The internet is an amazing wonderland where regular Joes like you and I have instant access to the celebrities we love. With social media sites like Twitter, talking about a song with your favorite band or asking a question about an actress’ latest film is as simple as typing out a few characters and hoping to get a reply.
Celebrities are often encouraged to engage with their fans through these social media sites, and some websites take extra precautions when it comes to celebrities to make sure that the person at the other end of the keyboard is who they say they are. Even with these precautions in place, there are still individuals out there who will go out of their way to convince other unwitting users that they are someone they’re not. This brings us to today’s story.
In March of 2017, a 42-year-old Queensland teacher was placed under arrest for charges ranging from making child exploitation material to rape. Over 157 people had allegedly been victimized by the former lecturer through social media websites such as Facebook and Skype after he convinced his naive victims that he was teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse stated in a press release that this heinous crime draws attention to how vulnerable children are using these websites.
“The fact that so many children could believe that they were communicating with this particular celebrity highlights the need for a serious rethink about the way that we as a society educate our children about online safety.”
It is believed that the teacher, identified as Gordon Douglas Chalmers, had been involved in this con game for nearly a decade. Found on Chalmers’ computer were hundreds of files from young Justin Beiber fans who Chalmers had convinced to send him sexual photos and videos.
Parents have been urged to have access to their children’s online accounts and to monitor their online activities in order to prevent predators like Chalmers from grooming their children online.