The dangers of online social networking

Well, just a little reminder not to give out all my personal details online – I’ve just had a fairly strange experience with a so-called Facebook friend. Fellow by the name of Tim Roberts, here in the sunshine state, has been sending me rude messages via Facebook. He became a friend online through other friends – I thought little of it, as he seemed to be involved with a number of my other friends, so I thought it would be okay to accept him as a friend. He conducts choirs at churches; he is apparently into music.

All was well for a few months. He takes lovely pictures as an amateur photographer and I commented on the beauty of a couple that he showed online in the news feed. Then I was online chat/wise – I often talk to my eldest this way – and he wanted a chat. Pretty soon (within about 2 minutes) the chat became strange – we had been talking about music causing anxiety, and it suddenly became clear that he was exhibiting a sexual tone and tenor in the conversation. I was not pleased, told him so and straight away got offline. I was not unduly upset, but this was the first time I had been propositioned on Facebook. I did not remove him from my friends list but I’ve not been online chat since. Then, last week, he sent me a fairly rude email over Facebook in which he was once again sexually implicit. I removed him from my friends list. Then, today, he sends me ANOTHER email, once again a rude one, in which he abuses me and tries to belittle me. Now, of course, I have to work out, in Facebook’s labyrinthine privacy codes, which button to press to ensure I do not get any more harassing emails from this person, who, if he wanted to, could probably find me online elsewhere.

I’ve not been sexually suggestive in any way, not permissive, not unduly unfriendly (as far as I know) but this guy takes the cake for rudeness. I want to feel safe with my online friends – this man has made me feel vulnerable and annoyed that I have to be even more circumspect than I already am about our privacy. I don’t accept friends willy nilly – but this makes me even more uncertain about accepting friends on Facebook.

And if any of you know Tim Roberts, chorister, conductor and amateur photographer from south-east QLD, smack him in the mouth for me, will you?