Friday, March 03, 2006

WARNING: THE INTERNET IS DANGEROUS



















Yes, that really is me...sitting at the computer.

Recently, the news has been full of reports concerning our children and their internet habits regarding MYSPACE, chatrooms, livejournal, and the internet in general.

Millions of teenagers have signed up with myspace, where they reveal personal information and pictures for anyone on the internet to view.

There have been several cases where teenage girls have run off from home to hook-up with sleazy old men, when lured through conversations in chat rooms, myspace or livejournal.

We parents are told over and over again to talk with our children about where they go on the internet and who they are communicating with. We are told to monitor their every move, so they do not run off to meet with strangers.

Next week, I will be meeting a few L.A. bloggers for dinner. They shall remain nameless to protect anonymity (they know who they are and are welcome to say so in the comments).

Also, just a few weeks ago, I met Robert for fun and thrills at the shooting range.

So here I am wondering...what the heck do you tell your kids, when you are doing the very thing you are supposed to be warning them NOT TO DO?

Kid: "Where are you going mom?"
Me: "Oh, off to the shooting range, dear."

Kid: "Really, mom?...but you don't believe in shooting guns."
Me: "Well, that's true, dear, but mommy's getting old and needs to try new things."

Kid: "That's cool mom, I get it. So, who are you going shooting with...Dad?"
Me: "Uh, well, umm, uh, no...I'm going with my friend Robert."

Kid: "WHO?"
Me: "Oh, he's my friend I met on the internet"

Kid: "WHAAAAAAT!!!...You're going to meet someone, all alone, that you met on the INTERNET?"
Me: "Why yes dear, but don't worry, it's safe. He's Jewish. He's a Hollywood screenwriter. He likes babka."

Kid: "EXCUUUUUSE ME?...have you lost your mind?"
Me: "Why no, dear. Your father knows all about it. And completely approves. It is absolutely safe. Believe me, the only thing this guy is interested in is getting me to be a gun-toting, Bush-loving Republican.
He's not interested in mommy's good looks and cooking skills like your father is.
Really... it's completely safe for mommy to go shooting guns, in a terrifying part of Los Angeles, with a complete stranger I met on the internet less than a year ago, dear."

Me: "Oh, and did I tell you that I'll be going to meet a whole group of people I met while surfing the internet for blogs to read?"
Kid: "And I suppose they're all Jewish too, and only want to meet you because you are such an amazingly talented and witty blog writer, who just happens to look superb for 5o.

Me: "Why yes dear, how did you know? Now you're getting the hang of it."
Kid: "That's great, mom...so you won't mind when I go to meet that group of bloggers called 'girls gone wild', right?"

Me: "WHAAAAAAAAAT...have you lost your mind?!!!!!!!!!!"

the preceding dialogue is completely fictional. (DUH) I have promised my offspring that I will not write about them.

18 comments:

Ger Tzadik said...

Bahahaha...that's fantastic. It's a shame it's fictional almost. :)

Sweettooth120 said...

Interesting point. I guess it all comes down to communication, common sense, and honesty.

It's hard for teenagers to think that their intuition, common sense and judgment is not fully developed and so they want to question why it's ok for an adult to do something they can't. It may seem hyprocritical as parents to tell our kids to do as I say and not as I do, but it's a perk of being an adult.

Mirty said...

How cool that you're going to meet Robert and other LA J-bloggers. I'm quite envious.

I have a couple of teens at home, but the computer is in the livingroom, so we easily keep an eye on things. It took a while, but my daughter now understands why I created a yahoo identity for her named (not exactly) 123abc instead of "coolgirlwholikestoplay".

torontopearl said...

Great scenario, CM.

Blogging, as you know, is a big chunk of my daily life, and has been for over a year. Yet I'm still a bit self-conscious when I mention to Toronto friends and family about something this blogger said, something that blogger did. I think if people are not "into" the realm of blogging, they don't quite understand it and its lure.
I've taken my chances in meeting bloggers, in sending bloggers personal info...and it's all turned out okay, thus far. But yes, one has to keep a critical and cautious eye about it all.

Ezer K'negdo said...

Truly, it is a conundrum. But my concerns echo Pearl's - even as adults who trust our intuition, how do we really know? Robert is clearly easy to verify, being a well-known screenwriter. But pretty much everyone else? One would hope that those we meet and 'converse' with are posting truly as themselves, and we can trust our intuition about them. But in today's day and age, you just never know. I hate to be cynical, but I have watched one too many "48 Hours Special"'s. I mean, who knows, "Jack" could be a 6'8" crazy amazon lady for all we know ;-)

My kids are young enough that I have time to think about how I will explain the seeming double standard! But it is interesting, how the internet has given us a truly 'global' community. In some very good ways, and some nasty ones. Let's hope it's mostly good!!

Shavuah Tov!

Regina Clare Jane said...

I hope no one takes this the wrong way- especially the men out there... but I would feel more at ease meeting with a female blogger than a male blogger. Mostly having to do with the married part, I think it could get awkward... But I'm just a scaredy cat anyway. It's an individual call for each situation, but I would say trust your instincts- and then think about it some more.

Ezzie said...

I've met a few bloggers already, and I wasn't at all concerned to do so in advance, but meeting at a neutral (public) location is your safest bet. Then again, that's probably what you're doing anyway.

Hilarious post. :)

Mia said...

I imagine it to be really difficult to explain something to a teenager/kid that they can´t do or have to be careful with, while you do it yourself, because you know there is no danger. How did you really solve it?

Wendy said...

It is hard - seems unfair that we subject the kids to different standards! But it would be nice to think that, as adults, we'd have better judgement or at least know what to do if we were wrong. I know it's naive, but I really do feel I know what kind of people my blogger friends are...I'd love to meet some of them. CM - you are a a mom in Calif, right? Not a weird 60-something man in Pennsylvania...?

cruisin-mom said...

G.T., S.T., Mirty, Pearl, E.K., RCJ, Ezzie, Mia, Wendy...
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.
When I wrote this, I of course, thought I was just writing a funny piece. But, I guess I hit a cord for people, on a very real concern.
Parents really do need to have awareness and educate their children as to the great uses of the internet as well as the potential dangers. Somehow, I think we feel safe when sitting behind the computer screen. But some children, don't know where to maintain that boundary line (some adults for that matter too)

wanderer said...

After reading this post, I've decided that it would be unsafe for us to meet you all for dinner next week!

Actually - we had planned on coming, but a conflict has come up. I'm sure another opportunity will arise in the future. You'll definitely have a blast!

cruisin-mom said...

Wanderer: probably a wise decision on your part. In truth, I'm a cardiologist in Los Angeles, masquerading as 50 year old wife and mom.
Sorry we won't be meeting...perhaps another time.

WendyWings said...

LOL this really could have been written by me, only I got on a plane and flew for 12 hours to LA to meet people I had "worked" with online for an entertainment company.
I did make it home again ;) and my husband had proof of what I had been doing because it was shown on E ! Oy LOL

cruisin-mom said...

Wow, that's a great story! How did you find this blog? Thanks for stopping by,Wendywings!

PsychoToddler said...

I know. Last year I was at my parents' house and went off to meet with Shira Salamone, and I had to tell my mom I was having lunch with someone I met on the internet.

I know what she was thinking:

Loser. My son is a LOSER. Where did I go wrong?

cruisin-mom said...

Oh, P.T., she was thinking that before you told her you were going to meet someone from the internet.

PsychoToddler said...

Yes, but how did you know?

cruisin-mom said...

P.T.: she posted it on the internet, of course