Just two or three days ago a young girl took her life. A child whose heart wrenching message on the Internet should be sending chills up the spine of any thinking, responsible adult who is either a parent or caregiver of a young person or teenager. Amanda Todd was not yet sixteen years old. Her grieving parents will never take her down the aisle of a church to marry her to some lucky young man. They will never hold and play with her babies - their grandchildren. Instead they will hold forever in their memories a frozen image of a young child on the brink of womanhood with doe like eyes brimming with pain. Instead they will escort her to her final resting place and inscribe her headstone.
This child's death drives home again the damage that can be done to sensitive individuals on the Internet with faceless communications. Even those not so sensitive can be wounded and damaged. More and more, I begin to think that the unsupervised use of Face book is dangerous beyond our wildest imaginings. Why?
Well when you read Amanda's story you begin to understand just how easy it is for some creep to have access to the minds of your child, whether a boy or a girl and how they can be damaged beyond repair if nothing is done to combat it.
Amanda had apparently made contact with some creep who asked her to flash her body and then this man stalked her after posting her picture on the Internet and even going so far as to send it to her new school when she changed schools in order to escape the clutches of this despicable creature.
This is a good article and I have posted links to some others because these two articles point to the horrifying potential dangers inherent in Face Book and what it entails for our children.
What do incidents like this tell us? They tell us that FACEBOOK can be so DANGEROUS for young teens insecure in who they are, their sexuality and self esteem. Would we let our 12 year old daughter or son wander into a bar in St Kilda on a Saturday night and hob nob with the patrons there? Definitely NOT. But that is what unsupervised Internet access is about. Anyone can contact your child and start up a conversation with them. The child does not see who they are but relies on information provided by the other person. Perverts are very socially adept groomers, even of other adults in order to cover their activities and to make them appear NORMAL. BEWARE.
Check your son or daughter's history. Don't allow them on chat rooms without you close by and the computer needs to be in a public place like the lounge room or a dining room. Go over the history and conversations.
Gee, some must be saying, 'Pity this woman's son. She is no fun.' Well son, I am a Mum and often it is not fun. It is darn hard work to keep track of things and protect your child from the dangers out there. We do not relax for a moment because we cannot. I have a neighbour and she has sheep. Just recently, the fox has taken five lambs that have been born in the past few weeks. One sheep had triplets and not the poor thing has only one. That is what it feels like. You are the mother sheep protecting your lamb from the foxes and wolves lurking out there. It is not easy.
And this is the sort of person you do not want your child in contact with.http://www.theage.com.au/technology/notorious-creepy-uncle-troll-unmasked-20121015-27m70.html
Poor little Amanda was so confused by the messages sent to her throughout her short life about what her role in society was. She is so similar to many young women cast adrift on the social oceans of social media on the internet. Amanda is one that drowned in a sea of hatred and bullying. How many more will succumb before we start taking precautions and thinking, 'Perhaps FaceBook and its like is not such a good idea for the emotionally and psychologically immature to spend too much time on, if at all.
We live in a very immoral society that allows for men to revel in their sexuality and be proud of unbridled lusts in a free for all, yet women are still labelled sluts and there is a stigma attached to be too sexually available and yet, when you do adhere to a higher code of moral conduct, you are a prude or worst, a tease. We need, for the sake of the sanity of our young women, to bring back a purer and more innocent moral code into our lives.
No it is not ok if you are 16 and want to stay overnight at your boyfriend's house. Anyway, isn't sixteen too young to get married? Why do you need a boyfriend at sixteen is what I would ask my daughter, but then I live a very different lifestyle to some, and a very conservative one. What is wrong with treasuring yourself and if you do and that has been instilled in you from day one, there is no way you would even think of exposing your body to a virtual stranger on the net.
I know all about mixed messages, because I grew up in the sixties and seventies. Once when I was fourteen, a taxi picked me up from the bus station to take me to my Aunt's house in Ascot in Brisbane. I hadn't yet changed out of my school uniform. That is a turn on for the perverts somehow. Anyway on the way from Roma Street Bus station to Ascot this taxi driver who must have been a fair bit older than my father, starts to chat to me. He compliments me and tells me how healthy I look. Asks me what sport I play at school because 'You have such nice strong legs.' He reaches behind as I was sitting in the back of the cab and lifts my skirt off my knees and gives my knee a tweak. Me, being a rather intensely shy person goes red and squeaks, 'Please don't touch my leg.' He laughs at me. 'Oh, come on. You're a big girl. Look what lovely boobs you have.' I sit right back in the seat quivering in both indignation and fear. No one, not even my mother has ever commented on my breasts or what I consider private parts of my body like that. I really wanted to jump out of the taxi and thought 'I have no money. How will I get to my aunt's place?' We were given vouchers from the school to take us to where we had to go from the bus and train stations if relatives did not meet us. I told him in a quavering voice. 'Please do not talk about my body.'The taxi driver realised that he had gone a bit far so he started to talk about sport and was I in any sports team. I had been taught to respect adults and to do as I was told so I told him I was on the school A Hockey team and played both basket ball and tennis as well as softball. He asked me if I had every played squash and said he had a place on the Gold Coast and he could take me for a holiday there if I liked. I really did not want to go, but also knew what he was suggesting was very wrong. 'I will have to ask my aunt?' I said. 'How old are you?' He asked me. 'Fourteen and one month', I replied. 'Bloody Christ!' He blurted, 'I would have thought you were at least seventeen. He drove me straight out to Ascot without another word. When I related what had happened to my Aunt she called me 'A stupid little slut.' then told me I had obviously led him on because he was around sixty years old and sixty year old men do not make passes at fourteen year old girls and I had obviously lifted my skirt over my knees to tempt him. She was the single mother of two boys. Her husband was a mental case who had tried to shoot her in one of his schizophrenic episodes. She was my father's first cousin and never remarried. She remained a Mrs for the rest of her life while my Uncle by marriage spent his life in and out of mental facilities and some of Brisbane's hotels, paid for by his family. Very sad.