Everything You Don’t Know About Online Friends
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Please spread the word and remember that silence is an abuser’s best friend!
I have always tried to warn parents, caregivers, and children about the dangers of social networking “friends.” In reality, we don’t know these people. There are headlines almost every day of a sexual predator luring a child or an adult woman to her demise. We have websites that are designated for classified ads where serial rapists and killers have met their prey. There are dating sites that, really, cannot give us a true glimpse into the heart of the stranger behind the lovely keystrokes.
One of the finest examples of how well someone can fool anyone into believing in their goodness, while hiding their checkered and often times dangerous past, is my recent experience coming across my siblings’ Facebook pages.
I knew from a previous conversation with one of my sisters that her daughter had a Facebook page. Being the overprotective aunt (even though she’s an adult and quite capable of her own choices), I decided to check it out. I noticed my sister, her mom, on her friends list, so I hopped on over to check it out. Who wouldn’t?
Understand now that my siblings aren’t the brightest crayons in the box. They and about 98% of my cousins all seem to have been dropped on their heads many times in their infancy. I am by far the youngest of them all, my youngest sister being 10 years older than me and the oldest being 20 years older. And those cousins are their ages, as well. None of them know about the internet and how to use it, even though they’ve been using it longer than me and some work for companies where at least a basic knowledge of networking is required. Still, they must have to constantly flip through the manual because their lengthy experience doesn’t help when it comes to social networking and how easy it is to find people on the net. So, I found them, some cousins, and nieces with equally questionable pasts, all pretending to be someone they are not and all there for each other to verify their lies for the strangers on their lists.
Steadily, I peruse their social pages, which are completely open to the public, photos and all. There were comments of joy and love and respect from strangers who believed all of the lies on display for any one gullible enough to believe.
I read how one niece is on her 6th child out of wedlock with yet another drug dealer and her sister is engaged for the third time while dealing with a supposed stalking ex-husband. I know this but what the strangers see is one daughter’s “selfless love for children” and another’s “innocence in her struggles against her psychotic ex.” The strangers don’t see that the selfless love is that the girl cannot support her children she keeps having, but she finds a way to feed her drug habit and support her multiple boy friends. The strangers don’t see that the innocent victim of an ex has a habit of making false police reports to destroy the reputation of someone she plans to swindle. Both daughters have their own pages where they leave out the facts and have scores of support from strangers, who don’t realize they are condoning illegal activities.
On all of their page walls are post after post about God and how the bible is their guidebook for daily life. On my sister’s page is a string of posts by her about how only she is gifted with God’s light and how she can guide others to it because He called upon her to be his voice ….
In her work information section, she claims she works for local family services. This is a lie. She never has and with her record, she would never be allowed any position in children and family services. Of course, a stranger might feel safe to allow such a person to view their personal photos and read of their childrens activities.
Next, she has multiple posts of educational material to reiterate her claims as a homeschool teacher. What she fails to say is that she only home schools one of her daughter’s children, and this is because their fathers (each of her 6 children have separate dads) are drug dealers and are always threatening to kidnap their children. Yet, her daughter continues to be their very willing breeder. It is the money she makes putting her children in constant danger that allowed her to buy her mother a small tool shed to do the home schooling. This is the same little “school house” my sister brags about on her page.
Below each fraudulent post of hers are comments by the strangers on her list about how wonderful she is, about how she is a good Christian and walks in God’s glory. The woman these online friends are bestowing such praise as “following God’s path and speaking as his beacon” upon had a hand in selling her children for sex and child porn, arranging another of my sisters to be kidnapped and sold into child prostitution, setting up innocent people to try to get her son found innocent of his execution-style murder of a college student in a car jacking, and trying to arrange for me to be kidnapped and murdered at 14.
Unfortunately, there are other family members who participated in much of her illegal activities, so they award her the same praise and adoration. Why wouldn’t strangers believe her tales of an extraordinary pure life when family agrees with all she says? I can’t blame these strangers for feeling this lends credibility to her claims, but then, none of these people even know if the “family” commenting are real people. For all anyone knows, the family members could be fake accounts of my sister to manipulate the trust in others. I know these are my family leaving the comments, but strangers don’t and strangers don’t know that the family members praising my sister have just as much to fear from the law as she and her children.
You cannot know that the person you friend on any social site is who they say. It’s fine to be friendly, polite, enjoy good conversations, but there is no good excuse to give a complete stranger control over your private life. There is never a good reason to allow these strangers into the lives of your children.
When you post photos of your kids online, you are sharing their innocence with those hunting around social sites for such images. When such a person finds one who is so gullible to have such naive faith in the world wide web, they know getting to their children will be easy.
Create a page claiming to be a home schooling mom who adores God, lives life according to the bible, teaches at home to protect children from predators, and works with family services, and parents with an eagerness to hand their children over on a silver platter will swarm around that “Add as friend” button.
Little do these careless parents know that the predator behind the profile is collecting every story they tell of their child’s day at school, the names of friends the parents let slip in a funny anecdote, and photos of their children with the family pet and names in tags underneath.