This is the name of an amazing documentary shown last night on Channel 4. I could try to describe the circumstances that gave rise to the documentary, but The Guardian does a better job than I could, but I will try a very rough description.
Mark, a 16-year-old boy from Manchester logs into a chat room and meets a girl, he falls in love with her although they have never met. The girl then is kidnapped by a self-described gay stalker, who then rapes and kills her, while posting his exploits on the chat room. Mark then meets a 44-year-old female (“but still very sexy”) spy who is grooming him for the secret service, who asks him to play bodyguard to a 14-year-old boy named John, but who has the keys to a fortune located at the bottom of the Atlantic. He is then asked to kill John. Mark meets John and stabs him, but John survives. The problem is that Mark was being manipulated by John, who wanted to be killed and had been impersonating all of the characters in the play. In total, the police found that he had 193 personalities in the chat room.
Many interesting implications here. My main concern at the moment is that this is going to provide some fuel to those who believe that the internet is a sinister and evil place, filled with stalkers and paedophiles. Could this result in yet another failed attempt to regulate the internet?
Some other socio-legal issues are involved here. There is the anonymity element of the internet, which may prompt some people to behave in ways in which they would not behave in real life. There is also the fact that the internet is stressed always as a cause of crimes like this one. What took place in my opinion is that a disturbed teenager -with a death wish met an extremely gullible kid. Gullible people populate the internet, but isn’t it the same of real life? Online fraudsters and Nigerian letters are often online versions of real life scams. What the internet does is give people the power to hide their personality (sometimes), impersonate others and be able to entice victims through a wider net.