My eldest daughter now has a blog over at Tumblr. I spent the better part of yesterday evening helping her join the dots between Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. It feels a lot like building Frankenstein’s Monster – only this isn’t a story in a book where you can disassociate yourself from the mayhem that unfolds – this is real. As much as my rational mind trusts her, and trusts the judgement we have instilled in her, there is a small part of me that is crapping it’s pants at the prospect of launching her into the internet.
I think we all know the internet is a modern take on the wild west. An anarchic system designed to survive oversight by outside influences. Pandora’s Box. We all know that a quick google search can inform you on anything from covalent bonding of atoms, to the colour of underwear the latest movie starlet was wearing as she tried to get out of a taxi without the papparazzi sticking cameras up her skirt. By the same token, we all know the blogosphere is filled with any and all corners of society – from emo kids emptying thoughts about the end of the world, to yet-another-fashion-blogger wannabes posting endless photos of the perfect method to paint wings on their eyelids with whichever brand of mascara has influenced them that week.
Unfortunately we also know the internet has a small but persistent population of people pretending to be people they are not. That cute girl that posts about being lonely really could be a 220lb guy with a matted beard that hasn’t left his bedroom for the last three years.
I’m hoping a lot of our concerns are unfounded. We probably paint all manner of fears very large, when in reality kids have to put up with far worse than we might ever imagine every day at school. When we were at school, pornography was the realm of badly copied video tapes that only existed in playground legend, and torn copies of magazines that had lived under friends beds for years. The internet has changed that ever-so-slightly, with pretty much unlimited access (for free) to the most extreme anatomical lessons any person in or out of their right mind is willing to subject themselves to.
I guess for the next year or two I need to be that guy wandering along just far enough away to not be embarassing, but close enough to arrange immediate escape. Here’s hoping I’m never called upon.