Thank you so much to everyone who has offered support following my last post. It was a horrible, horrible discovery to have made but I am so glad that I did: the image will stick in my head and haunt me forever…but in my view that is far better than continuing to post photos of my baby, insensible to the fact they could be used for illegal means.
The important thing to keep telling myself is that Sam has not suffered in any way through my openness and disregard for internet dangers. He has not been physically, or indeed mentally, harmed (I dearly hope this remains the case); so at the end of the day this is anguish I have brought upon myself, and myself only. Which does lessen the pain considerably, but doesn’t stop me feeling tremendously guilty about my selfish desire to blog about our lives – no holds bared.
There has been an array of different opinions on this, and I have to admit that I sway from one to another, depending on my mood, and as I learn more about internet security and – I wish I could close my eyes to this – more information I have been told about the mind of the online paedophile.
You will notice that I have deleted all photographs of Sam. When I have time I will have a go at ‘prettifying’ this blog in an attempt to convince you all to keep coming back; I have no doubt that the sweet pictures of Sammy Boy have been the main inducement for most of my friends!
Although I wavered at first, I do want to continue writing. I am trying to persuade myself that this was a wake up call rather than a sign telling me to quit. This blog has had such a positive effect on my life in general; so it’d be a shame to give it up instead of exploring the measures I can take to make me feel more comfortable with it being online. I have had a lot of feedback on what I could do to reduce my chances of being targeted, but I knew I wouldn’t feel right if I kept the photos of Sam up. Some people have suggested I still display photos; just none that could be seen as ‘provocative’ – probably a fairly sensible piece of advice but not one that I feel I could follow. Obviously I would never have uploaded a photo of Sam in the nudey rudey, but as I can see nothing at all sexual in that, I would be incapable of guessing what a paedophile would find interesting – Topless? – Legs on show? Trying to think like that sort of person sickens me, and I really do not want to have to analyse each photo in that way.
One thing I have learnt, from the lovely bloggers who have offered advice, is that it is usually videos of children that attract paedophiles. Apparently when someone is arrested, reported to have hundreds of pornographic images of children, the pictures are often stills from videos. (Something to bear in mind if you vlog.) I hadn’t realised either that the images are not left as they are; they are manipulated. This is something I so wish I could unlearn.
The majority of people, whilst expressing their sorrow that this has happened, have been quick to reassure me that there was nothing on here that the guy would have stuck around for – he probably would’ve clicked away as soon as he realised it was a blog (though I really wish I could have proof for this). This is reassuring, but it turns my stomach to know that someone like that has even glanced at a photo of my little boy. Again, I have been reassured that we have probably come into contact with paedophiles in the real world…but is that really something to be comforted by?! I think I could well turn out to be a very paranoid mother from now on!
I would like to close this subject here: this blog is only worth continuing if I am enjoying writing it; and I have enjoyed neither this particular post, nor the last.
For those who are concerned about having images of their children online, please take a look at the comments below my last post; the people who responded were very helpful. I may be breaching blogging laws by including this link (if so I will take it off), but I posted my story on the mumsnet forum and learned a great deal from the information given.
As I said, I don’t want to continue with the topic of children’s safety, but I have learnt my lesson that sticking your head in the sand is not the right way to go. MmeLindor has just written a post on how to protect your children out in the real world, and I would definitely recommend parents to read it, if only to remind yourselves that not everyone out there is nice. But try not to let it become too paranoid – as I am in danger of becoming!