After speaking at a Christian school earlier this year, I received an email from a parent about an issue that I hadn’t heard about in all the research I’d been doing on the topic of online safety.
And that is – chain emails.
Chain letters have been around for years, so it’s not surprising they’ve moved online. I just hadn’t heard of this particular threat to the safety of kids.
As I followed up on email, the lady I spoke with said this:
“What is amazing about them is how many email addresses that can be ‘harvested’ from these emails and how many kids forward them. The fact that they don’t tell their parents they receive them is a concern. And also that they can threaten violence. I don’t think the content is really any different from chain letters but they are much more easily forwarded.”
Below are two examples she forwarded to me – the second is worse than the first. Parents – as if the internet wasn’t a challenge enough, here’s another area to monitor! However, this is important to be aware of – can you imagine the fear a younger child might have in receiving the second email?
FIND OUT WHO IT IS ! HERE’S WHAT U HAVE 2 DO BUT LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY!!
SEND THIS LETTER 2 YOUR FRIENDS . AND IF U DONT HAVE ANY FRIENDS NO SWEAT JUST GO 2 A CHATROOM PICK OUT SOME NAMES AND BINGO!
BUT REMEMBER PASS IT ON!! AND IF U DON’T PASS IT YOU WILL PAY
WITH YOUR LIFE!!
U. HAVE ONE HOUR 2 SEND THIS SO HURRY. AFTER U SEND THIS A SNAILWILL CROSS THE SCREEN AND OUT OF IT’S SHELL WILL POP OUT YOUR SECRET CRUSH’S FIRST AND LAST NAME HIS/HER ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER.
IF U SEND THIS TO 0 PEOPLE-YOUR LUV LIFE IS OVER!
5 PEOPLE- AND YOUR! CRUSHWILL SAY HE/SHE LIKES U AS A FRIEND ONLY!
10 PEOPLE -AND YOUR CRUSHWILL SAY HE/SHE LIKES U.
15 PEOPLE-AND YOUR CRUSHWILL ASK U OUT.
20 PEOPLE-AND YOUR CRUSHWILL ASK U OVER HIS/HER HOUSE ! ; FOR DINNER.
25 PEOPLE-AND YOUR CRUSHWILL KISS U ON THE LIPS!
30 PEOPLE-AND YOUR CRUSHWILL MARRY YOU AND YOU’LL HAVE TWINS!!!
so do me a favor and pass it on!
tomorrow morning your crush will fall madly in love with you. You guys will hook up, and your crush will ask you out. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However, if you don’t send this to at least 10 people bye @ least 10:00 tonight you will have bad luck in you love life for the rest of your life. This is not a stupid one or a fake Just copy and paste. Start sending SECRET CRUSH?…
THIS EMAIL HAS BEEN CURSED ONCE OPENED YOU MUST SEND IT. You are now cursed. You must send this on or you will be killed. Tonight at 12:00am, by Bloody Mary. This is no joke. So don’t think you can quickly get out of it and delete it now because Bloody Mary will come to you if you do not send this on. She will slit your throat and your wrists and pull your eyeballs out with a fork. And then hang your dead corpse in your bedroom cupboard or put you under your bed. What’s your parents going to do when they find you dead? Won’t be funny then, will it? Don’t think this is a fake and it’s all put on to scare you because your wrong, so very wrong. Want to hear of some of the sad, sad people who lost their lives or have been seriously hurt by this email? CASE ONE - Annalise [Surname Removed] :She got this email. Rubbish she thought. She deleted it. And now, Annalise dead. CASE TWO - Louise [Surname Removed]: She sent this to only 4 people and when she woke up in the morning her wrists had deep lacerations on each. Luckily there was no pain felt, though she is scarred for life. CASE THREE - Thomas [Surname Removed]: He sent this to 5 people. Big mistake. The night Thomas was lying in his bed watching T.V. The clock shows ’12:01am’. The T.V misteriously flickered off and Thomas’s bedroom lamp flashed on and off several times. It went pitch black, Thomas looked to the left of him and there she was, Bloody Mary standing in white rags. Blood everywhere with a knife in her hand then disappeared. The biggest fright of Thomas’s life. Warning… NEVER look in a mirror and repeat -‘Bloody Mary.Bloody Mary.’ Bloody Mary… I KILLED YOUR SON’ Is it the end for you tonight! YOU ARE NOW CURSED We strongly advise you to send this email on. It is seriously NO JOKE. We don’t want to see another life wasted. ITS YOUR CHOICE… WANNA DIE TONIGHT? If you send this email to… NO PEOPLE – You’re going to die. 1-5 PEOPLE – You’re going to either get hurt or get the biggest fright of your life. 5-15 PEOPLE – You will bring your family bad luck and someone close to you will die. 15 -25 OR MORE PEOPLE – You are safe from Bloody Mary