Reports have resurfaced regarding the claims of a young teenager from the capital that his Facebook friends are truly his only “real friends” as opposed to those people he knows in person.
In terrifying testimony picked up by Meanwhile in Ireland late last night, Cathal Jones from Swords in County Dublin reiterated his claims only weeks after they were previously debunked by a Gardaí fact-finding team.
Mr. Jones has been a Facebook user for almost two years now, and has accumulated an alarming 1,896 friends that he purports to call his “real friends”.
This is despite the fact that Mr. Jones hasn’t met any of these characters in real life, while he has engaged with actual people on a daily basis.
Jones’ parents have expressed their deep concern at the escalating situation, professing to local media that they have been unable to control the proliferation in added friends and corresponding friend requests, and that their efforts to persuade him otherwise have fallen on deaf ears.
“It’s out of control,” warned his father. “His poor mother can’t sleep at night thinking about what this is doing to him.
“He tells us he has no friends in real life. We’ve told him that can’t be possible, that he has friends in school. He just looks blankly and tells us all his real friends are on his phone.”
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time that Cathal Jones has peddled such extremist views. As early as April of this year, Jones was questioned over claims he had “1,000 real friends”.
Gardaí investigators let the youngster go without any real scrutiny, passing the issue off as “absolutely awful parenting” and claiming Jones “needed a good boot up the arse and be told to wise up, that’ll do it.”
However, despite confirmation from neighbours of the Jones’ family that the stipulated boots up the arse took place on a biweekly basis at the very least, young Cathal Jones’ claims have reared their ugly head once more.
The new claim
The new and refreshed claim materialised after Mr. Jones received a major boost with an increase in 896 friends over a five month period. The teenager took to Facebook to express why he felt like he was compelled to come forward once more.
“After my forced silence the last time, I feel like I have to come forward and speak again. My 1,896 friends are my real friends. Each and every one of them. I don’t care what my ma and da say, they’re real!”
Renewed Gardaí investigation
Head of the Gardaí Social Media Investigating Team, Richard Mulcahy, has told Meanwhile in Ireland that they are “ramping up” their efforts to debunk these new claims by enlisting the help Dr Fiona Burke, clinical psychology professor at Dublin City University (DCU).
The psychologist is to examine Mr. Jones weekly in an attempt to break down his strongly held beliefs that the text messages between him and strangers on Messenger confers real friendship upon him.
Dr. Burke confessed to Meanwhile in Ireland off the record that there will be “absolutely nothing at all I can do” about the situation.
She cited studies which show young people nation-wide are now more likely to speak more with Facebook ‘friends’ than they do people in real life.