‘Stranger danger’ is one of the biggest fears associated with the internet, especially in online games with chat functions. A quick Google search brings up countless horror stories of children meeting ‘friends’ online who turn out to be predators. Young people are so easily influenced, and their trusting nature makes them very easy targets for exploitative people. But even if you know about online dangers, that still doesn’t mean you are safe. Online gaming friends can be weird, and I’m here to share with you the two weirdest people I’ve met through online gaming when I was between 14 and 16.
1) The oversharer
When I was 14, I met this group of Dutch boys while playing the online game League of Legends. I think there were about 5 of them? But there was one in particular who I became pretty close friends with. He was about 4 years older than me. He would tell me about him and his girlfriend’s pregnancy scares and tell me every time they broke up and got back together. When I got a bit older, I realised he was crossing boundaries by insisting we meet up and kept asking me to send him voice notes and ‘smiles’. I blocked him on everything, but somehow every single time I made a new account on anything that has my name, he pops up with a ‘Leia, is that you?’ message with some stupid emoji. It was very weird, and I always make sure he’s blocked on everything!
2) The creepy streamer
This guy liked to pretend he was a popular League of Legends streamer. He did actually have some following, but when I was 14, it seemed a lot bigger than it was in reality. He got my Snapchat and would always post pics on his story with hidden ‘send nudes messages’. It should have been a red flag right there, but the penny didn’t really drop until he got really drunk one night (I was 17, and he was 23) and sent me a series of misspelt snaps about how he wanted to do inappropriate things to me.
Most of the people I met online were genuinely just teenagers or game lovers wanting to unwind and play some video games. Still, there are creeps out there, and especially as a girl gamer, it is so important not to give out any personal details or get too close to anyone who is essentially a stranger.