Growing up in a small fishing village with limited internet access, I hadn’t even really seen the internet until I started going to the library at the age of 14 at the next town over. Parental attitudes toward the whole internet thing led to our home not having any internet access until I was . . . 16? Almost 17? Point is, I didn’t grow up in any sort of online culture. As a side note the e-mail address on the right portion of this site is my very first e-mail address. Seriously, as a 25 year-old I assure you I didn’t come up with that recently ha ha.
Fast forwarding to about a couple years later I move to the Halifax region (The biggest ‘urban’ area in Nova Scotia.) to start college. With my student loan I bought my first laptop and signed up for my own internet connection. Unfiltered usage of the internet without any supervision!? It blew my small town mind! So many “artistic films” about “love” to be seen!
When I wasn’t busy boosting local Kleenex® sales (Brand is important here!) I was playing this shitty little online game called U-Dominion. It was basically a cheap MMORPG that was entirely about moving a little guy around a grid of squares, fighting enemies entirely with auto-battle and grinding out levels so you can continue doing this on different grids. The game itself was even more of a grindfest than most games in the genre but it had an always-on global chat. I’m pretty sure most people came to view it as a chat room with a simple game rather than the other way around.
Eventually I start talking to this one particular person in-game and she ask for my MSN (RIP MSN.). After adding her she starts to tell me a sob story about how shitty her life is in Russia. She seemed to require constant consolation but I was naive and felt like playing the hero so I went along with it. She (or even he, I’ll never know) eventually sent me some pictures of some Russian model and claimed it was her. Even then I knew that wasn’t the case but I felt pity that (s)he would have to lie like that for a self-esteem boost instead of suspecting that something was up.
Eventually out of the blue one day this person started going on about how they wanted to hurt him(her)self and craved physical attention. I almost, almost followed along but then stopped and thought about it for a minute. Having a sudden realization I ask if she was turned on by the thought of someone rescuing her from various crises. (S)he confirmed that was the case. Whelp, I hadn’t encountered anything like that before, and my 18 year old small village mind was blown yet again. After stating that I didn’t want anything more to do with this and that I was never talking to this person again I got all sorts of death/hacking threats.
And that’s when I learned (Surprisingly fast given my upbringing.) that I should never, ever trust anything on the Internet.
tl;dr: Stop sharing crazy factoids on Facebook without at least checking Snopes first. People lie on the internet for fun.