There have been a few cases on Momio lately, where parents contact us regarding wrongfully created profiles in their children’s name. We understand this is uncomfortable and terrifying for a parent to hear from their child. Why would anyone do such a thing? Is it an adult doing this? Is it some of the kids at school, trying to be cruel? What are their motives for doing this?
Who are they?
As far as we have seen on Momio, all of the identity thieves has been kids. I have never seen a case like this involving a grownup. Often, the cases are very innocent and no other rules were broken on Momio – except pretending to be someone they’re not. However, this one rule is exceptionally important.
Why are they doing this?
The explanation is often as simple as: kids are simply just being kids… They do not know the consequences of all of their actions and they are looking for ways to bend the rules or experience the excitement of living in someone else’s shoes for a moment. For all we know, it could be another guy in class who is jealous of all the attention your kid is getting on the football court and thinks: “why can’t that just be me?”
Nevertheless, it is not allowed. There is no way around that.
But I believe it is important to realize that social media in itself makes the lines unclear. So even though Momio states that you should never pretend to be someone you are not – I totally understand the confusion! Let me elaborate: Kids log into social media at an early age. They are able to create whatever username they want. Through different games and applications, they can actually choose who they want to be. So why can’t they be someone they know in real life, or know about? Where do we draw the line?
Talk about it!
We think it is a good idea for parents to talk about this with their kids. First of all, it is not legal. Talk about the concrete consequences of pretending to be someone else online. Secondly, how do they think the one getting their identity stolen feels about it? It must feel pretty bad, right? Well, then it makes sense to not do something like that. Lastly, no matter if your kid was the victim or the thief – take a deep breath, and talk about reasons for why it happened. Talk to your kids, the adults at school and to the other parents. Chances are that the kid who did this, had no idea that it was such a bad thing to do to begin with!
It is important to learn these things early on, before kids find it difficult to draw the line – and cross over to adulthood, where the consequences are sincerely greater than on Momio.