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The Dangerous Side of the Internet

Daria Bonca, 11A

In this day and age, information is an invaluable resource. With so much technology at our fingertips, it is almost impossible for someone not to own a device that connects to the internet. However, there are quite a few dangers lurking in every corner of the internet.

Each year, thousands of websites and articles are taken down from the Internet due to ethical concerns. However, millions more are left intact and easily reachable by the general public. One such example is 4chan, an anonymous imageboard forum. No account is required in order to make a post, thus its anonymity attracted 22 million users with radical beliefs. The website quickly became a platform for people whose opinions are not viewed as appropriate in today’s society to meet and glorify their beliefs.

On the other hand, their discussions were harmless; therefore, nobody bothered investigating their online presence. That is, until 2014, when Washington resident David Kalac posted four pictures of a woman, who was naked and allegedly dead, on 4chan. His only words were: “Turns out its way harder to strangle someone to death than it looks on the movies.” ( David Kalac, 4chan, /b board). A few hours later, the police arrested the man. However, the images kept circulating around the website for a significant amount of time. Despite this incident, the website did not impose stricter rules. Thus, in 2019, photos of a 17-year-old girl from New York with her throat slashed appeared on the website. Her murderer was caught, but not before the images were sent to the victim’s relatives and close friends.

Reddit and Discord are two websites known for their dark history that require the user to register before posting. Nevertheless, this did not stop people from harming themselves or others. Most cases were solved by the moderation team; however, this was not the case for u/worthless319. His Reddit journey started by posting questions about mutilation on a subreddit dedicated to morbid questions. A few days later, he posted a photo of his severed genitalia. When asked about the reason behind his need for self-mutilation, he answered shortly, only saying he was following “God’s way”. In this case, the photos managed to find their way to thousands of users, before thankfully being deleted by the moderation team.

Moreover, Discord is another website that throughout the years has been involved in dangerous activities, and is mostly known for paedophilia. In March 2022, a mother allegedly reported that her teenage daughter had been talking to an older man who asked her for sexually explicit photos. Even if this certainly goes against Discord’s policies, the man’s account was not deleted and due to the anonymity Discord provides, the man might still be on the website, grooming teenagers under a different name.

To conclude with, despite the façade that the internet is a safe place to communicate and create friendships, in truth, the internet can be extremely dangerous, and in some severe cases, even deadly.

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