account and sends you an email saying 'such and such site posted something nasty about you.' If you go there, you're sure to get a virus. Ignore it.
Solicitors. Not bad enough they knock on our doors and call us on the phone. Now they solicit in chat rooms and forums, and even emails. Ignore them. They're bad salesmen if this is their technique, so whatever they are selling can't be much better.
The other form of this is 'I just found out my sister's baby is very sick and may die. They have no money so I'm doing a donation for them.'
Really? You're going to give them your credit card number? You're actually going to donate without checking the story out? Come on! Not everyone on the internet is as honest as you.
Munchhausen Victim. makes up stories on the Internet to get attention. An example of this is the woman who recently posed as a 16 year old girl with Leukemia.
Wikipedia has many examples and a better definition:
Take a look at it. You'll be surprised what people come up with.
Impatient Poster. This person posts or comments, and when no one answers quickly, becomes frustrated or angry and voices it. 'What? No one there?'
The Sad Life Poster. There is always something wrong or sad in the life of this person. It never stops either. It's constant.
Why? This is an attention seeker who needs everyone's attention. It is like a 'high' to them. Don't respond and don't friend them. Believe me on this. Don't friend them or it could turn into the next group.
The Stalkers. The Internet is full of them, folks. More than you can imagine. Let's take a look at some types.
Love Obsession Stalker. This person becomes obsessed with a person whom thay have no intimate or close relationship to. This person believes he/she has a special or mystical tie to the victim. Any contact by the victim is seen as an invitation to continue the pursuit.
Delusional Stalker. They have some false belief that keeps them tied to their victims. (similar to above Love Obsessed).
False Victim Stalker. This person noticed how kind and considerate someone else was to him/her, when he/she presented himself as a victim sometime in the past. They take immense pleasure from being cared for and being the center of attention. They are known to file fake police claims of injustices done to them. When not paid attention to, they will use any means to get the attention of this person, or to find a new person while still pursuing this victim. They never let go.
Be afwaid. Be vawy vawy afwaid.
Our last group is the worst.
Predators. Gives you shivers, doesn't it? They do exist.
The first predator is the Impersonator. They pretend to be someone they're not. For instance, an older man pretending to be a teenager. A man pretending to be a woman or a young girl. Trust me, women are in on this game too.
From a year ago:
Last night’s 20/20 on ABC (March 19, 2010) featured a story about an online romance that started on XXX and ended in murder. The story of TalHotBlondbig50 and MarineSniper1000 started innocently enough, as a chance encounter in one of XXX’s Teens game rooms, but it became a story of jealousy, murder, and deception. 20/20′s web site features a few articles that tease the reader to view the show, which aired last night, but so far the videos aren’t online yet.
As luck would have it, i play in this game place so I X'd out the name. This happened a year or so ago. Turns out MarineSniper 1000 was really an older man pretending to be a young Marine. Her husband found out about the affair...
Cyberstalker. They stalk or harrass individuals or groups. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, sex soliciations.
Internet Stalker. They practice malice and repetition, attaching themselves obsessively to an individual. (An Obsessive follower is the same.)
Online Predators. Often this deals with stalking children. This happens all too often. I won't go into this because there is so much info out there. But if you have an underage child, please watch what they do on the computer.
Cyberpath. This is a psychopath who uses the internet to find, stalk, and exploit others.
Online predators and stalkers often do not have lives of their own. They live in the world of the Internet.
Why have I brought up this subject? Well, I or my friends have run into many of these types before.
But I now have a stalker.
If that stalker is reading this, leave me alone. Your friend is right. I am no longer your friend. Do not follow me into other chat areas and quit trying to reach me, and especially quit sending me emails that I will not read. I refuse to have anything to do with you. Understand that and move on.
To all my friends and followers, be careful online. Be careful who you friend. Not everyone is who they seem to be.
LHR my dear friends and PAWS for Success.