Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Internet is THIS big....

There are days that I am so in love with the internet I can't tell you! Today is one of those days. Yes, me and WWW are having ourselves an Affair!! I'm pre-planning for Halloween. (And those of you who have been to our parties, THIS year is going to be a doozy!) So I'm looking for a costume and a mask (party-goers, stay tuned. Ya'll will be filled in soon enough). The combinations I am finding are limitless. I can't choose just one! The colors, the textures - I am on sensory overload!! Even if it is only my visual sense. Shush, I'm in some kind of trance right now...

On the other hand, this World Wide Web thing terrifies me. Because I am a parent. Of a girl-child. When I was a child, my parents had to worry only about our neighbors, maybe a teacher once in a while, and a random stranger driving down our street. Today the Radius of Danger is so much larger. My daughter now plays on-line games. Made for kids. Should be safe, right? I'm not so sure. She has admitted to 'pretending' to be 15 to boys she has 'met' online. She is 11. She's not 15. What are the chances that these 'boys' are 15?

I'm torn on this issue. I may be an 'old woman' now, but I remember those days. I remember wearing extra makeup in the hopes I might score a margarita in the local Mexican restaurant. I succeeded, by the way. At 16. I remember the pangs of puberty. I may not have known exactly what I wanted or how to get it, but I knew there was a goal in there somewhere. So I can't completely blame my daughter. She's having the same feelings, the same thoughts, that girls have had forever. Blame it on the hormones. I'm going to.

My dilemma is this -
I don't have to worry only about the next door neighbor, or her math teacher, or her tennis coach. I have to worry about the random 42-year-old man who lives in Poughkeepsie. The one who has an interest in my child that, if I knew what it was and who he was, I would, without a doubt, without hesitation, pull his testicles through his throat. What I'm saying is, our children are exposed to a hundred thousand times the dangers that we were. I'm often accused of exaggerating this point, but I don't think I am. When I was a child, the people that could hurt me were limited to maybe a 10 mile radius. The people that can hurt my daughter are limited by their internet access. This is the entire world. Leaving out the third world countries only. Maybe.

What's the solution? I don't know. Open communication? Web Nanny? I don't know. I don't have all the answers. This is new territory for me. I don't think I'm alone in this. I will be over-vigilant. I will be nosy. I will probably, unfortunately, spy on my child. In the name of safety. I hope it's enough. If anyone has a suggestion, I'm open.

In the meantime, WWW and I have some more dresses to look at. And shoes. Maybe some gloves. The night is young and I'm feeling frisky....
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