Internet hoaxes: they're happening with some regularity. Someone posts on a board or creates an online journal, makes friends, drags people into their lives, posts photos, shares stories... and it turns out that's just what they are: stories. The photos are stolen from elsewhere, the names and daily lives are phony. People tell lies in real life, make up phony dramas, but it's a lot easier to do on the Internet and get away with it for a much longer time.
And for those who felt they'd made a friend, or reached out to help, or followed along, or even gotten personally involved offline, it can be very hurtful and very much a betrayal.
Kaycee Nicole -- http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/kaycee.html -- is a good example of a journal hoax, and here at Scarleteen we've had it happen at the boards with two different men posing as two different teen lesbians (Aja Valderamma and Lisa Jain).
Why someone does it is hard to figure -- sometimes it is because they have serious personal or psychological issues, other times it's simply done out of meanness and boredom, or out of wanting to prove how much "smarter" one is than all the people they fool -- but for whatever reason it's done, it takes a toll on those who got involved and believed the lies, and it's hard to recify those feelings when you find yourself feeling really stupid.
So, if you need to talk out your feelings on this issue, or your experiences with it, go to town. It's pretty complicated, but there's no reason to suffer in silence.
That thought makes me so nervous sometimes. People who I don't know will instant message me a lot and it scares me because if they know my screen name, what else could they possibly know about me? Some people are really sick out there and it makes me nervous to get online and go to board places like this. At Scarleteen I feel secure though, but things like those men posting as young girls like myself just makes me wonder. Thank you Miz S for doing all you can to make this a safe place to young people to come and ask questions, get answers, and learn something. You deserve more praise than you recieve *which is a lot too* for this wonderful site-- you and all the people here who make it run. Thank you!
Posts: 67 | From: Somewhere over the rainbow... | Registered: Mar 2002
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I've never really gotten to know anyone who's done hoaxes online, mostly i just talk to my friends from school, but i do remember some of the scarleteen fakers.
It's really scary stuff, and it's amazing how unbelievably legit they can sound. It's pretty nerve wracking to discover that someone you've been talking to and getting to know is really a completely different person.
You always have to be careful with who you're talking to if you don't know them, because they can make up anything. Another reason not to give out personal info on the net, including personal problems, etc, etc.
------------------ 'You've got the eyes of ten women. Not in a jar! I wasn't accusing you. I just mean your eyes are really nice'-coupling
I have to admit I was creeped out a lot more than I initially let on when that happened on Scarleteen. Someone builds up a whole persona, and you think you know them - and it turns out they're someone else entirely.
Me, sometimes when I'm cleaning out forums, or when someone brings up an old topic, I'll see references to one of the hoaxers and it just makes me feel sick. I deleted all the posts I found made by the hoaxers, but sometimes you can tell where they were and that gives me a sick feeling.
Sometimes it makes me angry and sometimes it just makes me feel stupid.
Think that to a certain point makeing up a hoax can be just harmless fun, by taking on a whole new personality you are doing no more harm then an actor or actress. The point when it goes too far is when you are invloving othersdeep emotions. Or by trying to suduce some child to meet you somewhere. There isn't a black and white ansewer to this question. Everyone should be entitled to be someone else for a day, but they should be able to draw the line when too much is too much. Katelin
------------------ Books NOT to give your kids:
"POP goes the hampster and other fun mircowave games"
I too, have been dragged in by stories of people who have lives that seem unbelievable (and usually are). I'm the moderator of a site where yes, if there is a need, I can find out the ISP numbers of users who I believe are using multiple identities...one user had 22 totally seperate identities who all posted quite often!! I mean, they must have been on the site fr all of their waking hours to accomplish this! It's amazing what people will do when they feel lonely or have a major void in their life. One man who I communicated with for over a year claimed to have had 5 children who all died in a housefire in 1997. His story was so heartbreaking that it was hard not to feel sympathy for him. I spent so many hours talking to him, comferting him, feeling for him...and it was hoax. I got some ideas from little things he'd write that contradicted themselves...or "forget" his twin daughter's birthday. He was found out and I was crushed...I had wasted so many tears on a story. I felt totally betrayed and now it's very hard for me to trust the words of people even in everyday life.
[This message has been edited by Chelle (edited 04-27-2002).]
[This message has been edited by Chelle (edited 04-27-2002).]
A couple of years ago I met this girl "Sarah" from Bahrain (near Europe?) in a chat (she was several years older than me). We talked a lot, but because we were about 7 time zones away from each other, not for very often.
Anyway, she gave me her mailing address and I sent her a letter, a picture of me, and one of my cat and dog. She threatened to post them on the internet. I was devistated.
Then there was this other girl from Canada named "Mandy". She convinced me to get "Evoice" (evoice.com) a phone service where they take the place of your answering machine and you have to call in to get your messages. Needless to say, I was grounded for a while, plus I kept talking to "Mandy".
I've had my fair share of hoax runins. Al I can say is don't give out too much information about yourself, try not to talk to unknown people, stay away from chats, etc. Be careful. You'll be scared and feel guilty forever if you make a mistake.
this may seem bad and all, but i dont really care much about my protection online. i have 7 guys at my house, two who have been in the military/military school, 1 who doesn't dare mess with me or not do what i say, 1 my dad, etc. i met a girl online, and we became really close. we exchanged addresses (omg how bad!) and wrote a few letters. now just recently we just exchanged #s and have been talking on the phone everyday. not everyone on the internet is bad. this girl is really nice and we are planning on meeting this summer when i go to new york. our parents know all about this tho, so.....but i also met a guy online. he seemed really nice. we started talking about personal issues and i brought up sex. a little while later, he asked if i wanted to meet him. then i said maybe (i definately wasnt planning on it, i just said that) and he said 'maybe u can give me a blow job too' i havent talked to him since. that was so totally sick. anyway....my best friend got raped meeting a guy at the mall, so i just dont fool around with meeting people.
Posts: 9 | From: unknown | Registered: Apr 2002
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I was invovled with our very own scarleteen hoax, brought to us by Aja. Being friendly on the boards turned into lots of e-mailing, sharing our lives with each other. I felt so...complete when I talked to 'her'. It was right when I was coming out to myself about liking chicks, and generally figuring myself out, and I would talk to 'her' about it all and I just felt as though she really accepted me and she really understood me, because she had been through all the things I had been through, except she was a bit older and wiser.
Turned out she was way older, and a male. I felt so...disgusted. I just wanted to jump out of my skin and go no no, I'm not that stupid, it wouldn't happen to me. I couldn't fall for something like that, I"m too smart for that. But...'she' drew me into her little world and I never doubted for a second her story. It upset me for a long time, it made me shy away from strangers. No more responding to e-mails from peope I don't go way back with (which is a bummer because I get a lot of mail because of my online journal, but I just don't feel comfortable responding).
It made me doubt everyone I knew online. Aja was an advocate! And I had to wonder about the other advocates...how many of them were not who they said they were? (I can confirm that BruinDan and PoetGirlNY are indeed who they say they are, though )
I just felt...really violated. Like when I get stuff stolen at school, it's not that I care so much for whatever got stolen, it's the fact that someone was in my locker, in my backpack, giong through my stuff. 'Aja' went through my life.
I'm not upset over it anymore...but it makes me sad that people do that. What's the point?
Just as a note, these days ALL Advocates must present proof of their identity before gaining that title. Ever since the Aja problem, EXTREME care has been taken. And you can see why we're so careful about not getting our users to post their email addresses.
I have met BruinDan, Alaska and ThisGuy (an Advocate from about a year ago) IRL, and they're all definitely real, genuine people.
I think this is worth bumping with an addendum.
While the internet is a great and anonymous place, if you are committing fraud on this website, rest assured, YOU WILL BE CAUGHT. And you will be suspended or banned. At worst, your iSP may also be contacted.
I know I put a lot of work into posting here, as does everyody else, none more than Miz S. We strive to create a safe environment for you to discuss topics that you have trouble talking about to other people. We want to help you. When people come onto the boards at ST to screw around and harrass other people, that really takes away from the good work we do, not to mention, it's a HUGE waste of our time to deal with those people.
There's a lot of drama that goes on during adolescence. Maybe you want some attention, sympathy, or whatever. We understand, we've been through it, too. But lying about your identity, fabricating stories about pregnancies or rapes is not the way to get attention. It wastes our time and effort, and moreover, it belittles the seriousness of the experiences of people who really are going through a pregnancy, or those who have been abused. Making a mockery of those people who really need help is just sick.
So while you think it's funny to flood the boards with posts that say "jerk off," or harrass the moderators, you are wasting our time and resources, and you are not funny. you are some kid who needs to find something better to do.
If you think it's fun to tell us a sob story about how you were raped by your boyfriend's cousin and his three friends, you're only 13 and now you're pregnant and you don't know who the daddy is -- just so you can score some sympathy points: no dice. you're a sad kid who really needs the company of good positive role models.
And if you think you've got all of us fooled, think again. By and large, you're pretty lousy liars. While the traffic here is heavy, we do remember your stories, so if 2 + 2 don't equal 4, we're going to call you on it. we don't take kindly to bull****.
So in closing, don't abuse ST. And don't insult our intelligence by making up elaborate stories. We're not idiots.
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