During my days at school in India in 2013, I was in a friendly relationship with a girl in grade eight. She was a really kind, helpful, and big-hearted human being, and I still remember the days when we would spend our quality time together. In addition, in those days, we used to be friends on Facebook, where we used to chat with each other. Somehow, onwards from there, the rest of our history added more insult to the injuries in my life.
One evening, I started checking her Facebook account, and I was looking at her photos from her account. Honestly, I was quite impressed with the quality of photos she had uploaded on Facebook. At the same time, I was intrigued by her presence and the style of clothes she was wearing in those photos, which caused me to start commenting on her photos. I decided to make good, decent comments on her pictures, and if I did not like the photos, I would not comment; I would instead inform her in a separate message, saying “I did not like this photo” for whatever reason it may have been. Nevertheless, this act of mine was like chucking the ball into the basket every single day to get good practice in basketball.
Unfortunately, troubles started coming my way as far as the comments on my friend’s photos were concerned, since one of my friends mentioned “stalker alert,” which was referring to my act of commenting. When I first read his comments, I failed to understand what he meant, but I later realized that he meant that I was being a stalker by commenting, which did not make sense to me. However, I responded by telling him to shut up. Later, more friends of mine started confronting me both in person at school and on social media, where they mentioned that I was being a stalker just because I was commenting on her photos, and this caused a load of pain for me. I was deeply confused when people used to share this to me because I did not understand what stalking meant. I wondered how my comments were causing so much trouble to someone, so I tried explaining to everyone that I was not stalking. I was just making a comment on something I saw that was beautiful in her photos. All of my explanations were in vain since nobody understood what I was trying to say.
With due respect to this topic, the definition of stalking is when somebody has a pattern of unusual behavior of harassing, repeatedly contacting, or following someone. As far commenting is concerned, it is when you are saying something good or bad to someone either in person or on social media. In my case, I was just commenting instead of stalking, my comments on her pictures were clean, and I used nice choices of words during that time. However, the main problem was how I was wrongly judged by few of my friends at school, as to their thinking, they felt that I did some sort of crime by commenting on somebody’s photos online. Honestly, I was extremely ashamed from their dirty mindset where they could vaguely imagine that making comments on a particular person’s photos on social media can be defined as stalking. At the same time, I was deeply confused on what stalking meant, but when I look back to this, I somewhat understand how something like this could have led me to legal trouble if I had continued doing the act of online stalking, and I would not have been a part of Maplebrook or Beacon College as a result.
My side of the story in this incident is that the girl was a close friend of mine. I liked her for the pure, golden-hearted personality of hers, and I used to like and comment on her photos online at that certain point in time. Yes, I also humbly admit I was following her online activity from late 2013 to 2014, but this does not mean I am a villain from a Bollywood movie. Nevertheless, I strongly believe my intentions were blown out of proportion or misunderstood by my friends, and I felt very hurt due to these baseless allegations. I did not have any intentions to cause any harm or pain to anybody as far this subject is concerned. Whenever I look back on this topic, I feel extremely ashamed of my actions even though I did not mean to do it, and I should not have crossed the boundaries in terms of making comments on social media.
Adding more insult to my injuries, a few of my teachers were informed about my act of stalking my female classmate online. They came to know about it through one of my posts on Facebook, where I had publicly announced that I was dating her, although I was not (I used to think dating meant being really good friends), which did not go over well with them. Therefore, one of my teachers confronted me on this topic, and she told me that what I was doing was not right and that I may have to stop stalking her. She said, “When you are dating someone, it’s not necessary to put it on social media.” I responded by saying, “Sorry, ma’am. I did not mean to either stalk or harass anyone. It’s just that I like her posts. That’s why I was making comments on every photo of her.” As far my post was under scrutiny, I did it under the pressure of excitement, so I kept her suggestions in mind. Luckily, that teacher was kind enough to understand my explanation. I also tried explaining the same to my brother, but it was all in vain since he was not convinced from my explanations.
In the end, I realized a couple of things during the course of this incident. First, whenever you see a post either on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or on any other social media platform, you do not need to make a comment on every single post you may see on any of these. Whether you like it or not, it does not make any sense to comment on everything on social media these days. Second of all, please be careful in crossing boundaries/limits whenever you see something on Facebook or on Instagram so that the other person doesn’t go through any mental health problems due to your activities. After my incident, I rarely comment on any social media posts these days.
In conclusion, I hope everyone gets to experience stories like these in which they can learn or redeem themselves from their mistakes. At the same time, it is important that nobody commits any mistakes like this in the future where their lives might be impacted by major legal issues.