The Ugly Reality of Online Life: Death, Lies & the Internet

In today’s world, everyone and everything is connected online in some way or another. This connectivity brings many benefits, like the ability to make friends across the world and share information more easily than ever before, but it also brings dangers that are much less talked about. The new Netflix series highlights one of these less-talked-about dangers in its six-part docu-series called Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet. In each episode, the show follows two real people as they deal with one or multiple individuals who have lied to them or otherwise deceived them online.

Anonymity Is An Illusion

Anonymity is a myth, whether you’re posting on Twitter or sharing information on Facebook. Once you post something online it can be archived and forever tracked back to you, so make sure your posts aren’t used against you later down the road. Additionally, you should protect your computer by installing updates and using anti-virus software; while they won’t do anything to protect your data if it falls into nefarious hands now, they will minimize its impact in case someone ever hacks into your account.  To avoid being hacked altogether, never use public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive activities like checking bank accounts or emailing passwords. Instead, connect through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts all data flowing between your device and their servers. A VPN service costs around $10 per month but is well worth it for peace of mind alone. Cyber Security Expert Rick Jordan says shared that all the updates and anti-virus won’t protect your social accounts from getting hacked.

“Additionally, you should protect your computer by installing updates and using anti-virus software; while they won’t do anything to protect your data if it falls into nefarious hands now, they will minimize its impact in case someone ever hacks into your account.”Rick Jordan – CEO & Founder of ReachOut Technology

Social Media Likes Are Not Real Friends

If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, a lot of us are spending too much time on social media. For example, consider how many hours you spent posting photos, checking your profile, and so on. Maybe you spent five hours last week and then another five that weekend. If these numbers sound about right for you, consider how many friends that would mean you have in real life (i.e., people who actually see you or hang out with you). Now think about how many friends or followers you’d have if someone only counted likes as relationships (e.g., Facebook likes). Probably a lot more than actual people who see/hang out with you every day… but not really all that much more!

People Lie Online To Get Your Attention

No one wakes up and decides that they want to be lied to all day. But with so many people on social media, it’s become almost impossible not to fall prey to them. Many people will put their best foot forward online by pretending to be someone they’re not in order to get your attention, or if you’re lucky, a friend request. Be wary of who you accept as a connection! A lot can happen behind a computer screen, including lies, deceit and even death threats. If you ever notice strange behavior from someone on social media–such as deleting posts, sending threatening messages or begging for more friends–it’s always best to stay away from them.

You Cannot Trust What You See

How many times have you heard of people getting ripped off on sites like Craigslist or eBay? Or, in fact, how many times have you been scammed online yourself? While there are good experiences to be had online and plenty of trustworthy people out there, it’s not hard to feel unsafe when browsing. Part of that is because you never know who is on the other side of a screen and part is because so much can go wrong when digital files are involved. Death, Lies & The Internet may be a depressing subject but if anything comes from watching these episodes on Netflix it should be an awareness that no matter how safe and familiar things may seem, there will always be someone out there who wants to take advantage.

Cyberbullying Hurts Real People

Cyberbullying is taken seriously by law enforcement and some victims have used it as a defense to take down their attackers. With how often people are connected digitally, it’s easy for children to hide behind anonymous usernames while they say horrible things about their peers. For those of us lucky enough to grow up without experiencing bullying, it’s important we keep an eye out for those who aren’t so fortunate. Cyberbullying is no laughing matter and hurts real people with real feelings just like you and me. If you or someone you know has been affected by cyberbullying, reach out to someone. It’s never too late to get help.

“Cyberbullying is a leading contributor to suicide, teen suicide, depression, and anxiety. Cyberbullying has taken a step further, causing personal damage with misinformation and disinformation, in some cases causing people to lose their jobs, relationships, and sometimes our lives. We saw an uptick in cyberbullying groups where people would come together and bully a specific person on a digital platform to cause chaos and damage” Ricoh Danielson – Cyber Security expert and US Army Veteran Ricoh Danielson

  • Eric Mitchell

    Eric L. Mitchell (@ericlmitchell) is a captivating national media personality and fast-talking media relations consultant for some of the country’s most gifted personalities. His style continues to garner attention from producers looking for someone with experience in both traditional and digital outlets, such as TV networks, radio stations, streaming services and social platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

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