I’m a therapist who works with young adults who have serious mental illness. Some of the youth that I work with are involved in local gangs and have violent histories. Some are just overly fascinated with the therapists and social workers that are involved in their lives. I work with hundreds of different youth every year and so obviously I cannot block every singly one.

In addition, I have an abusive father who has spent my lifetime causing me fear. He has stalked my family and myself both physically and digitally. In the past he has harmed my pets. He has attempted to contact my friends through Facebook the one time I have used my birth name. Though I have moved hundreds of miles away from him and have blocked him, I simply do not want him to have access to my private information.

Using a chosen name helps me to retain my privacy while I connect with my friends. Of course I keep hidden, using the available privacy settings, everything I can. However, more than once these settings have shifted without notice causing me to be far more publicly exposed than is safe for me. A fake name allows me to have some protection while my information is exposed and I can figure out how to hide it all again.