1) Criminal Minds season 5, episode 22: “The Internet is Forever” – A serial killer uses the Internet to live-stream his murders to a select batch of creepy chat-room voyeurs.
2) Switched at Birth, Season 3, Episode 11: “Love Seduces Innocence, Pleasure Entraps, and Remorse Follows” – Set up via weeks of texting, series regular Emmett is “catfished” by a schoolmate in retaliation for Emmett having snitched on him.
3) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Season 14, Episode 21, “Kitty” – In the episode that sets up the CSI: Cyber spin-off, an unsuspecting woman’s online images are used to create a sex avatar for a real-time, online sex site.
4) The Good Wife, Season 6, Episode 18, “Loser Edit” – Old Lockhart – Gardner emails are hacked, and the hacker threatens to reveal various unsavory tidbits from the past three years, which will cause serious damage to Alicia’s reputation just as she takes office as the new State’s Attorney.
5) Every episode of “CSI: Cyber” – So far this season we’ve seen a kidnapping made possible by tapping into a WiFi-enabled video baby monitor, a subway system hacked into, murders of Uber-esque car service drivers via hacking of their dispatch site, and fires caused by malicious code sent to printers via the Internet.
There are certainly more TV storylines featuring social media dangers, but these are a few that stand out. Does that mean social media is harmful and shouldn’t be used? Of course not. It simply means being smart and taking appropriate precautions to keep yourself (or your children) safe makes sense.
Watching “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” shouldn’t make you afraid to leave the house, but if it makes you think twice about walking home alone late at night, that’s not a bad thing. Neither is changing your passwords from time to time, and only interacting online with people you know.
As social media evolves, its users also need to evolve. With a little help from your favorite TV shows, you’ll hopefully never have to live these experiences yourself.
IMAGE CREDIT: ALAN KLIM
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New Orleans, LA