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Stolen Tears: The Dangers Of Facebook

Posted by Safer Internet Day // Diwrnod Defnyddio'r Rhyngrwyd yn Fwy Diogel from Gwynedd - Published on 12/02/2014 at 11:55
5 comments » - Tagged as Health, People, Technology

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Posted by caraphernelia from Cardiff

So, I’ve always known how dangerous the internet can be. And I don’t think people realise how dangerous it really can be if you get into the wrong situation.

I think people should be taught more about how horrible it can be getting into the wrong situation. This article is just to prove how dangerous it can be.

Many teenagers and adults meet people online, whether they are friends or sometimes even in relationships, but sometimes it can end badly. On the internet you can hide your identity.

About a year ago, my close friend Abby started a relationship. I was over the moon for her, as she needed someone to be there for her, to care for her. She told me straight-away that she’d met him online; his name was Dave. They’d known each other for four years and been together before this time. I told her to be careful, and of course to make sure she doesn’t arrange to meet up with him alone. But she didn’t; in fact she never met him at all.

About four months into the relationship, Dave told her he got accepted into university near where she lived and she was the happiest I’ve ever seen her. She rang me a few times telling me how excited she was for September and even I started to believe this guy was real.

Three months before Dave was due down, he added me on Facebook. So, I accepted him. I can’t remember how it happened but me, Abby, Dave and his other friend Luke all became friends. We would just talk to each other every now and then. But after a while I thought something wasn’t right. Luke also added me, which I thought was okay because again I’d heard of him, I’d spoken to him through Abby and thought that it would be okay. But, I was wrong.

Shortly after this, Abby got a message from Luke saying that Dave had been rushed into hospital after getting beat up by some people while walking home. She was devastated and was a wreck. But, Dave recovered.

Everything went back to normal. But Abby and Dave split up. Dave told her that his Grandad had died; he became depressed and couldn’t take it any more. Everyone tried to help him, but Luke told us a few weeks later he’d taken his own life. We were shocked, but nothing could be more shocking than what we were to found out.

One night, Luke started a conversation with me, begging for someone to talk to, so of course I agreed. He sent me a huge paragraph saying how he felt. Some of the it read as follows:

“Just, its probably silly that everything that happened with him is only now starting to really get to me.
like, im falling behind in uni because I can't physically do the work, I can never sit through a whole lecture and I keep breaking down every single day I just cry
and I feel so alone, none of my family are up here and when I try and talk to them they tell me to just let go, my friends don't speak to each other anymore and they all try and ignore the fact hes gone.
I have disappointed him because me and his ex fell out :// and all I do is cry. and I can't cope with anything anymore, speaking to someone face to face is now an impossible task and yeah..x”

I didn’t really know what to say, but I continued to help him for three months or so. He would talk to me every week, just having a general conversation about how he felt because he knew he could trust me.

Abby and I were shocked, her more so than I, as they had a stronger connection. She sent flowers for Dave’s funeral and sent a speech hoping they’d arrive. She messaged his aunty providing her support and sent her a speech to read.

Months went past and it was settling in a bit more. But in Abby’s suggested friends, an account came up, which was one of Dave’s friends that she thought she knew. She clicked on it and noticed it wasn’t the account this girl she knew had. So she looked through all of her friends and saw accounts for every person who was related to the boy who “died”. As we continued to look we noticed an account of Dave who died, but with a different name. We clicked on it and there were the exact same pictures and he was definitely alive. We didn’t know what to think at first: Anger? Hate?

One of her friends messaged the real guy who Dave was pretending to be, explaining what had happened. At first he was blunt and didn’t believe her but after a while he realised the truth of the situation. She asked him to prove he was real by taking a photo of himself with a smiley face on his hand; he did it.

We had realised the people who we had spoke to weren’t who they said they were. And the real people were in fact the ones that we recently found.

I couldn’t understand why they would do what they had done so I spoke to Luke, the person who sent me the paragraph asking for my help. I asked why they’d done it and I didn’t get any answers. All he said was they were sorry and admitted that they were fake and that there was more than one of them in on it. He also admitted the flowers that my friend had sent for the funeral were just sent to a random address.

The thing that scares me the most is how wrong this could have ended if we hadn’t found the real accounts. Also how believable he made it that he was upset about the death. They have deleted every one of the fake accounts, so I guess I’ll never find out the truth about everything but all I know is that they are fakes and worked hard to make Abby believe that Dave was in love with her. They made so many accounts and put so much effort into living other people’s lives. They made the aunty and about four other friends.

If anything this is a story that I can tell, to stop children, adults and everyone in general from talking to people they don’t know. I was never properly close to any of the fake accounts involved but I know people who were and they are devastated that the people they trusted have done this to them. It’s a life lesson if nothing else, about how dangerous the internet can really be and how people can hide their identities so easily when they are on a computer.

The names in this article have been changed.

Info Â» Family & Relationships Â» What to do if something goes wrong

Info Â» Health Â» Emotional and Mental Health Â» Depression

Info Â» Law & Rights Â» Victims of Crime Â» Personal Safety

Info Â» Health Â» Emotional and Mental Health Â» Suicide

Events Â» April's 2013 Sprout Editorial Group Meeting

Articles Â» Categories Â» Technology

On the Web Â» Safety Information

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Photo Credit: Neilwill via Compfight cc

5 CommentsPost a comment

Sam Sprout (Editor)

Sam Sprout (Editor)

Commented 37 months ago - 12th April 2013 - 12:18pm

Wow, this is crazy! Thank you so much for sharing with TheSprout.

I hope everyone who reads this has a quick look at our small info section on online safety and also regularly checks their privacy settings on Facebook. Remember only add people you know IRL and hit that report abuse button when things start going wrong.

Sam Sprout (Editor)

Sam Sprout (Editor)

Commented 37 months ago - 12th April 2013 - 12:22pm

SamuelPatterson

SamuelPatterson

Commented 37 months ago - 16th April 2013 - 14:05pm

Reminds me a bit of the Gemma Barker case. Look it up.

caraphernelia

caraphernelia

Commented 37 months ago - 16th April 2013 - 16:58pm

@stormer007- Yeah I've heard about that case before, it was crazy.

JustNotNormal

JustNotNormal

Commented 37 months ago - 18th April 2013 - 12:53pm

some people have no respect for others online.

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