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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Online Safety/Identifying Predatory People

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Author Topic: Online Safety/Identifying Predatory People
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Something has been brewing online for a while -- years, really -- that I've been reluctant to talk about here with all of you because it's about a person who years ago tried to come here, to our boards.

We banned them fairly quickly: that decision was in part because this person got very angry and behaved badly about some of our rules per outlinking, but also in part because a couple of our users and volunteers told us this person made them feel very uncomfortable, feelings we always pay attention to and give big weight.

Because of that ban, I dealt with some harassment from this person a couple times, which is why I didn't want to open up this can of worms for a while: I didn't want to get any more harassment and also didn't want to inadvertently draw them back here.

But my sense is they are probably good and gone by now -- or if not, wouldn't likely risk coming here, of all places -- and I do think it's really important we talk about things like this. It's why I did this piece a couple weeks ago.

There's a lot of internet ink on this, but I think the two most solid place to look are here at Metafilter, and here at the Guardian.

Why does this story specifically matter to you? There may be a host of reasons, but a biggie is that this person did clearly target some teens by posing as a sexuality educator (something they also tried to do here as a user in the brief time they were here, but which it was clear very quickly to us was a ruse).

I'm not sure what inroad to take to talk together about this, but I think we should. maybe that's about talking about the ways you can identify who is legit and who isn't, maybe it's about ways to keep yourself safe when you may be very vulnerable, maybe it's about online identities in general, maybe it's about knowing the difference between sex ed and sexual entertainment, maybe it's about boundaries.

But I think it's probably best if I leave what inroads y'all want to take, if you want to talk about this, up to you.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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