She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl

I watched the Channel 4 documentary about Gemma Barker, a 15 girl who was supposedly insecure about losing her friends, and created 3 male alter egos in order to become their perfect boyfriends and ultimately seduce them.

Facebook accounts with no real friends, a series of pictures uploaded at the same time... one male alter ego who never spoke, but communicated by text message even in the presence of his "girlfriend" and all the male alter egos wore hats and hoods at all times.

Are 15 year old girls really so naive? So stupid?

And when it came to sex, they lost their virginity to a fully clothed girl brandishing a pink dildo and HAD NO IDEA.

It beggars belief it really does. Gemma barker was no criminal mastermind, she used no resources that any average teenager does not have access to, and she fooled these girls, close friends no less for around 6 months.

Its not so much that Gemma was smart, but that her victims were really, really not. Jessica, one of the victims was happy to disclose everything in the documentary, not batting an eyelid when asked incredulously about her willingly dating a boy she knew only via Facebook.

And after everything she went through with Gemma, after dating two of her male alter egos and being sexually attacked by both of them, what happened next? What did she learn?

Nothing. She met her next boyfriend on Facebook. But its ok... he said he was a boy and so did their mutual friends...

Its frightening it really is. Not content with pedophiles grooming young teens on Facebook, now other young teens are abusing their peers.

I hope that this is one extreme example, but its a chilling concept nontheless.

What struck me the most was that we have now seemingly entered a culture where sanity does not apply to personal safety online.

I began writing an online diary, on a members only site aged 16. I'm now 28 and I still write it, have made lifelong friends through the site - friends I've been on holiday with, invited to stay at my home, attend my wedding, I've been to their birthday parties, weddings, thrown them a baby shower, had some as tenants, lent some money, given career advice. I've even fixed them up with my friends.

Its safe to say that I have experience in meeting people online - after being privy to their innermost secrets and private thoughts, and these are more intimate relationships because of this level of trust.

Its possible! Take Twitter - I have around 1500 followers, around 800 who live in Leeds and in the last few years I've met many of them at various Tweetups and not once have I had cause for concern or had a negative experience.

But these are children. Teenagers. Inexperienced in relationships and clearly too trusting. Where were their parents? Why were they allowed to behave as they did?


What these girls experienced was ludicrous. An utter joke and it should not have happened.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie