The Social Network

This story is based on a real life incident
This post has received appreciation from Blogadda:
"Varsha has addressed a very real concern in today’s world where people seem to live virtual lives. While we all know that it is important to be careful while making “friends” online, as Varsha rightly says, better safe, than sorry – be cautious what you say. Because the internet has the good, the bad and sometimes the very ugly. Very good read, Varsha! Keep writing."

I am sure many people have read the incidents related to cyber crime or internet stalking. But I want to narrate a real life incident related to this.

This incident happened at the time when the social networking sites had just emerged in the internet world. People were getting used to the sites like orkut, facebook and other sites like Google sites etc. I was living in a shared accommodation with my friends. One of my friend was bit naive for this internet and world wide web and she decided to open her account in these websites. I was bit reluctant though for creating my account. I asked her the advantages of using this online social site.

"Well for starters we get to know where our old buddies are and we can get in touch with them", she said. I agreed to this. " Next is we can share our thoughts and feelings and also this gives us a chance to connect with some new people you see", she said. Well for me I don't need new people in my life through internet. I don't even know where they are located and I feel these kind of relationships sucks. I thought for me its a bad idea so I wasn't still convinced about creating my account.

"Hey see this.. I made 10 new friends online", she told me one day. She showed their info and what they were doing. Couple of them shared their email ids with my friend and she had already added them in her yahoo messenger. I warned her that it might not be so safe to chat with some unknown person. But she didn't care about my words and she started creating her detailed profiles and shared her personal information as well.

She told me about a guy who is interested in her. She was talking to him online since one month and she felt like she is falling in love with him - ONLINE !! After couple of days she told me that she was going for a date. It was with the same guy whom she met online. She didn't know about the guy much and that was their first official meeting. I saw her laptop and found out where she was going. Somehow, I sensed some danger and I went out with couple of my friends to the place where she was supposed to meet him. When I went there I found out that she was made to take drugs at a local pub and the guy with whom she was hanging out had all her belongings. She was in an unconscious state when he took her inside a hotel, we immediately informed the cops who came to the site within couple of mins and we were able to track him down ! They came to know that the guy was a local city resident who is a criminal. He used to trap pretty girls in the pub and allegedly raped them and stole their belongings.

We all were so relieved that our friend was safe. Later, I found out that she was too much into the networking sites and she had made so many online friends and shared all her information. The guy had come to know that she is alone and looking for a new relationship. She used to post all her pictures in the profile album which anyone could access. We traced couple of fraud profiles who were using her photos to do illegal things like prostitution. She felt a deep remorse for what happened due to the misuse of the social networking sites. This was an eye opening incident for all the girls in our group.

Social networking is the invention that has attracted many youths and adults in this generation. They bring all kinds of people from any race or religion in one place and let them interact. But as we know, every coin has two sides. The negative shades we can find in using this technology is online dating, free broadcast of news that can be used by others to blackmail you, scams & harassment etc. We should be very careful while posting our information on these sites. Nowadays, because of the security reason the sites provide good features like you have the control on allowing people to view your information. You can block anonymous people in getting your information. There are eyes everywhere on the internet. The content you post is read by many people so its our responsibility to make sure that we restrict people reading all the information.

Moreover, stuff like online dating and building relationships is crap. We don't even know the person who is talking to us is giving a genuine information. Unfortunately, the internet has made it easy for individuals to claim to be someone they are not. This not only leads to disappointment when we find out, it could also lead to danger. We cannot foresee what is going to happen but at least we can prevent ourselves by not falling on any of these traps. We should realize that there is no truth in online dating.

There are many youngsters out there these days who make online friends and find online dating interesting. They make new friends by accepting friend requests sent by people who have joined same community or just anonymously they find your profile. Please be very sure before adding any anonymous person, since he is going to get all your personal info like name, email address, place etc. Also, keeping identity theft in mind we should not be providing all our personal details on our profile. There are so many people involved in stealing identity and making use of that in all types of illegal activities that might cause added trouble.

So people, stay online but be safe ! Remember its always better to be safe than sorry !!!!

This article is written for "Good over bad" contest at BlogAdda.
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  1. That was a nice one Raniii or Varsha, or Varsha raniiii? :S
    on a serious note, it was a good read
    'its always better to be safe than sorry' - very true

  2. Raniii,
    your friend should be thanking the good lord that she has sensible and concerned friends like you. It is naive girls like her that fall prey to such evil men. You have indeed exemplified the victory of good over evil! BRAVO girl... and ATB for the contest. For me ur already a WINNER..:D

  3. Thanks Muddasir.. these things are common these days but in my case the incident happened when the dotcom world was at the blooming stage..

    Thanks Vibhuti.. i m very honored.. I thought i deviated frm the topic but blogadda mentioned that we can write about any incident.. so this striked up to my mind..

  4. @Raniiiiiiii: A very well narrated incident and one that is true in a lot of cases... people do not realize what dangers they put themselves into while carelessly pasting their IDs on social networking sites... I too know a similar case, though would not delve into it. But you can not make the tweens of today realize the dangers of such a case! Alas!

    PS: Did you know that YOU are sharing your mail ID in blogger profile?

  5. haha yeah Aashish.. but its not my actual gmail id.. so that's fine..

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