Thursday, January 6, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?

Something a little scary happened last week that has troubled my thoughts and my feelings about this blog. I am a big Facebook game player. Yes, I am one of those people whose Facebook feeds are filled with game posts instead of incredibly interesting links and statuses. Sorry.

So in all of my gaming, I accept a lot of people as game friends. I have gotten to know quite a few really nice people just through playing these games. Sometimes I go to the requesting person’s page and “qualify” them as an actual player before I accept their requests. Sometimes I get too busy and don’t.

There was a man on Facebook that was outed last week as being a pedophile. He was one of my “friends”. I saw another person’s status alerting everyone that this man was a pedophile and he would steal copies of pictures of children on Facebook pages. As soon as I read this status, I went and looked at this man’s page. He evidently had several pages. Some had been flagged by Facebook. The one I looked at showed one picture of a man sitting in front of a webcam with two girls on his lap. At first glance, you would think that this was a dad holding his daughters and having their picture taken. But the more I sat there looking at that one picture, the more the faces of the girls in the picture looked off to me. They looked alarmed or shocked in some way. I can’t describe it any better than that. I guess they looked empty and shocked.

Do I have any proof that this person is a pedophile? No. I don’t. The best proof I can give is that Facebook flagged his pages and the feeling I got from this one picture of him and these girls. That’s all the proof I have.

But as soon as I read that this guy could have at one time been on my page and possibly even this blog and viewed and copied pictures of my daughter, I became scared and enraged. I work for criminal defense attorneys. I have worked there a long time. We have had clients accused of being pedophiles. We don’t take many of those cases. I can count them on one hand. Nobody wants to take these cases. Some have been completely innocent. Some have not. From the cases of the ones that have not been innocent, I know a little bit about how a pedophile thinks and acts. It is very scary. It is especially scary to a mother. You can’t help but think of your own children and you immediately pray that nothing like that ever happens to your sweet child.

But after dwelling on this for a few days I just wonder if what I am doing here is the right thing to do. Is it fair to my daughter to post her picture up all over the internet where they are free game to anyone? You might think that pedophiles only want illicit pictures of children. You would be wrong. They only need to have a child in the picture for a pedophile to want them.

I have always been careful on this blog to not mention my daughter’s real name at all. Bean is how I refer to her because it is a nickname but also to protect her identity a little bit. I’m not stupid or naive though. I know that it takes only moderate computer ability for someone to find all the personal information about anyone on the internet in very little time.

But I still wonder if I should keep posting up her pictures? Should I keep talking about her on here? I know this has been a long standing debate with many on the internet. As my daughter gets older, my thoughts on this subject are changing. I know there will come a time that this blog will be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done to her. I can hear it now. There will be a time when she will probably say “Mom, I swear if this winds up on that blog, I will never speak to you again.” But that’s still a ways away. Right now she enjoys looking at the computer and seeing her picture there. She will point to it and say “Is dat me?”

But am I being careful enough now? Should I keep going? Should I find another focus?

I don’t have the answers to these questions today. Until I know for sure, I have decided to put it in God’s hands and ask him that he keep my child safe from this type of evil. That’s all I can do.

So for now, I will trust and carry on.


6 comments:

  1. Something to ponder and think about Pinkie. And as the parent of a daughter who is all about sharing her video's and photo's on facebook and youtube, it's heavy thoughts.

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  2. Great question about posting pictures of your child on the Internet. I think you answered the question yourself when you let readers know that pedophiles don’t only want illicit photographs of children. Pedophiles can fantasize sexually to the most innocent photographs of children. I say follow your gut and if there is ever a question about your child’s safety, err on the side of caution! We can never be too conservative when it comes to children’s safety.
    I have been educating communities across the United States about keeping kids safe from sexual abuse for about 25 years. A great resource for you and your readers is my newly published book Off Limits: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse found at www.parentingsafechildren.com.

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  3. That is scary. My blog also has pictures of my daughter. I guess I kind of don't want to know who might be looking at my blog. If I did know I probably wouldn't blog ever again. When I originally started my blog I had it as private. 1 of my good friends couldn't view it & so I made it public. Then I started getting followers & entering giveaways. I really love blogging & reading other people's blogs. I don't think I could ever give it up, but I could change the direction someday.

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  4. What have you decided? I have had moments like that in the past. I do wonder if I will make my blog private eventually...

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  5. That's a really hard question. I used to post pics of mine when they were littler - no internet in my house till they were past the baby/toddler stages, though - but as they got older I stopped blogging about them so much. Because of their privacy. But as for pictures....definitely go with your gut.

    I can't imagine changing the way I live my life, or the way I blog, based on who might be/is viewing pictures of me and/or my kids. But then again, I've never felt directly threatened by anyone on the net or otherwise.

    I had a situation a few years back involving a pedophile (or to me he was), but NOT my kids - I promptly quit having anything to do with him online. However, I don't know what I would have done if I found out he ever swiped pics of my kids or even...."looked" at them.

    It's a tough call, for sure.

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  6. It's scary to think of those people out there and I hope they stay away from my blog! I would hate to give up blogging b/c I know family reads my blog and they all live hours away from us. It's just a great way to keep up. I started putting watermarks on my photos to help prevent anyone from stealing them without my knowledge. I do what I can!

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Thanks for your comments!