To say I'm a protective father is an understatement. This will probably be my undoing as my daughters reach their teens. And while we wholeheartedly endorse that our children explore new ideas and experiences – we consistently encourage the use of common sense.
I'm about to have a serious talk with them about common sense in the age of openness and transparency. It will go something like this – 'If you don't recognize someone who calls your name, ignore them and find a familiar adult. If this person tries to entice you to do something, run away from them.'
Sure, this might sound like a normal conversation you'd have with a child along the lines of 'don't talk to strangers' – but we choose to live in a fishbowl. Talking to strangers and engaging people from all walks of life all across the planet is commonplace today. Hell, by the time my kids are in their teens, they'll likely be experts at vetting those they let into their virtual (and real) circles by virtue of their experiences engaging strangers their whole lives. Within reason, of course.
Think about it – how many people on Twitter do your children actually 'know?' Not many, I’ll bet. But depending on how open you are in Social Media, most people know the names of your children, their ages and what they look like. Does this mean we should stop living our lives here? Hell no. We can’t let fear drive this bus. The more of us who share our lives – the more tolerant we are of new ideas and the more compassionate we are toward people in general. It's a utopian idea. But we all know that utopia is unachievable – so expect to hear stories about the dark side occasionally penetrating our bubble of good.
Please don't consider this post as anything like a harbinger of evil deeds. Bad things will happen whether we’re sharing or not. And the more we
light up each others lives, the more impervious we are to darkness.
Yes, we will continue to share here. But I owe it to our daughters to clearly explain what is happening in our lives – and that so many virtual strangers are now part of it. Good people who may very well become lifelong family friends. But, with good comes bad. Sometimes. If you're not prepared.
Note: There are some great security filters on Facebook that you might consider utilizing. Though it takes some digging – it’s good to know they’re there.