When we were kids a way to contact your friends was to call them on the phone. Nowadays, kids from elementary schools to college are communicating via internet. The internet has become such a huge part of everyone's day to day lives and has had a huge impact on society. Because of this reliance on internet, a lot of people have developed cyber-identities. Cyber identities can be anything from lying on a dating site, to online predators. The goal of this project was to accumulate information regarding cyber identities. We went about this by conducting a survey, and outlooks of real students and their perceptions and experiences with cyber identities, and also how media portrays them.


Having a cyber-identity is becoming such an issue among society that it is mentioned in different documentary series and television shows. True Life, is a documentary series on MTV that follows the lives of three different people who are going through the same issue. In one episode entitled “I Live Another Life On The Web,” three girls were followed who all lived separate lives on the internet. The first girl mentioned in the documentary is Judy, who is 18 years old from Goleta, California. She has a social anxiety disorder that keeps her lonely and isolated; however, she runs an adult themed website where she posts picture and videos
that people can pay to view online. The second girl on the show is a 22 year old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin named Amy. Amy plays guitar and sings but has extreme stage fright and never performs, but found a world online where she can sing to everyone around her in the 3D virtual world “Second Life.” In this world you create avatars and socialize with other people using the program. Through this, Amy gets to be the polar opposite of herself in real life; a rock-star. The last girl mentioned in the documentary is a 22 year old from Jerseyville, Illinois named Mallory. Mallory is extremely shy and insecure but has an alter-ego online. She self-describes herself as a “sex kitten” online because of her flirty and sexy attitude. All of these girls have in common that they have alter-egos online. Via the internet they feel that they can be the exact opposite of who they are in real life. This is the attitude that people have with cyber-identities, sadly this other furthers all of their struggles in the real life by increasing the hurdles they feel in day to day life. Click here to watch the entire True Life episode "I Live Another Life On The Web"

Another example of how cyber-identities are integrated into the media is in E! channels documentary series True Hollywood Stories: Investigates. An episode entitled “ Dating Nightmares,” starts out by a dating expert, Stephany Alexander, talking about how the dating game as changed significantly over the years due to the increase in technology. She notes that the invention of chat
rooms, texting, and online dating has created more opportunity for people to lie about how people perceive them. Later in the episode a story about a girl named Kacie Woody is introduced. Kacie was a 13 year old from Faulkner County Arkansas. She was a 7th grader who lived with her dad and older brother. One day her father returned and Kacie wasn’t there, being that this was extremely unordinary for her he involved the police immediately. It was later found that Kacie was abducted and shot by an internet predator posing himself as a 17 year old teenager from California. It turned out he was a 47 year old man from the San Diego reigion, and he and Kacie would communicate almost daily. This is another first hand example of how people create alter-ego, cyber identities to portray themselves as appealing over the internet. In this case, it was used in a malicious manner to find and prey on young girls and sadly, it worked.

This article shows some instances where kids have used social networking sites
like Myspace to harass other kids. In one instance a girl found out the password to another classmate's Myspace and sent out a message that she was bringing a gun to school. The cops and Myspace worked together to figure out who the girl was and tracked her down. Other instances mentioned in the article are simply about being deceived online by friends and the serious consequences that come with cyber bullying and false cyber identities.

false identity generator: This shows how easy it is to find websites to help you create a false identity

Keeping up with the Kardashianswatch until :50 seconds!

This clip is showing two of the Kardashian sisters creating an online dating profile for their youngest sister Khloe. Later on in this episode Kim and Kourtney get back many great candidates to date their sister. When Khloe shows up for the dates, more than half of them are completely different from their online descritption.

This clip shows that a false facts are huge occurrences on online dating sites. People regularly lie about their age, height, hobbies, etc. When they show up for the date they can be the opposite of how they seemed in their profile.


This interview (interview.doc) shows that many people may use false identities without trying to hurt people, but in the end it mostly will. For example, one person responded by saying they used a false identity to find gossip. This may cause problems within a group of friends. With something more serious, like dating someone online who isn't who they say they are, it can cause harm such as serious injuries or death. It is very dangerous to make a false identity because it will cause problems and it is also known as stealing. From this survey, I found that many people have used false identities to talk to girls or guys who they like. If a person has a flaw, they would obviously not share that fact with someone who they are trying to get to like them. I also learned that people might use Facebook or Myspace to meet with people because it is easier for them to say how they feel rather than talk to a person in real life.

The next example of cyber-identities is from the PBS video special Frontline:Growing up Online, Chapter 3: Self Expression, trying On New Identities. Click here to watch!

Jessica Hunter was sick of constantly feeling humiliated and made fun of by peers. She hated being pushed into her locker and being called a, “Goth.” The awkward, shy, and insecure 14-year-old longed to, “fit the mold”, in effort to stop feeling like an alien in her “all white bread town.”

Jessica used an online social network to disguise herself as, “Autumn Edows, the Goth Artist.” Her website consisted of promiscuous photographs of “Autumn Edows,” wearing only lingerie. She lied about her age and even created an email address under the false identity. The made-up character may Jessica feel like she was reborn into a gothic model and artist.

It did not take long before Jessica’s parents became concerned with the immense amount of time she spent on her computer. They worried that she was up to something bad or talking to, “bad people.” “I would lie my ass off just to keep my identity sacred,” confessed Jessica. She did not let her parents know what she was up to because she knew they would never understand. When her parents entered her room she quickly changed the screen.

More and more people started to notice, “Autumn Edows.” Jessica received numerous messages from people she didn’t know. They would tell her she was so beautiful and that they loved her photographs. It got to the point that she would spend the entire day on her computer, simply responding to comments. She became obsessed with, “Autumn Edows.” Pretty soon people she knew found out about her scandal, which made her feel even more famous. She loved not feeling like herself.

Eventually Jessica’s principal found out about, “Autumn Edows,” and informed her parents of the disturbing images right away, which he claimed, “offended people.” Her parents were extremely surprised by her behavior. People referred to her as a, “Whore,” but Jessica still failed to recognize what was so terribly wrong with what she had involved herself with.

She felt destroyed and completely erased when her mother forced her to delete every file on her computer. Her parents consistently reinforced the idea that the photographs were misleading and might attract the wrong people. False identities such as Jessica Hunter’s are a very dangerous concept. Luckily, her principal and parents intervened when they did because what she was doing was very unsafe. Not everyone has the best intentions. In fact, some people are obsessed with taking advantage of others, especially vulnerable young girls, similarly to Jessica’s obsession with, “Autumn Edows.”