And how damaging is that?
Readers may know that I have wondered whether teens would be helped by courses in internet studies One problem, I found, is that too many such courses seemed to be encouraging teens to “succeed” on the internet. Not enough seem to teach caution about the many scams (click farms, for example).
Of course, cautionary tales are sometimes scoffed away. But here’s one sensible teens should pay attention to: People who are breaking our hearts may not even exist. Buzzfeed has a great example of that:
Everyone knows that on the internet, it’s possible to pretend to be someone you’re not. For many people, that’s part of the appeal. There’s a whole TV series, MTV’s Catfish, based on people using false personas to lure others into handing over their cash, or their heart. But the case of Leah Palmer is extreme – and bizarre – by any standards. For three years, someone lived out a fantasy double life using pictures they had stolen. They built up thousands of social media followers, and developed real friendships and at least one romantic relationship.
She may be better than us but she doesn’t even exist:
By the start of 2014, the relationship had seemingly petered out. But it was not until a year later, in January 2015, that Justin received a message via Instagram from a woman called Ruth Palmer. As Palmer recalls, it said: “I don’t know who you’ve been speaking to, but I think you need to give me a ring.” It was accompanied by Leah’s picture – or rather, Ruth’s. More.
She was a married business executive in Dubai whose identity was being stolen.
And then there is fake news. It can look like real news. Story for another day.
Pay attention to No. 3 in the following vid.
Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.