I have consumed so many police dramas and forensic shows in my life (starting with Hawaii 5-0) that I spend a lot of time processing info into CSI scripts in my head. Evidently when the topic of crime comes up, I have the best and creepiest scenarios in the bunch. I don’t watch Law & Order: SVU anymore, it just saddens the hell out of me. This is how you know that a topic that creeps me out is the victimization of young people. It kind of depresses me but I know that if I want to work towards helping young victims of crime, I have to get over it. Writing about how teens make themselves vulnerable online and off might be good therapy for me.
A few days ago I wrote about “Are You Interested?“. This app has about a million daily users, mostly teens. Most 13-17 year olds who use this application will have a high school and class year listed under their name once you find them in Facebook search. Even though I cannot view their profile, I have their full name, what school they go to and in what grade they are. The picture is also useful to spot them in a crowd. I know who all their friends are and I have their picture as well. Sure, some pervert from across the ocean probably wont abduct you as you exit school but locally, this might be too much information to leave lying around.
Here is an example of me creeping out a 18-year-old in Chicago. I was on a Webmaster forum in 2003 and would get messages from this kid. I chatted with him a few times. We had platonic conversations which is him making innuendos and me not really biting. Cyber-flirting makes me want to puke. He was desperate for me to call him so he gave me his phone number. Many days later, I called him to say hi. I knew I had a valid phone number. He did mention he liked Wired magazine.
I reverse-looked-up his phone number, got his address and sent him a 12$ gift subscription of WIRED Magazine. He thought I was a total hacker. When I do something like that, I fear I come off as a total perv rather than someone trying to raise awareness. But truthfully, I did stuff like that for cheap giggles. It is how I realized that just by being who I am (apparently a super hot MILF) I can easily attract all the guys who have ever seen American Pie and wield an amazing amount of influence over them. Wow, I have SUPAPAWA!!! But sincerely, let’s try to use them for good 🙂
I don’t really consider myself a hacker, I’ve just been using this Internet-like technology for 18 years. As a programmer, I know how things work below the surface. I used to take for granted that young people were on par with me as far a technology goes but that was only true for a few years. Web 2.0 applications are so easy to use that there is no barrier for teens who want to self publish today. And they are clueless about the risks involved.
In conclusion I want to say that I have never been harassed because of my online activities. I am very liberal and transparent when it comes to posting info about myself. Here I adopt an anonymous persona but not so in about a dozen other outlets. I think it’s cool that people are becoming more transparent but I make sure to let people know that I am not the type of person you want to mess with. People who victimize others choose the path of least resistance, online that means single women and teenagers.