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Thread: Just a friendly reminder!!!

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    Default Just a friendly reminder!!!

    We try very hard here at ADBB to keep all our members safe. But, please remember people this is the WWW and alot happens on the internet.
    So, always be aware and please read or reread the following!!

    Disclaimer: This FAQ is meant to be an accurate profiling tool to identify the most common types of online predators in the low carb online dieting community. It is a composite of a number of case histories in which several online forums were devastated and betrayed by the manipulations of someone who was thought of as a loved and trusted member. None of those case histories happened on ADBB or have involved any member on ADBB to the best of my knowledge.

    An individual may fit one or more of the points of this profile and be completely innocent. It is not a crime to be a good writer, or to be compassionate, or to have tragedies happen in your life. If you see someone whom you think may fit the profile, don't be too quick to point fingers and start a flamewar. There are courteous ways (and subtle ways) you can ask for more real life information to help verify that you are being told the truth.



    Online Predators In Our Community

    What is an online predator? Simply put, it is a person who is willing to engage in unethical behavior online in order to take advantage of others who are vulnerable to their manipulation. We're all reasonably familiar with the sexual predators and most of us can recognize those danger signs, but there are other kinds of manipulators who are more commonly seen in the low carbing/online diet community. They can be much harder to recognize, but most people who have been around long enough have seen at least one of them exposed.

    The specific type of online predator that tends to target our community doesn't necessarily want money or sex. What they do want is your emotion and your attention, every bit of it they can wring out of you. They will say or do anything to get this attention including faking their own deaths or the deaths of family members, pets, children, spouses, etc. That's what makes them harder to recognize, because there certainly are people who have legitimate life issues and tragedies that they deserve support and sympathy for. Telling the game playing mind manipulators apart from the sincere people who deserve your friendship can be difficult.

    Some of these people are extremely good writers, and their stories are very convincing. In most of the cases I have seen, these characters (who were not even real people!) were truly loved and respected by most of the people on the forum, and the grief at their "death" or their literary tragedies was real.

    Normal people don't sit at their keyboards making up tragic characters and pulling at other people's heartstrings just to get an emotional response. But these online predators do. They appear to be seriously addicted to this behavior. It is a real and serious mental illness.


    Predator Profile: Check your suspect against this list.

    1. Too much drama and tragedy in their life, reported in deep emotional detail with descriptive tearjerking language. Not just the usual and believable run of things that can happen to anyone, but a life that reads like a bad soap opera, and writing about it like a Harlequin author. Amazing coincidences happen too often to this person.

    2. Lack of personal boundaries. Sharing Too Much Information, especially deep emotional stuff, too quickly, again in the most descriptive possible language calculated to elicit maximum sympathy. Attempting to form inappropriate and immediate emotional bonds with other members by using this deep emotional language. Sometimes this is couched in religious or spiritual terms.

    3. Character is much too good to be true. This person may come across as the biggest saint since Mother Theresa - self sacrificing to the extreme, eternally loving and cheerful even when abused and downtrodden by the other characters in their life. This is a person you love to love because they are so very good and perfect. Like, too good to be true.

    4. A tactic that we see more often in the spiritual/religious communities is someone who claims status as a wise person, a guru, a guide, etc, who is gifted with a deep understanding of your life and your emotions. They're using the same skill set here that a bogus psychic uses to give a cold reading, repeating back what they detect a person most wants and needs to hear about themselves. They claim a special and personal understanding of other people's souls or spiritual status or deepest emotions, and use this understanding to tighten the emotional bonds with their victims. The guru game is not as common in the low carb forums, though other general diet forums tend to be plagued with "diet gurus" who are giving unhealthful advice.

    5. Asking for money. Big huge red flag here, but it's totally absent in some cases where the motive doesn't appear to be financial. None of the death fakers I have personally seen asked for money at any point.

    6. Little details of their stories are inconsistent. If the online person you meet says on Monday that they have no kids but on Friday they are too broke to buy a present for their kid's birthday, this is a game player. But it's not always this obvious. Look for the small details that don't add up, or for a gut feeling that tells you that something just does not ring true about all the stories you are hearing.

    7. Sock puppetting. Maintaining multiple personalities on the board that have the same writing style, misspell the same words and make the same grammatical errors - and of course they all know each other. The drama between these multiple characters can read like a soap opera. People with techie know-how are advised to check IP addresses for sock puppetting. Multiple logins are a HUGE red flag.

    There is such a thing as legitimate duplicate IP addresses from the same household (husband and wife both join the same low carb diet board, or a parent and a child). But those people are generally willing to identify themselves clearly as such. Also watch for ISP's like AOL who assign the same IP address to a large block of people.

    8. Photos or personal information on their site or their avatar have a suspicious origin. You think you've seen it before in a different context, or the photos look too perfect or professional to be home pictures of regular people. An image search on Google might turn up some useful results.

    A drama player may make up characters of a different gender or appearance, or they make up fictitious children or relatives. These people don't exist if you look for their real life information. Sometimes the scammer will borrow photos from other web sites to represent themselves or their families.

    9. Secrecy is another red flag. There are legitimate reasons that someone might not want to share specific details of their real lives, but if they are practically spewing their most intimate details on the page already, it might ring some alarm bells if any and all real life corroborating information is notably absent even when asked for.

    Example: My daughter has a rare cancer and is in the hospital, please pray for her/send money. What is her name and what hospital is she in? I can't tell you that, it's a secret. The drama gamer can't tell you that because if anyone actually checks hospital records, there will be no one there by that name and no one in the oncology ward with that type of cancer.

    10. Suicide threats are a potential warning sign, especially if they are repeated many times and the drama dragged out. Any suicide threats on an online forum should be handled carefully and by the administrators. It is inappropriate for a non professional to attempt to give advice or counselling to someone who is really that deeply troubled.

    The policy on one of the boards I moderate on is to lock or remove those kinds of threads and tell the individual compassionately that they must get professional help and they are only exposing themselves to potentially hurtful or unhealthy situations if they try to seek help in an online forum.

    The analogy is someone asking a group of strangers with no medical training to treat their broken leg. The band-aids and aspirin that the average group of people might have in their pockets is not going to help. It is more likely to be hurtful and to delay proper medical care if a bunch of untrained people are allowed to mess around with this person's broken leg. A problem that serious must go to straight to the doctor.


    Asking yourself: Is this me?

    Should anyone be reading this who has ever been tempted to play those kinds of games in order to get the love and support you feel you can't get as your real self, please know that you can feed your needs in a way that is healthy and doesn't hurt people.

    Online roleplaying is okay - it's even fun when you do it with people who agree to play with you. There are many game sites on the Internet where it's okay to make up characters and play with people. These sites range from fantasy roleplaying to a more adult themed roleplaying. You may find the same kind of gratification there if you can find a site that fits your needs. You don't have to lie to people or hurt them in order to meet your need for emotional interaction.

    There are other ways you can feed yourself and your self esteem in healthy ways also. You can buy yourself something nice to wear, or have a healthy food treat that lifts your spirits and doesn't drag down your body. Treat yourself to a massage or a day at the beach in a lounge chair reading a book you've been wanting. Do something loving for your inner child. Talk to a friend (or a therapist) honestly about your need for emotional interaction and let them help you figure out good ways to get it in abundance in your life.

    Internet addiction is an illness, and it can be a serious one especially when these kinds of symptoms are displayed. If you have it, please consider taking some positive steps towards better emotional health for yourself. You need it and you deserve it.

    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm
    Last edited by jimmie 48; July 17th, 2013 at 11:52 AM. Reason: fixing links etc
    Bren
    female


    218/150 calling it goal!
    3/30/03

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