Personal Safety and my relationship with the internet Part 3

So, if you learned anything from parts 1 and 2, you know that life can get a little crazy if you’re not careful.  We tend to take precautions when meeting people in person, but completely ignore the dangers online.  I have often put myself in a bad position when dealing with people in person, so understandably, I was cautious opening up my first social media account online.  It took me a long time to even consider it.

Red_computer_mouseI finally did, though, and started connecting little by little.  Eventually, I was addicted.  The real trouble came when I started playing social games.  Most of these games pretty much require you to open up yourself to total strangers just to play past the early levels.  I got hooked on a war game where you make friends fast and enemies even faster.  Here, folks, is where honesty, integrity, and decorum go straight out the window.  Folks, friends you meet in these games will never be your true friends.  They’ll turn on you in a heartbeat, and if you make the wrong person angry, you could find yourself in some real trouble.  I did.

I forgot myself.  I was cautious, but not cautious enough.  I got on with an alliance I liked.  They seemed to have more integrity than most.  Life was good in my imaginary warring world for a while.  Then came a social situation reminiscent of high school.  Someone who had quickly risen up in the ranks of our alliance and I had a misunderstanding.  She decided she didn’t like me.  Everyone in the alliance watched her abuse me over and over and never stood up for me even if they thought she was wrong.  Well, folks, I was done.  My feelings were hurt and I was angry that I was nearly brought to tears over a stupid war game.  So I quit.  Those that secretly supported me suddenly realized the error in their silence and begged me to come back, but my mind was made up.  I’m a grown woman, and I don’t need that stupid game.  I told those asking me to stay that the alliance and the game were dead to me.  There was no future of that game with me in it.  I removed all of the friends from that game from my social media account and blocked the ones that kept trying to contact me to get me back in the game.

police-lights peter griffinFolks, remember those two pieces of information you need to find anyone anywhere in North America?  Well, that came back to bite me right on the behind.  Not long after I shut that game out of my life and moved on, there was a loud banging on my door.  It was 3 in the morning.  With eyes slightly puffy and bloodshot, I carefully peeked out at the men.  It was the local police.  They were doing a wellness check.  The person begging me to come back to the game the hardest had figured out the general area in which I lived from what little he knew about me online and called law enforcement.  Apparently, he mistook the words I said for a suicide threat.  Now, I have to cops wanting to gain entrance to my untidy, sleepy home to make sure I don’t want to harm myself.  Then my husband wakes up… “What in the world is going on?”

Great.  Do you realize how embarrassing that conversation was?  It’s a stupid game!  I just wanted to quit playing!  Seriously!

I finally reassured the cops of my safety and got them to go away.  Then I went straight back to my computer and went to work.  I changed my name.  I blocked all from finding the account even if they had my information.  Realizing that probably wasn’t enough, I shut down the entire account.  I didn’t go on the computer for a while.  I walked away.  I didn’t look back… until two months later.

b1keyboard02Yes, I went back to social media.  Could you stay away?  But, when I went back, I made sure another incident didn’t happen again.  I had my settings tight.  Then I set my sights on revenge.  It’s probably not what you’re thinking.  I didn’t go back to go to war.  I had one goal in mind.  I wanted to infiltrate the enemy and just let them know I was there.  Then I would disappear again.  It took me a year.  When my goal was accomplished leaving them scratching their heads, I walked away and have never looked back.  I still smile about that small victory.  I made them think.  What greater accomplishment could there be?

During that yearlong personal test, I branched out in the game and met many other online gamers.  One of them attracted a stalker.  Now, you wouldn’t think someone still living with mom somewhere in Texas would actually be able to harm a girl somewhere in Europe, but these days cyber-bullying and stalking isn’t just about personal safety, is it?  Honestly, it’s about mental health and the damage done to the mind.  Mental abuse can be so much more damaging than physical abuse at times, and it’s not a thing to ignore at all.  I watched it as it happened, and was disturbed.  What if he did have a passport and mommy bought him a ticket to Ireland?  It wouldn’t be easy to track her down, but it can be done.  I’ve seen it happen.

Well, all this poor girl wanted was for the cyber-stalking to stop.  It was horrible.  So, I stepped in.  Knowing what I know about these types of disturbed individuals, I went to work on her behalf.  Here’s where I scare you just a little.

I turned the tables on him.  When it comes to the law, documentation is everything.  I instructed the victim to pull everything she had on this guy.  Every conversation was saved, sent to me for duplication, and documented with time stamps, dates, and screen shots.  While my online pal was working on this, I went after him.  All I needed to do was find my two pieces of information.  It wasn’t that difficult.  I found out he had multiple accounts on the same social media site.  I looked carefully at each one and found what I needed.  Then I contacted him and gave him a very clear warning.  I made it short and sweet.

jail shadow“If you try to contact my friend again, I’m calling your mother at [mother’s cell number].  Do it a second time and I show up at your doorstep in person with the cops and full documentation of your illegal behavior according to the laws in your state.”

He called my bluff when he got his nerve back.  He did contact her a couple of times weeks and then months later.  However, she had my script and told him exactly what he needed to hear.  He was done bothering her.  He had been out-smarted, outplayed, and he knew he was beaten.  He also thought there was a really big possibility that I might show up on his doorstep with a couple of burly men and some baseball bats.  I Couldn’t tell you why he might have thought that…

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