Gone is the time when a sockpuppet inspired by their favorite Sesame Street characters used to bring them delight and joy and they would consider themselves cool and a part of the “IT” crowd of owning such a thing. Today, if you claim to be owning a sockpuppet, especially a sockpuppet account on one of the social media platforms is a sure shot sign of knowing that you are up to no good.
What is a Sockpuppet?
A sockpuppet is a social media profile, a web page or a website created with the pure intention of deceiving people. It is usually used to defame someone by imitating them or to gain someone’s trust by pretending to be somebody they can trust and later use to information collected in order to exploit them in a number of ways.
While the term was initially introduced in 1993, it didn’t become much popular until the late 1990s whereupon it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary where it is defined as someone whose actions are intentionally controlled by another individual. The work can also stand in place for a minion.
What are the Devastating Effects of a Sockpuppet?
With the changing times and change in technology, it has also become the term used to explain a medium used to deceive an individual or to defame another, which makes it the perfect term in use to describe someone creating a fake account on social media i.e. an account created under a pseudonym belonging to no actual, living person. Also, one can say for sure that no one out there ever creates a fake account with good intentions at heart.
Not only can such sockpuppet accounts earn the trust of your children to groom them which may lead to occurrences of kidnapping, child trafficking and sexual assault but also serve as the way to have the divulge their deepest, darkest secrets and the use of information collected to cyber bully like it happened in the cases of Kayleigh Haywood and Megan Meier.
Kayleigh Haywood was groomed online on various social media outlets by a man who pretended that he loved her and wanted to meet her. Their meeting resulted in the girl being raped twice by two different people and murdered when she tried to flee her kidnappers.
In case of Megan Meier , she was enveloped in a false sense of security and trust by mother of her friend Lori Drew, who did so because she presumed Megan was trying to harm her daughter and therefore created a sock puppet account under the name of Josh Evans to have Megan divulge the intimate details of her life. The things that happened from then on resulted in Megan committing suicide.
Preventive Measures That Parents Can Take
With that being said, it becomes a priority for every single parent out there to protect their children from people in the hold of such sockpuppet accounts. Parents are the driving force behind children that help them shape the best futures they possibly can. With that being said, it is also a well-known fact that parents, if they do it right, can make their children abstain from everything wrong with the world. They can do so by:
Talking to Their Children
More often than not, parents forget that children are rational human beings as well that can see what is right and what is not if they are provided with ample information to judge for themselves. Thus, if parents talk to their children about the implications of sockpuppet accounts and how harmful it can prove to be for them in the grand scheme of things, they can prevent their children from making some of the biggest and life-threatening mistakes of their lives.
Know Their Friends
It is common knowledge that a normally rational and responsible child would do things not expected of him or her if their friends push them into doing them. Thus see the kind of friends your child has and the influence such friends may have on your child.
Use TheOneSpy App
While TheOneSpy app should be used as a last resort, parents can use spy app to keep an eye on their child’s online activities to see what they have been doing online, to the kind of people they have been talking to and befriending to almost everything they are doing.
The Bottom Line
There are thousands of cases on the internet where grooming and cyber-bullying have taken place under the cloak of sockpuppet accounts. This makes it an essential responsibility of every single parent out there to keep an eye on their child’s online activities to ensure they are not actively communicating or befriending a sockpuppet account on the internet which may only lead to their downfall in one of the many ways.