by Kirsten Kraus | feature editor
Growing up parents always tell their children not to talk to strangers. Schools give lessons on what to do if a stranger approaches you. Some even suggest coming up with a family ‘password’, a word that only the family knows to prevent children from going home with strangers. But in today’s society, strangers on the street are only predators we should be worrying about.
Companies have created websites that allow people to talk or video with strangers. Sometimes these people are chosen at random, other times by a common interest, but either way, nobody knows what will be on the other side of the screen.
“Anybody can be on these sites, and most of the time you don’t know them. You can be a 15 year old girl talking to a 47 year old man who lied about his age. It feels weird to talk to someone when you have no idea who they really are,” freshman Ally Bird said. “We can pretend to be other people online, maybe like people we want to be, not necessarily who we actually are, and people online wouldn’t know the difference.”
The internet provides a sense of security. People can hide behind their computer monitors lying about their name and age to get close to other people. Everyone is warned about strangers on the internet, but when you meet someone who seems like they could be your best friend online, it’s hard to take those precautionary measures and not talk to them.
“Live content from someone you don’t know is terrifying. Strangers are scary and can do or say bad things and there won’t be a warning,” sophomore Rachel Delgado said. “Talking to people online can end up really bad. Sites like ‘Omegle’ are how people end up kidnapped and on someone’s mantle.”
One of the worst aspects of these websites is that people can do or say anything on these sites and apps. There’s no actual restrictions that prohibits the content, and even if there was, it’s not likely that it would work given it is streaming live.
“People can literally show you anything. They can show you inappropriate body parts or other things you don’t wanna see,” Delgado said. “I feel like people aren’t typically nice on these types of media either. Just because they have the protection of being anonymous on the internet they feel like they can do anything they want.”
Talking to people on the internet is opens yourself up to endless possibilities. The person on the other side could be harmless, but then again, you’d never be able to tell.
Its just kinda creepy. Like who is this person on the other side of the screen? It could be anyone really. You dont know who they are. They could be a serial killer from europe for all I know,” freshman Emma Cook said. “People can ask to meet up with you or ask you for inappropriate pictures, or it could go the other way around where they send these pictures to you without consent.”
The lack of knowledge about internet dangers, or the ignorance of it, can lead to serious danger. Some may think that only talking on the internet won’t lead to anything bad, but the possibility is still there and people should know about it.
“There’s a lot of things that can go wrong when talking to people you dont know. I don’t wanna tell people not do this because it’s their decision, but they just need to be safe about it,” Bird said.