A Letter to Our Adolescent Generation

Hey Guys!Yesterday, I read about a 17-year-old girl from a South Delhi public school, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by two MNC employees. Her statement to the police reveals a sordid tale of exploitation by the two men who, she alleges, were working in tandem. TOI states that it was a Facebook friendship, that began in September 2011, which pulled her into the quagmire.

And this made me think about this business of befriending strangers on Facebook and other networking sites. I am sure almost all of us have got a few ‘Friend’ requests from strangers on Facebook. Some even send a message along with the request which mostly reads like, “Hey! Your profile picture is very nice or you are beautiful.”

How do we react to such requests from strangers?… Feel flattered? Smile? Feel good that somebody finds us beautiful? Irritated? Angry? Disgusted?

While, it is a no brainer and we may say that nobody would add strangers as their friends on Facebook but then there are people who do just that!

In fact, there are many who boast about having hundreds of ‘Friends’ on Facebook and it becomes a matter of ‘neighbours envy, owner’s pride!’ There is a competition for getting Likes and Comments on pictures and status updates!

I remember, as kids it was drilled into us about not talking to strangers. Are the same rules valid in today’s age when social networking is the new mantra!?

I believe, Yes!

While it is very easy to get carried away by the peer pressure, the popularity contest, of ‘who is having more friends’ or ‘who got more likes and comments’, it is important to know the perils of befriending strangers…

  • The first and foremost is that it is just not safe. You don’t know the person and his intentions. When your parents/elders tell you that it is a big bad world out there, please believe, it is.

“If I don’t know you, you are not my friend on social networking sites”, follow this religiously. Cancel the request or simply block the person.

  • You don’t have to share the million pictures you click or videos that you make for every thing on social networking sites. You are exposing yourself and your friends to the creeps thereby giving them the access to your personal information, which they can use it to their advantage, anytime.

Experience the experiences, soak them in, learn from them rather than just clicking to share on the networking sites.

  • Agree, it is the age of communication. It is important to communicate what you feel, think, believe… but do not communicate with these virtual strangers, please! It is like the Miranda Warning, “Anything you say or do may be used against you!”

Communicate with your real life friends, your parents, your siblings, grandparents…

  • You may say that your Facebook settings are controlled. Glad that you have done so, but a casual comment on a picture (especially the tagged ones) or an update can give away a lot of information about you or your friends. And what if, the stranger you befriended recently is actually your Ex or somebody whom you ‘unfriended’?

Believe it, stranger things are happening. It is better to be cautious.

Hope you’ll be true to yourself and go with your instincts. Don’t be somebody you’re not just to fit in. Also remember that we all learn from our experiences, but we can learn a lot from the experiences of others too.

Stay Safe and Grow Up
Your Well-Wisher

Image Courtesy : Google Images

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