Monday, October 16, 2006

Pedophiles, Stalkers and My Sold-Out Kids Hating Me – Only the Tip of My Mom Blogging Fears

scarecrow_kade_leni
My 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter mugged with a $6 scarecrow on the front steps this overcast morning.

Lately I’ve toyed with the idea of removing my children’s real names from this blog and replacing them with pseudonyms.

I’m hesitant to move forward with pseudonyms for a few reasons, one being that (nick)names often hurt far worse than sticks and stones, especially when they risk the danger of forever pigeonhole-ing/marginalizing a child into a specific and potentially embarrassing stereotype/role/self-fulfilling prophecy. "Late Lachance" and "Last Minute Louie" stuck with me and I am NEVER, EVER on time.

For example, I'm not telling which child warrants (deserves - insert evil cackle) which nickname but I’ve facetiously considered the following blog aliases for my kids: Mr. Know It All, Mr. Hitter, Mr. Biter, Mr. Spitter, Mr. Nose Picker, Compulsive Liar in Training, Moody Fruit n’ Nut, Bug Eyes, Spicy Breath and the list swells on.

You might think it’s too late for me to change their names. I maintain that it’s not because 8 Cm Deluded remains in its infancy and only garners an average of 15 to 30 new and returning visitors each day. (As of the 11:59 p.m. final edit/update to this 10.16.06 post, I'm thrilled to report a total of 57 first-time absolute unique visitors. Source: Google Analytics)

Perhaps many of you, except for the few regular readers who I’m honored and psyched to earn the repeat readership of (thank you for your loyalty), will forget my children’s already heavily exposed real names shortly after they are changed, should I decide to fictionalize them.

Unfortunately the real vs. fake name game is the least of my worries when it comes to baring my family’s up close and personal "life stories," including our many faults and triumphs, on my blog.

My worries/fears/reservations about maintaining such an extremely personal, mostly unrestricted blog in no particular order sound like this when they keep me awake at night:

Will a creepy, sick-o pedophile get off on an innocent shirtless bath time photo of my 2-year-old daughter (or of my 5- and 3-year-old sons) and post it on his/her perverted web site for fellow Chester the Child Molesters to get hot and bothered over? Just the thought of it nauseates me.

Could kidnappers or sick-in-the-head would-be mothers and fathers who will stop at nothing to have (nab) a baby somehow deduce where I live and try to make off in the night with my three flaxen-haired blue and brown eyed babies? I fear this same hopefully slim possibilty when I sell items for pick-up from my home on eBay. Far fetched, but you never know.

leni_basketball
My little pigtailed b-baller late this afternoon.

Could my husband get fired from either or both of his jobs because his coworkers/superiors unearth a particularly controversial, subversive, anti-corporate 8 Cm Deluded post within which his wife looks like a loose cannon crackpot (‘wouldn’t take long to find a self-incriminating post that reveals me as the loon I am in my Complete Rant Record)? He’s repeatedly given me permission to use his real name but I refuse, fearing our single-income family’s livelihood could very quickly and easily be jeopardized.

Will my children hate me once they are old enough to understand that mom hawks their everyday personal feats and foibles for ad revenue chump change, and to satisfy her journalist's ego by seeing herself published daily? Will they feel violated? Sold out? Deceived? Embarrassed of all the sordid details centered on them that are routinely exposed? Will they wish that I would have protected their young private lives more? Will they lose trust in me and stop telling me their inner most thoughts and feelings?

Doing right by my children and my husband is the most important aspiration in my life right now, despite my desires to make it big as a freelance writer and mom blogger. I often wonder if I’m doing the right thing. If my motivations are as considerate as they could be of those who call me “Mommy” and “wife.” I sure hope so. But my gut feeling has me second-guessing myself.

Could someone, anyone take something hastily and unthinkingly written in a venting post like, “I wanted to wring kid x’s neck today,” entirely out of context and report me to child services and get my kids taken away from me? Extreme, yes. Out of the bounds of reality, no.

kade_QB
Check out that Michael Jordan-style sports concentration tongue. My 3-year-old big guy is too funny.

Could my children be made fun of in public and/or at school for their quack writer mama's web site that airs their dirty laundry? Will potential friends turn my children away because they got wind that their mommy sells them out on the web? On the flipside, could my kids be the “cool” kids because their mommy is that insano blogger lady their friends heard about or dug up on Google? And couldn't all this be solved via my anonymity and theirs?

I'm sure the world-famous newspaper mom columnist Erma Bombeck considered some if not all of these questions. Did they eat away at her like they do me? I lack the motivation to find out whether she used her children’s real names or not. Add it to my spilling over To Do List.

Think of how uncomfortable it could be for a child when his/her mother reveals to the plugged-in world that he/she got busted with a pack of condoms in their closet or totaled the family’s SUV just hours after getting his/her license. Will blogs still be a viable medium on the Internet in seven years when my eldest will be a self-conscious teenager? Should I even be worried about these issues so early on?

Of course I worry less about friends, family and acquaintances judging me for and potentially being offended or hurt by my blog posts and commentaries. Then again, a complete stranger could easily be offended during a visit to my blog and end up flaming me via comments, or much worse, digitally and later in-person stalk me and my family. Well, I’m not that important and influential, am I now? Maybe I just need to get over myself and my lifelong propensity toward worst case scenarios.

Finally, why do mom bloggers like me often feel threatened by our own openness, as if we have to hide from our own rollercoaster raising-kids realities, the not-always-sweet realities we didn’t read about when we were kids? Maybe we're hiding from our own selves.

More to come on my Pandora's Box of mlogging fears later. The benefits and risks of mom blogging provide endless fodder for worry wart types like me. How about you?

26 Comments:

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Lucia said...

I really hate it that the world has reached a point where evil lurkers could be out there, and we need to worry about what we say.

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger scribbit said...

I can understand the points you bring up but I think the risks are pretty small.

 
At 4:54 AM, Blogger mad muthas said...

ah well, it'd be very worrying if you didn't have anything to worry about. you're right though - there is a scary amount of info about all of us out there - and we're now adding to it quite of our own volition. i think, overall, though that supermarket loyalty cards are a much bigger threat to privacy - doesn't stop me having one though ...

 
At 7:34 PM, Blogger mad_hatter said...

Well, you know all my fears b/c you commented on my blog a couple of days ago when I was being all Bitacle-mad and raving. At some level I think all our fears are valid even if many of them are far-fetched. I just keep coming back to the fact that my Mom had an extended family nearby and a gaggle of coffee clatch friends with whom she could yammer on about our wild childhood ways. I live isolated from family and old friends and so I tend to spew it all onto the internet. Not as safe as the hairdresser in the centre of town but it is still vital that moms talk out the experience of mothering. Otherwise we might burst.

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger kristal said...

Over a year ago, I had a reader from our town [I didn't know him] start leaving comments about how much information I was revealing and pointing out how he could find me, etc. It was scary and the first time I really worried about how much info I put out there. He eventually stopped, but at the time I seriously considered taking my site down. When I started blogging, NO ONE read my site but my husband and my mom. I figured fake names were pointless. Now, I've got a lot more readers but it feels to late to go back and change things now.

I've been blogging for years and now some of my kids are old enough to care [teenagers]. My 11 year old daughter came home the other day and told me that her friend's mother read all about her on my website. It was a little disconcerting to say the least!

No point to this rambling comment except to say that you bring up a lot of valid questions. Nice post!

 
At 1:28 AM, Anonymous DrumsNWhistles said...

My kids are teenagers and a significant focus of my blog is my son's ADHD. I think it's a bad idea to use his real name, not because his friends might discover it, but because five years from now when he's out there trying to get a job and they Google his name, his entire medical history should not become part of his hiring/work record. The same is true for me. My clients don't need to be inside my medicine cabinet. When the kids are little, it doesn't feel like a big deal, but at some point they might not appreciate the Google cache that's been collected. My youngest blogs, too and I insist that she use a pseud for now. If she wants to use her real name later on, fine but until she understands the concepts of identity theft and is savvy enough to think before handing off her name to any old person she's under a pseud for now.

But then again, after a few years of working inside CNN communities I emerged paranoid. :)

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger Daisy said...

I use nicknames for both of mine. My oldest (age 19) thinks I'm paranoid. My youngest (14) likes it. In fact, he reads the blog and enjoys reading about himself. Of course, knowing they both read me makes me cautious in what I write.

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger tif said...

I use a pseudonym not so much out of paranoia, but because it's more fun. Yet at the same time, it allows me more freedom because I'm not as worried about a random friend or foe, googling and finding out some randy tidbit that I didn't want them to be privy to.

I am glad that you didn't start out using nicknames though, because I love knowing what other people have named their kids. And I must say, your kids' names kick arse.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Miz BoheMia said...

Make the pseudonyms cute, focusing on their funky qualities...

As for the rest... nah! don't sweat it and take it one step at a time! Hey! Are you looking for an excuse to ditch us? HUH?

;-P

Expect bohemians to mess with you! Bwahahahaaaaa!

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger BLueRibbon said...

There are many reasons why you shouldn't use real names on the internet and the "evil pedos!" aren't the main reason.

When did a paedophile become a child molester? Do you understand the difference? Do you care?

With the merging of the terms "paedophile" and "child molester", people become more concerned than they should be about paedophiles and less concerned than they should be about child molesters.

I know you'll be concerned that a paedophile has found your blog, but I'm not attracted to kids younger than 8 anyway, nor do I engage in sexual activity with children.

I also have images from external servers turned off in my browser to prevent IPs being logged on external servers, so you don't need to worry about me (OMG!) seeing pictures of your kids.

The fact is that paedophiles (and that doesn't mean "child molesters") will find your blog, because there are more of us than you believe

You shouldn't use real names on the internet, regardless of whether you're concerned about "paedophiles".

 
At 12:43 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

OH MY GOD.

 
At 10:58 PM, Blogger Penny said...

I found my daughter's picture on a site when she was three, of a man who admited a fondness for young girls.

Be careful.

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger BLueRibbon said...

What happened after that? My assumption is that nothing happened to your daughter and you misjudged the risk.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

My assumption is that she was creeped out/scared b/c it is not natural to be attracted to small children in a sexual way. Why does she need to explain? This should be obvious.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger BLueRibbon said...

First of all, you assume that it is unnatural to be sexually attracted to children. Do you have any idea of how many people are sexually attracted to children?

Secondly, why is it harmful to have an attraction which is perceived to be "unnatural"?

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand where blueribbon is attempting to go with all of this, and I too agree that there is no such thing as an unnatural though or a bad though, we can not control all of our thoughts. HOWEVER, when action comes into play, then we have a different story. No matter how innocent you think you are being, the moment when your thought becomes actions you are committing an illegal and immoral act that causes major damage to the child.

I have read some of his blogs and information and despite his plea that there is no sexual contact, that doesn't mean there isn't sexual tension, innuendos or advances, all of which are damaging to a child.

There is no justification for a Pedophilia, despite how many people may have these “unnatural thoughts”. Two hundred years ago a significant amount of people owned slaves, doesn’t mean it was right.

When you (blueribbon) talk about pedophilia, you should about it as a disease, a disease most likely caused most likely by a similar event in your childhood to the ones you fantasy about. How did it make you feel when you were molested? Is this a feeling in which you wish others to experience? If so why, so people can share in your pain, so people can better understand the horrors of a childhood that haunt you as an adult? Why do you want to perpetuate pain and suffering? Pedophilia is a mental illness in which you need to seek treatment for, it is NOT a personality quark that we have to learn to get use to.

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger BLueRibbon said...

anonymous,

You can quote the stereotypes and the common beliefs, but they're bunk.

I don't make sexual advances and suggesting that I would is saying "You would act on your attractions if you had the chance to". I've explained why I won't act on them. It's posted on my blog in the comments for the latest post.

I wasn't molested when I was younger. That's an old theory and it's not reliable.

I don't have any intention of abusing children.... I am as able to prevent myself from "touching" a child as (I assume) you are able to prevent yourself from raping an adult. Despite what you claim, paedophilia has the same traits as a sexual orientation, regardless of what the APA defines it as. Obviously my fantasies would be inappropiate if I acted on them, but I don't act on them, which is why my orientation isn't harmful. Do you get the point?

You can't "cure" paedophilia and I'm not going to try. How can you expect anyone to tell a doctor that they're a paedophile when they'll be treated like a child molester?

People who hate paedophiles often suggest "therapy", without realizing that the attitudes towards paedophiles are the main reason that many people don't seek therapy. Society has created its own perceived hell.

"There is no justification for a Pedophilia, despite how many people may have these “unnatural thoughts”. Two hundred years ago a significant amount of people owned slaves, doesn’t mean it was right."

This is a typical quote from people who hate paedophiles. "Somebody performed this action [owning slaves in your example], so this thought is wrong."

You need to understand the difference between thoughts and actions and until you do, you won't understand what I'm saying.

I won't have access to a computer for at least a couple of days, so don't expect any quick responses. Some other paeds will debate with you.

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Nihil_Aeturnius said...

As per my modus operandi, let me refute point by point.

"I have read some of his blogs and information and despite his plea that there is no sexual contact, that doesn't mean there isn't sexual tension, innuendos or advances, all of which are damaging to a child."

Can you please specify what you mean by "damaging"? It's a word that's tossed around a lot without any real meaning.

"There is no justification for a Pedophilia, despite how many people may have these “unnatural thoughts”. Two hundred years ago a significant amount of people owned slaves, doesn’t mean it was right."

Completely different scenarios. In the institution of slavery, people were denied their freedom to act according to their will. Pedophilia does not do that - in most instances, the relationship is mutual.

"When you (blueribbon) talk about pedophilia, you should about it as a disease, a disease most likely caused most likely by a similar event in your childhood to the ones you fantasy about. How did it make you feel when you were molested? Is this a feeling in which you wish others to experience? If so why, so people can share in your pain, so people can better understand the horrors of a childhood that haunt you as an adult? Why do you want to perpetuate pain and suffering?

Um...but BLueRibbon never HAD any sexual contact with adults as a child. You are assuming (based on the ravings of quack psuedo-psychologists on TV) that every pedophile has been molested in their youth.

"Pedophilia is a mental illness in which you need to seek treatment for, it is NOT a personality quark that we have to learn to get use to."

A mental illness? No, no, I'm perfectly sane. I am not going to be hurting a child anytime soon, so I feel no need to seek ineffectual "treatment". And pedophilia is not a personality quirk - it is an intrinsic part of my nature.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Logan said...

Really, I think this has gotten a bit off topic. To address the main issue, I think that it is wrong to steal photos off a website for whatever use. I would be offended to see my photo on a website be it a site run by a hetero, homo, paedo, or any other "-sexual" without my consent. That is the source of basic harm here. It is not who is taking or viewing the photo but rather the fact that it is a personal photo being used without permission. Then again, by posting such photos onto the internet, you are effectively releasing it into the public domain. It is still wrong to violate copyright laws or to use personal photos without consent, but one should always remember that the internet is an extremely public place. Photos posted on it are viewable by anyone of any race/sexuality/religion/creed/nationality/etc...

That being said, the question that is really raised here by some of the posters is: Is sexuality defined by attraction or by action?

Homosexuality was once defined as a mental disorder. It has since been re-classified, but even if it were such, what does that imply? A "mental" disorder implies that the condition is a condition of the mind. That action has little to do with the actuality of it.

The reality of the situation is that a heterosexual would know where his/her attractions lay without the need of any actual sexual contact. Similarly, a homosexual does not actually need sexual activity in order to know his/her identity as such. This works with any sexuality (be that sexuality something you view as deviant or not). It is a basic part of our natures and not something that is defined by any action or lack thereof.

Sexuality of any kind is not a disorder nor an affliction. While there are most definitely some attractions that should not be acted upon, that is true with any desire. We are human beings and possess urges that are not always in our best interests or in the best interests of others. What makes us worthwhile is how we use a sense of moral judgement to temper those urges.

Thus, regardless of how someone identifies themselves, they are really only as dangerous as the actions that they allow themselves to carry out. Many rapes are carried out by heterosexual males. Does that justify being afraid to have your photo be seen by any heterosexuals? The actions of a few extreme bad examples of any given population group should not cause you to question yourself or to be fearful.

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous The Pissed Off Dad said...

Once again we seem to be throwing around facts, figures and theories about the justification or acceptance of a pedophilic. The bottom line is that if you do or say anything that hurts another human, especially one who is unable to defend themselves, then you are committing an immoral and illegal act.

We seem to have forgotten all about the children in this for they are ultimately the ones who pay the price. Several of these very demented and very warped pedophilics have commented that they do not engage in sexual contact with the children and as far as they are concerned the child has not been harmed. Can you say bullsh*t, cause I’m calling bullsh*t. I am sick and tired of you pedophilics arguing semantics. So I will once again repeat myself, if you are around a child and you are sexually charged, they are going to feel it, and if you go through the hassle of blocking out your ip address and ensuring that you undiscoverable, then what in the h#ll would make me think that you are not sinister enough to make innuendo’s and advances on the child. Sure the child may not recognize it at the concourse level, but that doesn’t mean that you are not causing damage.

And nihil_aeturnius, I have read your modus operandi and you’re a f*cking idiot. That is the biggest piece of junk I have ever seen and a complete failed attempt to look intelligent or deep. “Love is never wrong, tis true”, well then go love a goat. Besides the actual crappy ass writing (and your lexicon, despite what you may think, isn’t impressing anyone) the messaging on the site is, well just pathetic. You strike me as the type of person who just couldn’t get laid in high school, didn’t have the brains to go to college and is more or less living the life of a loser, thus your craving for children. They are the only ones who acknowledge your life and the only ones who you can control.

My final though is, if you believe, I mean truly believe that what you are doing (abusing children) is justifiable then why aren’t you screaming it from the mountain tops and trying to convince everyone that you can, that we are wrong and you are right. Just like the civil rights movement. Segregation was something that the majority of the population did approved of, however, there was a small group of individuals who knew in their heart of hearts that it was wrong, so they screamed it as loud as they could. Despite being threatened, beat, spit on, lynched and even murdered, they continued their fight. And low and behold they were victorious, and now the majority of the people in this world know that segregation is wrong. So, my guess as to why you have taken your crusade on-line and made yourselves invisible is because you know in your heart of hearts that what you are doing is WRONG.

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Elizabeth F. said...

Amen...pissed of dad. I just looked at some of these f****** idiots blogs, so f****** disgusting!!!

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Stitches77 said...

Never ever ever put your childrens photos online. These pedofreaks do indeed steal them and they post them on pedophile message boards like Visions of Alice and Boylover dot net. Then they brag about how they stole them, they share them with other creeps to wack off to. If you must post your childrens photos for friend and family to see put them in password protected places.

BlueRibbon and Nihil are a couple of pedophile activists. Their goal is to try to get society to 'accept their perversion as simply another sexual orientation'. They go around the blogosphere terrorizing bloggers and spouting off research studies and statistics that don't even exist. They want laws enacted to protect them. They want the legal right to have access to your childrens bodies. Some of the freaks are even attracted to infants.

Please be careful to protect your children, the internet is infested with these freaks. If you want to learn more about how they operate visit Absolutezerounited.blogspot.com to learn more

 
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