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You’ll Be Shocked By This Social Experiment: How Girls Easily Trust Strangers On Social Media

You’ll Be Shocked By This Social Experiment: How Girls Easily Trust Strangers On Social Media

Teenagers love being on social media. They use their phones and Facebook to contact their friends; they take pictures and send them via Instagram or SnapChat; they figure out what to buy by taking photos and sending to their friends. Unfortunately, they also are easily lured through social media by sexual predators, child trafficking rings and thieves.

In this video, Coby Persin conducted an experiment to see how easily he could convince teen-age girls to come meet him when all they did was speak to him in chat rooms on social networking sites.

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He talked with the parents before conducting this experiment. The parents were willing to participate in the video. First, he created a fake profile. Second, he contacted the three girls and chatted with them for a few days. Third, he suggested they meet in a place offline. The first girl wanted to meet in a park and said she had to wait until her father was asleep before she could leave. She thought Coby was 15. The second girl invited the person she thought was another teen-ager over her house while her father was gone. The third one was willing to get inside a van driven the by stranger. Her parents pretended to be criminals that wanted to attack her and capture her. She was terrified. In every case, the parents thought they had discussed the issue with their daughters before this experiment. They all were generally surprised on the actions of their children.

Common Occurrence

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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, these social networking sites are dangerous for teens, and the practice is common. Even with media attention on the dangers of social networking, the FBI receives hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks. These incidents include but are not limited to:

  • Adults posing as children who are about the same age as the victim who later travel to abuse the child; and
  • Adults posing as children who convince the child to expose themselves and/or perform sexual acts over webcam and later extort the child to perform additional acts.

According to an Internet safety pamphlet recently published by NCMEC, a survey of 12- to 17-year-olds revealed that 38 percent had posted self-created content, such as photos, videos, artwork or stories. Another survey of 10- to 17-year-olds revealed 46 percent admit to having given out their personal information to someone they did not know. The likelihood that kids will give out personal information over the Internet increases with age, with 56 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds most likely sharing personal information.

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Because of the social aspect of these sites, they often ask users to post a profile. The profiles contain information, such as their age, gender, hobbies and interests. While these profiles help kids connect and share common interests, individuals who want to victimize kids can use those online profiles to search for potential victims. Kids sometimes compete to see who has the greatest number of contacts and will add new people to their lists even if they do not know them in real life.

What Can Parents Do?

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Discuss these ideas with your children:

  • Only “friend” and connect to people online that you know personally and delete those you do not know personally;
  • Set social media security settings so that only confirmed friends and connections can see what you are posting;
  • Never take a picture of yourself or write anything by text, e-mail, or social media that you would not want everyone in the world to see;
  • Immediately delete and never forward a picture of anyone doing something sexual;
  • Choose screen names and usernames that are appropriate;
  • Never post publicly or give anyone your phone number, e-mail address, or home address unless you know them personally;
  • Be aware that anyone you meet online may not be who they say they are; and
  • Immediately tell a parent or trusted adult if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation online, even if you are afraid that things have already gone too far.
  • Make sure your children don’t say they are older than they are just to get a Facebook page. Although Facebook has a rule that only those who are 13 and older can have accounts, the children get around that by making themselves older and Facebook never checks even when parents complain.

Find other tips for how to talk to kids about online predators, limits for what to reveal online, cyberbullying, and other Internet safety topics here:

Featured photo credit: How Girls Easily Trust Strangers On Social Media via google.com

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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