By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net SOCIAL networking websites ar e now venues for people to widen their connections and to reconnect with friend s. For some, social networks can help build self-esteem and even make extrovert s out of introverts through pictures and blogs. Social networks have given us the freedom to create our own network of friends. We can create our own profiles, post pictures and connect with friends that ha ve been away or are elsewhere. I am one of millions of people worldwide who enjoy the freedom given by social networks. During my college years, Friendster has been my way of updating frien ds about me. For the passed four years, I enjoyed using it until I found that t here were three other false accounts in Friendster using my name. I would not elaborate on what were written on these false accounts. But after finding this out, I immediately reported it to Friendster. There were several reporting options to choose from if someone was impersonating you. And I used them all. But to my dismay, nothing happened. This recent incident brought back memories of people I had dealt with when I us ed to work in a show that helped abused women asking for help. What made my exp erience frustrating is that there are no laws agai nst online bullyingÂ -- now that I am a victim. The worse part is online vi ctims like me feel very helpless from these Internet bullies. In other countries, there have been recorded incidents of teenage suicide becau se of Internet bullies. Sadly, these suicides could have been prevented. Because of this recent incident, I have become very curious about how social ne tworks sites like Friendster work on complaints they get from users. I would li ke to believe that Friendster is not apathetic to complaints being sent to them . Maybe Friendster can find a way to disallow anyone from grabbing photos from pr ofiles of other people. One can apparently copy photos easily even if the profi le has been set as "private." Social networks were created with the best intentions and it is so sad to see t hat some are using it to destroy or bully other people.
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I AM just wondering if there is a possibility that our legislative body can ena ct appropriate regulations or laws perhaps to put a stop to all bullying going around the Internet. As of now, negative blogs and comments are spreading aroun d the net through various sites. Decent beings are disturbed and many innocent souls are put to shame. Reputations are put to risk. I learned that in some par ts of the globe, Internet bullying is a criminal act. In South Korea, identitie s of people who post comments and the like are required to be disclosed, their contact numbers need even to be placed in the Internet for easy identification in event that someone wants to sue for libel or one infringes on privacy. In th e US, teenage suicide linked to Internet bullying is becoming out of control. W e do not want this to happen to our youngsters, and even to adults who cannot s tand the pressure of being intimidated. I don't know if Internet bullying is al ready incorporated in our Electronic Commerce Act already but if it is, well an d good, let us put it into operation. Cindy Hisona, Banga, Bayawan City via e-mail