By Rotimi Onadipe

The internet and social media networks such as facebook, twitter, myspace, 2go, yahoo messenger etc. are good means of communication and were invented for many advantages such as making friends, making business contacts, getting useful information that can add wisdom, knowledge and understanding to the human life etc.

However, the reverse is the case because the advantage is now being used as a disadvantage. The internet and social media networks, which were invented to be instruments of blessing, are now being used as instruments of sorrow, destruction and death and the reason is not far-fetched.

The technology age has made it impossible for internet and social media network users to differentiate the wheat from the chaff. It is now possible for internet fraudsters to upload the pictures of unsuspecting victims on the internet, impersonate them and use their pictures to perpetrate fraud. Some other fraudsters even find it very easy to hack the telephone lines of unsuspecting victims and use it to commit crime through the internet and social media network.

It is very sad that the human life which was created by God for the booming of his grace is now crying and bleeding uncontrollably for loss of God's grace due to depression, broken homes, loss of huge sums of money and loss of lives and properties to internet and social media network users, who pretend to be genuine lovers and businessmen, but who are actually wicked, desperate and professional fraudsters.

Two internet fraudsters were recently arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a case of internet marriage scam in which one of the fraudsters disguised as a lady and the victim, an European, fell in love with him and lost 25,000 Euros before he realized that his internet dream lover and soul mate was defrauding him. There was another victim, a Briton who lost £130,000 in an internet scam involving Nigerian fraudsters through myspace, a social network media.

Recently, a 24- year old postgraduate student of Nassarawa State University and the only daughter of a retired major general, Cynthia Osokogu met her untimely and extremely violent death in a hotel in Lagos at the hands of the people she met on facebook, the world largest social networking service.

For Cynthia, it is regrettable that the internetsuddenly turned out to be the interment.

However, to effectively check and escape the dangers attributed to the internet and social media network usage,

Users of the internet and social media networks should always ask sensitive and technical questions from whoever they chart with so as to confirm certain facts that will help them to differentiate between their real friends and identity thieves.

They should also avoid disclosing their personal information to people on the internet, particularly when chatting on social media network as this could expose their personal information to hackers and fraudsters.

Parents on the other hand should train their children in the way of the lord and impact the fear of God into their lives through prayer and counseling.

Users of the internet should also be very careful of any offer on the internet that appears too good to be true.

There is need for the government to always organize campaign and awareness programs on cyber-crime eradication at all levels in Nigeria and the world at large.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies should also maintain a very strong relationship with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecoms and Cyber-café operators to aid their investigations when cyber-crime cases are reported.

There is also a need for Religious and Non-Governmental Organizations to always organize programs that will help the youths to discover their God-given talents, especially at their early age.

Finally, a bill should be passed into law that will make it mandatory for the inclusion of Moral Education in the list of subjects and courses in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

Written by: Rotimi Onadipe, Onadipe Technologies, Ibadan.

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