According to the 2018 National Demographic Dynamics Survey, in Mexico there are 31.5 million children and adolescents from 0 to 14 years old, representing almost 30% of the total population, and a large number of them you have internet access.
At home, schools and shopping malls it is usual to see children with some mobile device to which they are stuck for hours.
A study of the firm Activa Research revealed that the 27% of Mexican parents allow their children’s access to Facebook while 11% do the same in Instagram. However, do we know what they are seeing or doing?
In Mexico, bullying through the internet is becoming an alarming problem. According to the Cyberbullying Module of the National Statistics Institute (Inegi), there are 101.5 million internet users in the country. Of these, 28.1% of men from 12 to 19 years old and 36.4% of women from 20 to 29 years old suffered some type of bullying.
Infobae Mexico He spoke with two teenagers who lived through the terrible experience of cyberbullying. These are their stories.
The afternoon of last February 28 marked the life of Sofia (pseudonym) forever. That day, the 15-year-old was in a meeting with her friends at school, when one of them approached to ask if she was the one who appeared on a Twitter where it was promoted as escort (companion).
With terror and confusion, Sofia observed the publication: had photographs of him and false information “they were promoting me in places, at certain times and saying that I was available”he narrated.
Sofia panicked. He did not have the courage to tell his parents, but he confided what had happened to some teachers. One of them took her to another teacher “who handles cyber stuff,” said Sofia. He suggested that she speak to her parents, which she did the same night.
The next day, Sofía’s mother went to the high school campus where the teenager studies, located near the Metro Balderas, in Mexico City.
It was then that he knew that his girl’s identity had been hacked by someone with the intention of obtaining moneybut besides that they stole your photos from Facebook To promote her as an escort, there was another situation that terrified her: they knew the location of Sofia in real time.
Sofia’s teacher advised mother and daughter to go to the Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint. There they were told that due to the evidence it was something very serious since “They were trying to do human trafficking”, narrated the girl.
That same day that they filed the complaint, Sofia and her parents saw that the page already had more information about her.
“Every time we updated the page more information about me was being uploaded. They were uploading photos of where I really was, it was something that scared us because they already knew real places and more apart they knew more or less what school I was in and the hours I went to school. It coincided a lot with the hours in which they put the photographs (sic), ”recalled the teenager.
“Then we were very afraid that in the course of my going to school someone would recognize me from the photos they were publishing because the page reached a thousand followers. Those photos were retweeted by several people again, so my photos were already on various sides”He narrated.
“My photos were never compromising, they were simply photographs where my face came out a lot and all of them were downloaded from my profile. Facebook”he counted.
In a panic, Sofia began deleting the portraits she had on her social network, but hackers obtained and published them.
“I started deleting my photos from Facebook and as I was removing them, they would take them out again and they would publish them, that’s when the profile was definitely left with nothing, “he said.
Days later, my parents and I arrived home at around 12 at night, because we went to school to speak to the teacher who was helping us, and when we arrived We check again if the page was (current) and they had already blocked us, and only those who followed the page could see the publicationsSofia said.
“We could no longer know exactly who (the hacker (s)) was because they deleted the account, but right now what the cyber police are trying to do is find out if they can track him down. We had to go to the Attorney General’s Office again on April 25, but with all this coronavirus we could no longer attend because it is closed. So waiting for them to reopen (to know the progress of the investigation), “he said.
Before they were blocked from the page, Sofia and her parents realized that it was a chain of several profiles of girls promoted as escorts.
“Many people commented on the photographs and said ‘I already deposited you, now what do I do’Then it was much more serious because they were taking money for my photos. What we noticed is that many accounts of girls who really did sell their photos, followed the page… (the publications) were shared by girls who really did sell their photos, as if promoting their friends, ”she assured.
When asked if she suspected any particular person, she denied it, but said that it could be someone who knew her very well or was very close to her.
“It was someone who knew me or from school, because since he is a little bit close to various places where he appeared in those photographs, then they were pending,” he said.
Sofía’s mother considered that since the complaint was filed, everything happened very quickly.
“When we were making the complaint, they told me this is going to take time ‘don’t think it will be fast, maybe months’, (they told him at the Prosecutor’s Office), but the truth is that after 15 days they sent me a summons that I was going to testify again and that they were going to send me with another graduate. That day I went to testify and after 15 days they sent me the summons for April 25, but we could no longer go because it is closed due to the coronavirus, “he said.
“Then I feel that everything was very fast (since they found out, they filed the complaint and closed the account with Sofia’s false profile) and that’s why no more things came out,” he said.
Sofia’s mother pointed out that all this has been very hard for her entire family.
“We believed that we had good communication with her, we are not so apart, but yes it is important to check the cell phones suddenly, the social networks to be calmer, because this happened the truth, thank God it did not happen to adults, but it was a complicated and ugly experience, because it came to pass through our minds that something happened to him because he is going to school and if someone cannot take it, they will go to do something, that they are checking it, or not finding it, ”he said with anguish.
“It was just happening at that time in all the news of many missing girls and women, the increase in femicides was somewhat difficult. We were very afraid that in the course of school they would find her, because they had her location and we were afraid to go outside. We observed everything because we did not know if they were following us, a lot of things were going through our minds, ”he said.
-How did your life change as a result of this? He was asked.
“Now we are more aware, she no longer has social networks, we have talked a lot with her, to make him see the situation we are going through and that you no longer have to trust people as much and you should know who to relate to. There is more communication and at least we can already grab her cell phone and check it without her feeling that they are invading her, “said the lady.
Addiction to “like”
“I really liked being on social networks, I cared too much, I gave a lot of importance to Facebook”, assured another teenager who also spoke with Infobae Mexico under the condition of anonymity.
She was also 15 years old when one day in 2019 received a private message through the Messenger of Facebook from someone she did not know, but was a “friend” of her friends.
“That person was asking me for my information, how old was I and if I was the person as he called me in Facebook, But I did not tell him any of that because I did not know him, “he said.
“He started to tell me, ‘Ah, I know such a person who is your friend, so tell me if you are his friend or not.’ So I said, ‘I don’t know who you are and I can’t give you my personal information.’ ”
“This person began to ask me for several things, that if I sent him something (photos) to see if it was me, but obviously I did not give him anything about me, he put it on display”he assured.
In fear, she approached one of her friends to tell her what had happened and she warned her to block it because she had also bothered her.
“They (about 8 of their friends) did accept the friendship request, even though they did not know him in person. He sent them nude photographs and asked for photographs, it was when my friend told me to block it “.
But her friend did nothing, remained silent and only blocked it.
“But it worried me because almost all my colleagues had this man and he had asked them for things like the photos”, said.
It was then that she told her dad what happened to find out if they could do something.
“He already went straight to ask the management (of the private school where he studies) and that guy (his bully) was not at all at school.”
“The first thing my dad did was have a talk with me and my sisters and he told us that we don’t have to accept people we don’t know, that it is not necessary to have followers (on social networks), that it doesn’t matter, that what worries him the most is our security because there can be kidnappings only through contact, ”he assured.
After talking with his daughter, the man went to school to find out from the campus authorities what had happened to the students, but they did not file a complaint.
“I saw her uneasy and I asked her what she had and it was when she told me what was happening to her, so I told her that if she did not know him (the subject) they would block him and would notify the authorities if that person continued to disturb her. That’s why I spoke with the principal (from her high school) and she informed me about what they did at school, ”said the teenager’s father.
“As she mentioned a certain group of friends, the director spoke with them and they confirmed the information my daughter gave me. Some time later, the school took a cyber police officer to give them a talk (on how to take care of themselves when using the internet and social networks), ”he said.
The parents of both adolescents considered that the situation they went through left them a great lesson: the importance of establishing trust, good communication and setting limits, so they made a recommendation.
“I think we have to have more limits with the children because sometimes we think that well, they are on the cell phone, there is no problem and we see it as something normal in young people, but I think that you should always be aware of them. Many people say that you have to respect their privacy, but no, I think you have to be aware of them. I think that if they have nothing wrong, there should be no problem that one suddenly check their social networks, or who they are related to, who they talk to. So I would recommend being more aware, “said Sofia’s mother.
Meanwhile, the teenager learned to be more careful.
“For me, the teaching was that we should not be open to too many people, perhaps only with people that we know and that we can relate to, mainly. Do not upload as many publications and much less that it is public (the profile). Because maybe we see it very easily and we believe that we can be friends with millions of people, but we really don’t know them and we don’t know how they think, apart from that we don’t know if they are false profiles and they are hunting for someone ”he concluded.
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