Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Simplest of Terms

Every once in a while, a blogger posts about the interesting, freaky, frightening, funny or just plain weird searches that turn up on their statcounter. It makes for fun reading. There are people in this world, and the internet brings them right to our front door.

When I first installed my statcounter, I waited anxiously to see what kind of funky searches would turn up. But nothing did. Perhaps because for several months, the only person reading Blogs Are Stupid, was me.

Almost two years have gone by, and I'm both disgruntled and relieved to report that I never get anything interesting on my statcounter.

Well no, that's not entirely true.

I do get various boob searches that inevitably lead to a picture I posted quite a while back of a woman with a pair of ginormous bolt ons that are as hideous as they are mesmerizing. I removed the picture because of the number of hits it was getting, but that doesn't seem to have slowed the boob lover traffic at all.

Since appreciation for and pursuit of attractive mammaries is a fairly mainstream interest, it doesn't particularly skeeve me out.

And other than that, it's all fairly mundane.

But recently I got one that made my blood run cold. It was a Google image search, and the search terms were chillingly simple.


Now, it's perfectly possible that the search was a completely innocuous one. But something deep in my gut told me that it was not so.

You may have noticed that I don't post pictures of my own kids. I have once or twice, but I removed the photos when the posts archived. But I have posted pictures of other kids, anonymous smiling children that I found out there in the vast treasure trove of images that is the internet. I used them to illustrate posts about innocence, the purity of childhood, the beauty and potential that lies in every child.

I have never used someone else's personal images for that purpose. I was always careful to choose commercial images. But is it really any better? Sacrificing another child to save my own?

I'm going to be very blunt here, because it's important that we be very clear about what kind of dangers are out there. What kind of EVIL lies in wait, hoping for an opportunity to victimize our children.

If you have posted images of your children on your blog, a message board, ebay...anywhere on the internet, the chances that a pedophile will use it as masturbatory fodder are pretty good. And not only will they jack off to images of your sweet, smiling offspring, they will steal those images and post them places where other pedophiles can do the same. They will talk about your child as a sexual being. They will attribute sexual desire to your child. They will project seductive behavior onto them in an effort to normalize and validate their deviant behavior.

The will say things like...

"Look at those pouty lips. She's just asking to have something put between them."

"Do you see the look in his eyes? He wants Daddy to punish him."

I'm not trying to be sensational here. I'm not trying to shock or disgust you. But I see and hear things like "I'm not going to let the sickos win. I'm still going to post pictures of my kids."

And it truly frightens me. Because either way, they win.

Parents, we need a wake-up call. The internet world of child erotica is a vast and highly profitable cesspool of human depravity.

Here are some things you need to see:



Young Beauties

(I've removed the links to these sites because it was leading the pervs right to our collective doorstep. You can search and find them on your own if you like. ) are fooling yourselves if you think you can keep your children's images from being used for this sort of thing.

Also, if you let your older children go online, have chat and IM privileges, play online are basically giving pedophiles carte blanche to seduce, abuse, and possibly murder your child.

It doesn't matter how much you tell them that it's not safe to give out personal information. It doesn't matter how many times you tell them that there are people out there who want to hurt them.

It does not matter how many times you explain.

Because they don't think like adults. They don't see danger around every corner. They don't know how vile human beings can be.

My oldest son is 13. He does have internet access, because an increasing amount of homework is done online, but it is heavily monitored and locked down so tightly that many harmless sites are blocked. He does not have email. He does not have IM. And he is not allowed to access sites with chatrooms or message boards.

And we have explained why. Many times. In brutally honest terms. I even had him watch a news program where a sting operation was set up to catch internet predators. He was shocked and disturbed, which is exactly what I wanted. After that I would have sworn that he would never do anything foolhardy in that regard.

I would have been wrong.

Last weekend, he used Husband's email address to sign up for several online RPG games. All of the sites featured message boards and chat rooms.

Let me tell you, some serious caca hit the rotary oscillator over that one.

Not only because of the deceit, but because he knows WHY he shouldn't do that. And he did it anyway. Because he's 13.

So if you think that simply teaching your kids about the dangers and telling them not to do anything foolish is going to keep them safe, then you are wrong. Possibly, dead wrong.

Of course, he didn't think about the fact that confirmation notices would be sent to the purloined email address, so he didn't realize he would be busted pretty much immediately. Husband was actually online when he did it got the notice as soon as Pre-Pubescent One hit the submit button.

So no harm was done. This time.

But all I could think about was that one word, staring at me from the blue-white glare of my computer screen...."Children".

I hope you will think about it too.

ADDENDUM: There is some GREAT dialogue taking place in my comments, so please take the time to read there as well. I have the best readers. Even those who have disagreed with me have done so with tact and eloquence. This is an important thing to discuss, so if you have something to say, please feel free to say it. As always, all points of view are welcome.


  • At 2:57 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    Wow... definitely something to think about. I DO post photos of my family on my blog... but my kids are all adults (or close to it)... and maybe I'm naive, too. I think I'd feel differently if my kids were really young and vulnerable.

    Actually, I'm more worried that people will steal my photos of places and sell them. And I'm careful not to divulge where we live (exactly).

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Of course you know that sometimes I post pictures of my boys. I will consider what you wrote, but I'm not sure it's going to change my mind. I think it's important not to be cowed by the lowest common denominator.

    That said, I will be refusing to allow IM, MySpace, and the like when the time comes. It has not come yet.

    And, a friend of mine just told me that her 13-year-old daughter signed up for a MySpace account (with no one's permission), used a mature-looking picture of herself, and wrote that she was 23 years old. Yikes.

  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger Cathy, Amy and Kristina said…

    I remain conflicted over posting photos.

    I did, however, remove, my Flickr badge a week or so ago and changed the privacy settings there.


    Because of a recent post by Kate over at sweet/salty.

    And because around that same time, one of the Google searches that led to my blog was this:

    "11-year-old boy penis"

  • At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I actually just wrote about this last week. I ended up making the majority of my photos on flickr private....beyond that, as scary and unsettling as everything I saw was....I agree with slouching mom...
    "I will consider what you wrote, but I'm not sure it's going to change my mind. I think it's important not to be cowed by the lowest common denominator."
    On the sites I happened across, an overwhelming number of the perverts took pictures of children in public places with zoom lenses. To avoid that, you would have to avoid going out in public. Personally, I have decided to choose a balance between living my life and being ruled by my fear. Don't get me wrong, though...I completely understand and respect your point of view. Completely.

  • At 3:38 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Mel, that's a really good point. We can't prevent people from doing things like taking pictures of our children in public places, and we certainly can't keep our children prisoner inside our homes.

    But as far as my own children are concerned, I think of it as an issue of risk management. I lessen the risk in any way that is available to me without compromising their quality of life.

    I totally do understand not wanting to let the bad guy win.

  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said…

    Never met a pedophile who didn't troll online for what they always claimed to be "just fantasy fulfillment, you know, to tame the urges."

    Never met a pedophile who wasn't ordered to not have unsupervised internet access, either.

    Never met a "cured" or "rehabilitated" sex offender, either. Even the ones chemically castrated.

    Good call, BA, don't invite the devil into your home. You may not be able to control who zoom-lens photographs you, but you can control what you allow into your safe haven.

  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    this has me thinking... I think I am with SM... I will probably still post, but I have been considering going back and removing the pictures, and this has me thinking on that some more

  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    oh wow. I was afraid to click on those links, and then I did anyway, and it WAS really disturbing. It reminded me of an article I read this summer about a child porn ring that was busted... and i wonder who these girls are... have they been kidnapped and forced to take these photos? or do they have parents that allow it? it is so frightening.

    i have a picture of my daughter at a pool that I jokingly call her "pin up" picture because she happens to be sitting sort of in a 50s pin up pose. It's a cute picture, and totally innocent, and yet I was very careful never to post it on my blog because of that.

  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I am so scared to have kids

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Alison said…

    Without even clicking on the links, I'm disturbed. Because I have posted pics of my kids--very infrequently, although not because I thought about this issue, but because I'm lazy about uploading pictures from my camera onto my computer. Now I think I might just stop doing that so I know my kids aren't a target. It will take some pondering...thanks for the food for thought.

    We've already decided no unsupervised internet use. It won't be an issue for a few years, but the decision's already been made.

  • At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Mel and slouching mum. As a previous victim of child sexual abuse, I will never be "cowed by the lowest common denominator".

    Obviously there are dangerous people and while I am concerned/angry/disgusted/heartbroken by what goes on in cyberspace, I am not concerned at the moment for my son's physical and emotional safety because of it. I take care of those things in real life. The ghost in the machine cannot harm him.

    When he is older and using the internet himself, it will be a very different story. I'm sure I will have every software tool available to me running, and will monitor everything he does with no respect for his privacy at all.

    (Oddly enough, my only weird search term is the exact opposite: how to get your mate's mum into bed.)

  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    As you can imagine, I get many weird searches.. and some of them completely freak me out.

    "th@il@nd 1itt1e b0ys"

    That's actually rather common.

    (I altered that so you won't start getting those hits)

    There are a lot of sickos on the Internet and I agree that we have to take precautions... especially where kids are concerned.

    As you said, teaching them the dangers is not enough. They need to be monitored. They do not think like adults.



  • At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    I'm in constant consideration of what you have written, and yet I have posted pictures of The Queens.

    I appreciate and understand your thought process, because part of me screams those things out on a daily, hourly, sometimes even more frequent basis.

    But I have a problem with walking the tightrope--that I'm not sure the net of thinking that an absolute no is necessarily the safest or best choice.

    Our differning opinions aside, excellent post though, your brutal honesty is one reason I love coming here to read. It's always thought-provoking and well considered.

  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Sure, freak out the hormonal woman.

    In all seriousness, the topic of posting our kids pictures is a tricky one. I don't post as many pictures as I used to but I still do. Not sure that's going to change but I'll definitely give it more thought.

  • At 7:38 PM, Blogger Rachelle said…

    Okay, you got me. I have been thinking about it... and I am still thinking about it. Meanwhile, I've just gone through and removed all the photos of my kids from my blog. Painful! I love the photos of my kids. But until I come to some sort of conclusion about this, better safe than sorry. No more pics.

    Oh, how I HATE that the world seems to be ruled by the bad people.

    And my kids only have internet access right there in the family room, supervised. Totally agree with you there. Thanks for the heads-up and the blunt warning. We all probably needed it.

  • At 8:52 PM, Blogger Amie Adams said…

    It really is disturbing. As much as I would love to post pictures of my boys on my blog, I just can't do it for these very reasons.

  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I respectfully disagree with you. I know that it's easy to be cowed by the fear of pedophiles, but in actuality they aren't trolling blogs looking for little kids. They DO troll photo sites like flickr and it's only prudent to keep your photos for friends and family, but there are MILLIONS of blogs out there and pedophiles would have to search forever to find certain sites like mine. I've been blogging for 4 years and I check my stats and searches daily and I NEVER get anything chilling, ever. The only thing I've ever got that was even mildly weird was "kosher tushies", which I found to be funny, not scary.

    I work in the field of internet security. I write about it on my site occasionally. I know a bit more about how it works than the average joe, which is why I'm not fearful. It is EASY as a parent to keep totally and completely informed about what your kids are doing online. If you, as a parent, don't take those precautions, then you're a fool. But to deny your children a form of communication that is commonplace and part of their social mileau is, in my opinion, reactionary and unfair to kids.

    My kids have myspace pages that they no longer use, myspace being totally and completely OUT for high schoolers. It's used by middle schoolers and old people. High school and college kids wouldn't be caught dead on it. But my daughter did ONCE get entangled with someone unsavory. He wasn't trolling, he found her through a troubled friend and decided to 'befriend' my daughter. I caught him with the very first contact, told him to get lost, he contacted her again, I contacted the police, and that was that. It took all of 2 days to have the guy arrested.

    My kids use Facebook, and I track their usage continually. They cannot do or say anything that I don't see. They IM and I record their keystrokes and read everything. They know I do. Therefore, they are careful about what they do online.

    Denying them access would only make them want it more. Which is not what you want to do with a teenager. Allowing them access but monitoring it carefully is going to serve you and your son a lot better in the long run.

    If you want to learn how to monitor his online interactions, email me. It's honestly simple as can be.

  • At 12:33 AM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    goddamnit. i hate this stuff.

  • At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have come across one site by a GROWNUP person who posts her real name online on her open-to-the-public blog. First name, maiden name, last name and the itty bitty town where they live, where it would take all of two minutes to find them. Kids' names, hubby's name, hubby's place of employment.

    For everyone in the world to see, with no attempt to disguise anything. In fact the blogger even posted her phone number. EEK! And yep, she has tons of photos of her children.

    I have often wondered on what planet she was living because if a grownup person doesn't realise that is not the thing to do, then the children surely are not protected from a madman.

    One can take caution too far, certainly - life is inherently dangerous but there is such a thing as being downright stupid about it.

  • At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would like to make a comment based on "carol" and "anonymous'" remarks...

    Anonymous... you don't even need that much information to find people. Go to and type your name... and a State. You may be shocked at what comes up! When a person gives there JOB description and city and state, it's even easier... for instance, CAROL's blog. It would be easy to find people.


    I do NOT post pictures of my family AT ALL on my blog and hopefully (I'm most certain) you couldn't find out my address or real name... other than first name, Amanda.


  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger XUP said…

    I think I'm going to have to agree with margalit for the most part. I don't post anything personal on my blog and I've had all the discussions with my teenage daughter and keep and eye on what she's doing on the computer. She does have an IM account and a Facebook account because that's how teens socialize today. We used to spend hours on the telephone and it would have been horrible to think of my parents cutting off all my phone privileges because someone might be monitoring my phone calls and tracking me down through them. Having said all that, I do want to emphasize something touched on in the original post -- you can warn kids about everything under the sun, but their brains just aren't wired to make some of the necessary connections that will allow them to make good judgments. I know my daughter has made some scary decisions despite all our safety discussions. You have to keep on top of them 24/7. I would like more info, margalit, on keeping track of her internet use -- can you post something on your blog? Or how best to contact you?

  • At 7:55 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Margalit, thanks for the offer. Husband is an internet professional as well and does know how to track internet usage. That's what I meant by "heavily monitored". He's also the one who has installed the content and security protocols. I have no idea how to do any of that stuff, so it's fortunate that he does.

    Also...I understand your point about teenagers and how they socialize/network these days. I resisted the cell phone but ultimately gave in because it was so important to him.

    Right now I have to say that IM, email and the like are not terribly important to him, but at some point it may become so. And, it's possible that I may find myself rethinking my position if that happens.

    I remember being the odd man out and it's no fun. Still, my priority is always safety over popularity, which, I'm sure, will negatively affect my own popularity with my boys at some point.

  • At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our blog is part of our business, so it would be kind of hard not to use our real, full names. It would be a little strange to have press done about us with where we live, our real names, and the names of our family memebers, and then try to hide our identities on our blog.

    Like some of the other commenters said, it's a sick world we live in. I have a registered sex offender living down the street from me. I wouldn't have known about him unless a neighbor told me. Since I don't have children in school, I wasn't notified.

    Every day I open the newspaper and watch the news, and there are pictures and videos of chidren with their full names and the towns/cities in which they live.

    Go on whitepages . com and you can find the direct address and phone number of everyone who chooses to post it.

    I guess my point is, there is a lot of infomation out there - and a lot of ways to access it.

    I think that whether or not we choose to publicize personal information, we have to be vigilant with protecting our children.

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger Shelley said…

    I'm going to agree with margalit on this: "But to deny your children a form of communication that is commonplace and part of their social mileau is, in my opinion, reactionary and unfair to kids."
    My 15 year-old and almost 13 year- old daughters both have My Space pages. I monitor their pages. You have the option to make the profile private to anyone who is not on your friends' list, and both my kids profiles are set that way. We have rules. Anyone on their friends' list must be someone they know in person. There are no "internet" friends. I made my own account specifically for them to add me as a friend so I can monitor their pages. They either added me as a friend, or they aren't allowed to use it. My computer is in the living room in plain computers in bedrooms. Also, I have a password on the computer. When no adult is home, the computer is password-locked. They have to ask permission to use it, and then if all homework is done and all chores are done, we will unlock it for them. When we go to bed, if they are still up (summer, school breaks), the computer is locked. It's also a great discipline tool, because boy does it make them crazy to lose computer privileges. As for the's a tough call, but I'm not going to not post pictures of my kids, just because some people out there are sickos. Just my thoughts. :)

  • At 10:57 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    I don't necessarily have the same worries, as my daughter is older and living on her own. hopefully, I've raised her to be wise enough to protect herself. However, I will not post her picture or her real name on my Blog simply because, as a relative who was a homicide detective once told me " it is a very, very small world, and if you think you can't be found, think again". That was long before the popularity of the Internet.

  • At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a few pictures of my son on my blog but I have taken down my flickr badge and have made my flickr account private after Dutch posted about's unauthorized use of a picture of his daughter for thier website. I don't know that I'm going to take the old pictures down (except for one that I posted of b@tht1me when it was just my family reading that I'm ashamed to have left up for so long because I forgot about it) but my lack of pics is mostly out of laziness and not having a computer set up at home for the last few months.

    Do you remember The Missouri Miracle? In January, police discovered a boy who'd been kidnapped FOUR YEARS previous and he was still alive and living as the kidnapper's son. He was discovered with another boy who'd been missing for four days. The kidnapper, Michael Devlin, has just pled guilty to nearly 100 counts in various jurisdictions of kidnapping, sexual assault, and attempted murder. It's come out that the boy missing for four years didn't run at the first chance he got because Devlin took him to a field and started to strangle him. In order to save his own life, the boy bargained to live by promising to do whatever Devlin wanted, which later turned into helping him capture the boy who was missing for four days.

    My point isn't to highlight one of the worst kidnapping stories I've heard, but to say this: Devlin just pled guilty, not to spare the boys the trauma of having to drag out the story in front of a courtroom full of people, but to keep the public from finding out just what atrocities he committed. He's hiding in the only way he can, by owning up to it and taking his multiple life sentences without a fight, in the face of overwhelming evidence against him.

    The Internet is another great place for child predators to hide. Their screen gives them anonymity just like it enables a 13 year old to say she's 23. That anonymity, combined with the naiveté of an adolescent not yet schooled in the true ways of the world allows enough room for said adolescent to keep from being safe 100% online.

    Should we not let them online EVER until they're adults and we can no longer dictate? I don't think so. Should we shelter them so much that they won't know how to handle themselves online when the time comes to hand those privileges over to them? I don't think we should do that either.

    I like Margalit's suggestion, with the keystroke monitoring and being extremely vigilant about their computer use and what goes on with it. I, however, am not an Internet professional, nor am I married to one, so I haven't a clue how to begin such monitoring. BA, is there a way you could have your husband explain some of what we can do to set such a thing up? I'm sure that information would help more than just your regular readers, because maybe along with the Google Image search for "Children" there will also be concerned parents trolling for advice and techniques to protect their children who would find you through searches.

    Sorry about the length. I got a little carried away there.

  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Wow, I was glad to see this post. I was logging into mybloglog today and to my HORROR nambla was part of my community. I followed the link to find out how the heck that happened and it led me to your blog...I was coming here to warn you that something was afoul.

    Anyway, I don't post pics of my kids on my blog, either. I have a variety of reasons, including the fact that I want to retain a degree of anonymity (although anyone could figure out who I am if they were so inclined within minutes, I am sure) for myself as well as my kids. Of course, that could be achieved with pics of my kids...but my comfort zone just says no.

  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger Karyn said…

    This is a starkly thought provoking post.

    I've been conservative posting photos of my offspring and I never use their names or disclose our location.

    I know anyone can see them and that does skeeve me out a bit. And here's where my ignorance comes and bites me in the bahookie -

    I don't know what this "search site hit meter" stuff is or how to see what people search to find me.

    And now I'm not sure I want to but I feel compelled to do.

    Urgh. It's been ages since I was here, and I apologize - this is one blog I adore - I think I forgot you came back. My brain kind of locked down on "BA Has Left The Blogosphere" and gave up.

    I'll be back. (I'm sure that'll have you sleeping better. Insert eyeroll here.)

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for writing this my friend. There is some great discussion going on in the comments and I can appreciate all the sides of this issue.

    I don't and haven't posted photos of my son on my blog. Maybe it's because, like your kids, he's older and I fear more for his offline safety. I hadn't considered the reasons you suggested but it is just another reason that I'll continue to not post his images.

    That having been said, all of us who blog about our children, with or without there images, make the decision to share a piece of them with the world. To share a piece of their privacy with the world. I sometimes struggle with that too.

  • At 2:44 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    This whole issue has really caused me to rethink my blog life. I try to remain somewhat anonymous, but my smokescreen is probably a joke. I haven't yet taken down photos from old posts and am not sure yet what I will do. The most recent post I wrote featured my kids only shot from the back or side. The creepy photos of my daughter after a Libby Lou Party (where she is dolled up to look 15) will never be on my blog.

    In addition, I urge parents to read "Protecting the Gift"---it is an amazing book with wonderful advice. It also reveals that often what we most have to fear is not the stranger on the other end of the computer, but the person we welcome into our homes and our lives.

  • At 3:25 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Wow ~ What a hot topic you have here, BA! THanks for giving me something to think about. My readers could find me pretty easily if they wanted to... but I don't really know who's coming to visit me at my blog. I assume that it's mostly friends and family ~ that's who I write it for (besides myself of course)... but I do post pictures and I like to think that no one will come and kidnap my kids because of how cute they are... But perhaps I'm just being naive. :(

  • At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I understand the pov of the pink and blues poster. I should have been clearer in my post. I do understand that some people have net based or advertised businesses.

    The blog that bothers me tremendously is a blog by a stay at home mom, no business ventures involved at all, and contains very personal details about the poster and her family members. And there isn't even an attempt at anonymity.

    The blog came to my attention via someone who knew her family generally. So I do not see how it is anything but dangerous to post your entire full name, including maiden name, names of spouse and children, brothers and sisters, along with photos of people who may in fact not even know that their sister, friend, aunt, is posting their images online.

    It is a violation of everyone's privacy. I totally understand that sometimes blogs, by their very nature, are only thinly disguised to those who know the blogger, and that's a risk that some people choose to take. I am not for taking all the risk out of life. Life IS risk.

    But I think that some bloggers forget that their right to speak freely should not infringe on the rights of others who may want thier privacy or who would prefer not to have whatever family difficulties they may have posted on the internet for everyone to see and, in this particular case, recognise, since there isn't even the slightest attempt on the part of the poster to disguise herself.

    And that worries me for the poster's children. Perverts can jack off to just about anything, no matter how innocent the picture is, but given no attempt at concealment of towns or names or home phone number - well, I just couldn't do that to my kids, ya know? I would be terrified that some local pervert would be watching my house, and ready to snatch my kid. That leaves the door too open to potential tragedy.

    And I would have posted something to that effect on her blog, but I'm afraid it would come out all wrong, or that she would take it all wrong, but I just think that if a grownup doesn't use just basic common sense when it comes to privacy, how can they teach their children to be careful on the internet? I wonder, without any sarcasm intended, in what universe such a poster lives, that they haven't read all the warnings about safeguarding your privacy (at least to some extent) on the net. (I have noticed from things she has written that she doesn't seem to react well to preceived criticism)

    You guys all have made good points and my point isn't (I don't think) against any of your points. It is more about one blogger whose blog makes my heart thump with fear every time I see it, like watching a train wreck about to happen.

    I don't read many blogs so I don't know how common this is. Obviously this does not apply to BA's blog :-)

  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger Lesley said…

    The SH*T is officially scared out of me thank you. I think we all need a wake up or warning every once in a while so we don't get complacent. I would like to think there AREN'T people like that out in the world, but it is a fact that they ARE out there. Damn them anyway!

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  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I had a weird search awhile ago that freaked me out a bit ... but in the end I decided that the less than two minutes spent on my blog by some perv in the Czech Republic was not something that needed to be a determining factor in how I blog.

  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Jaelithe said…

    A person doing a Google image search for "Children" might very well have been looking for royalty-free photos of cute kids for totally innocuous reasons-- to use them for an art project; a website for children, etc.

    I myself have done many image searches for "babies" because when my son was a baby, he liked to look at pictures of other babies.

    Of course, you are absolutely positively right that the internet is plagued with child predators and we must always be on our guard. But I myself remain firmly in the "a life lived in fear is a life half-lived" camp.

    Most of the people I know who were sexually abused as children were abused by a parent, other relative, or school teacher-- an adult in their lives whom all the other adults in their lives, sadly, trusted-- NOT by a stranger. I believe that statistics support my anecdotal experience that most abuse is perpetrated by people kids know.

    Keep in mind that a lot of my peers were kids when the public internet got off the ground-- I myself was 14 when I joined my first chat room (which was created by real-life friends of mine)-- so internet predators were already a problem when many of my friends were children, and yet, I do not personally know ANYONE my age who was a victim of sex abuse from someone they met over the internet, but I know several of people my age who were abused by people they met in real life.

    I hope to teach my son to use the internet carefully and wisely. I do not plan to ban him from having a chat account once he is of an age where I feel he can think critically about who he talks to. I DO plan on monitoring his activity closely, and explaining all the dangers of internet use very thoroughly, and I won't hesitate to revoke his privileges if I think he is acting like a fool and putting himself in danger.

    I would much rather help him set up his chat account and social networking accounts myself, and be able to see that he is being careful about what information he makes public, and have him feel like he could come to me if someone started to harass or threaten him, than have him set up a forbidden account behind my back, with information I will never see, and then have him fear that if he tells me about someone harassing or scaring him, I will punish him for lying to me and shut his account down.

    (Yet, at the same time, I don't support the "let them drink at home so they won't drink behind your back" theory AT ALL. Kind of hypocritical of me, I suppose. However, there are tangible benefits to using the internet, whereas there are no tangible benefits to underage drinking.)


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