29 April, 2010
How safe are Internet Friendships?
It’s a fragile world out there...
And even more fragile is our reputation and lives!
This morning a piece of news in the paper quite got me into my thinking mode:
Two girls, aged 18 and 19, belonging to the small town of Mughal Sarai, travelled all the way alone by train, to reach Greater Noida at 6 p.m.
*That’s not the news, by the way!*
They told their parents they had to give a scholarship exam in Delhi!
The truth was they had befriended two boys...rather men over the internet, had several chats and phone conversations, following which they dared coming all the way to a big, unknown city, to meet and stay with their so-thought boyfriends over the weekend!
The two girls were gang raped repeatedly over the night...left physically and emotionally scarred for life!
They were raped not just by these two men in question, but also by two more of their drunken friends, all of whom were waiting for these girls to arrive and tear them apart!
Next morning, meaning to drop them at a bus stop to sneak the girls back home, the culprits were caught, when the victims raised an alarm, noticing a police van!
It made me wonder for a long, long time after reading this short piece:
How safe are net friendships?
Are Facebook, Orkut, Myspace and the whole other plethora of social networking sites, making indecent proposals easier?
Is love the convenient excuse now to get free and hassle-less sex?
Is everyone out here projecting what they really are, or how they want the world to view them?
In this case above...
Of course the boys are to be largely blamed for playing with the innocence and humility of young, dreamy eyed girls...
Misleading these little ones, just out of school, with mush talk and convince them they were their Prince Charming!
But then what about the girls? How much is this their fault?
I questioned and cross questioned my own notions and judgements:
They were just small town kids...easily fooled...love struck n wanting some adventure!
And then again...
18 is not a small age!
You can legally vote or get married at 18!
The constitution seems to think you are old enough to take your decisions but that newspaper seems to project, also stupid enough to not know what awaited you once you reached over to someone’s apartment to live with two random strangers!
And these girls cannot really be termed ignorant or stupid....for they managed to travel so far alone and also dupe their unsuspecting parents, didn’t they?
It’s a bad and dangerous world out there and one wrong step could get a vulnerable soul sinking into a bottomless pit!
People operating with false identities...
People sending all kind of sexed up addendums on these sites...
People indulging in mindless double meaning talk on their status or inboxes...
How much is really too much?
When should we be alarmed that someone’s crossing the line on the pretext of just having fun and when should we ignore thinking that’s the way the modern world works?
Is it very difficult to trust anyone who wants things/information to remain hidden about him.
No real name on the account!
Maybe even fake pictures!
Not ready to openly communicate!
When you don’t have the guts to show your real self to the world...stay hidden...we don’t really wanna see you either!
A few bad fish spoil the whole pond!
We jeopardise the chance of forging genuinely nice friendships because generally not so nice people use the medium for cheap thrills!
The gift of the gab hides their evil countenance and murkier intentions!
Personally speaking, I have met and made great friends for life through the internet!
Friends who make everyday happier n brighter by their mere but constant virtual presence!
But I also would like to quote here a not so good experience I had, with the hope that it might help someone somewhere get more cautious!
I added a girl-Shupriya on to my Facebook friend’s list after I interacted with her a couple of times on a common girl-friend’s status!
She seemed nice and sweet and very appreciative of me!
She often commented on my status and sometimes sent me random messages to come online and chat!
I avoided for a long time having no inclination or time for it...but then not to sound arrogant and pompous, I gave in after a while and we chatted a couple of times!
She had put up some 80 pictures of hers and said she lived in the States!
She wore tiny clothes and well displayed her assets!
She also liked to talk about them, her boyfriends and gradually asked me about my life with my husband and how I seemed to keep him so happy?
In all my dumb magnanimity and feeling poor-lost-helpless-girl, I told her a few random bits. She also more than unabashedly praised my looks and body!
I felt uncomfortable and avoided her thinking she was a lesbian!
She soon added more of my girlfriends onto her list! I always felt a twinge of unease about this but refrained from doing anything thinking I was probably over reacting and also that if I’d ignore, she’d remain normal.
Then one day, I got a message from one of my school friends that madam Shupriya was having pictures of some other girl on her account named Divya- a resident of Bangalore and known to her common friend.
My friend asked how I knew Shupriya, what all I know of her and what should we do now! I realized then that I knew nothing except what she told me!
Before the shock could register in, another message came from her, within seconds that the Facebook profile in the name of Shupriya Sirkaar had been deleted. Somehow Shupriya had got to know that her game was out n disappeared without a trace! After that all the other girls whom she had befriended on my list were suitably warned by me. Now they all came up with retorts like ‘yes, she was kinda weird and kinky’!
In all probability Shupriya Sirkar was a man!
She had easy access to our lives, pictures, friends and family and everything else that we put up on those social networking sites!
Such is the risk that we put ourselves to!
Such are the risks we must be aware of before jumping onto the bandwagon of creating more and more friendships with random strangers!
It is called the world wide web...and perhaps for a good reason!