Could we learn something from cyber stalking Netflix documentary Can I Tell You A Secret

The two-part Netflix documentary explores the hair-raising story of a group of women targeted by a malicious cyber-stalker.

Released on February 21, the two episodes follow the story told by three individual women and their experiences with a terrifying hacker and stalker online.

Zoe Jade Hallam, Abby Furness and Lia Marie Hambly were just three among hundreds of victims harassed online by Cheshire-based online stalker Matthew Hardy.

The victims experiences of the online horror inflicted over the course of numerous years are explored by the emotional documentary.

Hardy’s online hacking, hunting and harassment caused the lives of the girls to be upturned, ruining relationships and even causing them to be afraid to leave their home alone.

The chilling cyber-stalker would create fake accounts to reach out to his victims, their friends and their families using realistic photos and personas and convincing language.

He would begin his messaged by asking the victims the same six, sinister words “Can I tell you a secret?” and would appeal by calling them doll and referring to people they know.

The messages would become more threatening, resulting in the victims being afraid to go out and do what they normally would.

However, the support met by the victims from the police was less than helpful, as they were often told that if nothing had happened, there was nothing they could do.

The girls, some of whom had no prior connection to Hardy, battled the constant online stalking with countless messages clouding their notifications each day.

Prolific cyber-stalker Matthew Hardy was later sentenced to nine years in prison in 2022 after appearing at Chester Crown Court.

The documentary, produced by Netflix, is a two-part limited series with each episode 50-minutes long.

It is currently number five in TV Programmes Today, and a trending topic among people on social media.

But what is the lesson to learn in all this? And will anyone listen?

As time progresses, we as a society are becoming more and more dependent on social media and online technology in an integral part of our everyday lives.

The openness of social media platforms where users are able to constantly update followers and friends on what they are doing can enable the wrong people to gather information.

For the victims of the cyber-stalking committed by Hardy, this had the potential and in some ways did, destroy their lives.

At the end of the documentary, the victims expressed how the experience had led to a shift in their mindset towards social media and the way they use it.

Online safety was often drilled into our heads in school assemblies or by concerned parents, but how many of us truly give it a second thought?

Whilst social media is a great space to connect with others and express the things we enjoy, it is important to be aware of the risks.

Can I Tell You A Secret is a harrowing documentary series that reminds us the potential dangers of the online world and the dark uses it may harbor.

Watch the two-part limited series on Netflix now.


Cover photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash.

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