By William H. Bowen
The internet is a revolution of education that allows a person to access material and information in ways that could have never been done otherwise. It has allowed people to educate themselves and research points of concern in a matter of minutes that in years past would have taken months or years to find the same material. The internet also offers a vast communication network to people around the world to make connections and has had a positive affect on many lives as a result.
While the internet has many positives it must be recognized also with that freedom can be dangers that the user must be aware of. There are areas in which people have been conned out of their money, honor and self respect. It is good to be aware of certain areas in which caution is needed.
Internet forums/Facebook-These are public or private areas where anyone who registers may post comments and have others respond to various topics. This generally requires an email and a name to register and then you are issued a password whenever you wish to make a comment. When you post on a forum that information can be retained for infinity even if the forum goes away anyone can copy and paste material and use it as your words for years to come. Be careful of what you post. Many register on an anonymous email service such as gmail or yahoo under fictitious information and are thus able to maintain an anonymous presence on the internet. Even so you must be careful to not reveal personal information about yourself or pictures as it can make it easy to determine who you actually are. If you wish to maintain anonymity do not tell where you live, work, provide information about your family, the names of your children, etc. All such information can compromise your identity. Many might choose to lurk, which means to just view material instead of posting comments on public or private forums.
Forums/Facebook, can also have a nasty side. There are those who will attack a point of view of an individual and encourage others to join in. It might be compared to a shark feeding frenzy and you are the meal. Are you thick skinned? Can you ignore people who make up untruthful information about you and have unlimited time to fabricate gossip? This can be difficult to do if you get on the wrong side of certain people. In most cases rather that waste hours and hours fighting with people who have nothing better to do it might be better just to leave and move on to another forum that is better moderated or just take a break for a while from the internet. In other instances it has been found many forums in the XJW community are peppered with profanity, nudity and sexual comments.
Many do not realize that this information can be copied and shared with friends and family for years to come. Don’t post or say anything you would not want to be on a billboard in front of your home. You have no privacy on the internet and anyone can use it against you if they choose to do so.
Sexual predators often frequent the XJW community forums to seduce newly leaving members of the opposite sex, who can be very vulnerable, into various behaviors that can range from cybersex, text sex, phone sex, or ultimately meeting for sex from unsuspecting parties who are married or would typically not participate in such a lifestyle. These seductions are started by flirting on public forums which follow up with private emails, chat, or Skype in which matters are taken to another level. Examples of areas that are used to facilitate these seductions are instant messaging in which person can talk privately in real time as they type on a keyboard and share photos or video. Public chat rooms and forums can lead to private chat rooms where a person may feel free to comment as they wish and share photos or video they would never post publicly.
What most may not be aware of is that any message, photo or video you post publicly or privately by forum, email, texting, instant message, or chat can be a matter of permanent record that can be saved by an unscrupulous person. Many times it has been discovered too late the seeming innocent flirting, sharing of intimate pictures, videos, private email, to outright cybersex with a person you thought you could trust has been recorded and shared as a source of amusement among a demented individual’s fellow predators or even posted on the internet. It has caused the break up of marriages, embarrassment, loss of self esteem and much heartache for those that have been tricked into these situations. To the predators it is a joke they play out over and over again using flirtation as the start to troll for unsuspecting victims in the XJW community. Some use their popularity within the XJW community as a basis to pretend to be assisting those with questions or active against the organization while making a game of assessing future seductions.
XJW Groups, Forums and Organizations- These groups often have an agenda or a mission. Some carry forth high ideals in the work of assisting other and being a support to those that are hurting emotionally. They endeavor to promote healing and positive works on behalf of others and this is certainly a worthy cause. Then there are others that do quiet the opposite. They put forth an agenda of destroying the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses to feed off the anger of those that are hurting. They claim to have high ideals but their actions prove far from it. It has been noted that many hurtful dealings are done privately and even publicly to show their true colors. What are some of them? Revealing the private identities of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are trying to fade in order to get them disfellowshipped and ostracized from their families, covering up child abuse, using litigation to bully abuse survivors into silence, using their position as leaders to seduce members of the opposite sex and send nude pictures, assassinating the character of people they do not like with false stories and misinformation, claiming to have moral outrage while participating in deceptive and immoral behaviors themselves, taking donated funds and using them for private vacations and personal funds, attacking anyone that does not agree with them and cutting them off as a form of Disfellowshipping, doing evil and malicious things to innocent people they claim to be helping. These types of behaviors are exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses describe apostate xjws as being and as a result they become a self fulfilling prophecy of self destructive activities. When you see these types of actions distance yourself quietly from these types of groups as they will serve no useful purpose and you can actually be sharing in supporting their hurtful activities.
Blogs- This is a new form of communication that puts out information quickly on the internet. Bloggers want to have a following and if they are good writers they can offer many colorful stories about many topics. The blogger profiteers off the number of people that visit his/her page so it is to their advantage to keep new information out there as it creates more income the more people that visit. Remember a blogger is just a person with an opinion and often an agenda. They will often misrepresent facts to suit their agenda or promote people they may like. They will fabricate facts and omit pertinent information to make the reader think this is the real story when in fact it is only promoting their private schema. Always check facts, review history and get the full picture before allowing a blogger to shape your viewpoint on a topic or matter. Doing so will help you to have a more balanced perception and not be tricked with misrepresentation of the actual facts.
Because of the reasons stated above many choose to remain anonymous on the internet and at least be careful what they post or say. If you wish to be known then remember everything you say can become part of a permanent record, so use caution in whoever you may interact with and remember anything you communicate via your computer or telephone can be shared with someone else. Just because a person says something does not mean it is true.
Anonymous Websites-Be particularly on guard of a person who runs websites or forums that hides their identity or do not provide contact information other than email. You may not know who you are dealing with, when a person wishes to offer a service and hides their identity there is often a reason that relates to something dishonest or illegal. A legitimate service provider of internet website or forums should provide a legitimate telephone and mailing address as well as where the business is located. This helps the user know who is responsible for the material as well as gives them proper recourse in the event a problem arises.
While this may not address all dangers it is important to be aware of the information cited above. With freedom comes responsibility and individuals need to be aware of pitfalls to protect themselves. At Silentlambs we would never encourage an abuse survivor to go to a place where they might be abused by the lax responsibility of those that operate and administrate websites, activists groups. or forums with problems described above. It is a buyer beware moment; we hope this information can prove useful to those that may choose to participate on the internet.
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