Monday, March 30, 2009

something else to keep me awake at night

Seeing as I was up at 5:30 this morning with the monumental task of getting three sleeping children up, dressed, fed and out of the house with one hand, because I was holding one fussy child with a runny nose with the other hand, I was just about to go to bed.

But then I checked the comments on my last post and now I can't go to bed without first jotting down a few thoughts.

I am not planning on deleting all of my previous postings. But, I am planning on deleting the blogspot address once I get my new website up and running and all of my archives successfully migrated. I have no idea how long that will take - but ultimately - that is my plan. For all I know, it might be five weeks from now.

Or, five years.

Hopefully, sooner than later, it is also part of my plan to delete my Photobucket account once I identify the pictures I want to keep and then transfer those photos to Flickr.

The reason I am doing all of this isn't because of some crazy knee jerk reaction where I feel like I need to keep our children safe from the dangers of the internet. I've already weighed what I perceive to be "the dangers" of the internet very carefully, and these changes I'm making aren't (entirely) about that.

The primary reason I am making the change is because I will have more flexibility with a website than I do with a blog. And by moving our photos to Flickr, not only will they appear better in blog postings, but I feel like I will be more capable of protecting them. As in, they won't be grabbed and uploaded to random websites.

I think that people who read this blog because they clicked through from a friend's blog, or from an internet picture, or they typed in key words for a recipe, or how to trigger labor, or how to potty train triplets, or where are some amazing trips, or - anything for that matter that would in no way be perceived as perverted, is great. Awesome, even!

Welcome to our family blog!

This is my life!

But for anyone who thinks that I am over reacting because my pictures are being "publicly viewed" you are mistaken. I really have no problem, at all whatsoever, with people looking at my photos. If I didn't want people looking at my photos, I never would have started a blog.

Or at a minimum, I never would have made the blog public.

But now here's a question for you.

Do you have, or have you ever had, children?

Do you have a website that can be publicly accessed?

Do you post pictures of your children to your website?

Do you have any kind of statistics meter that shows how people arrive to your website?

Are you able to see that there are "visitors" who arrive at your website and look at photos of YOUR children, after having typed in to some search engine key words such as, "Pictures of little k:ds in underwear", or "Pictures of n-a-k-e-d little g:rls / b0ys"?

Does this - or would this - bother you?

Maybe it wouldn't bother you. Perhaps you think it's harmless, enough.

But it bothers me. It bothers me that some individual came to my family blog and pictures of my children are filling their eyes and mind, even if for a split second. It bothers me to the point that I feel like throwing up and then hitting any "visitor" that arrives to our family blog in that manner squarely in the knee caps with a baseball bat.

My gut feeling tells me that anyone who types those "key" words in to an internet search engine, has a perverted motive. No, it doesn't happen a lot. Not even once a day. It happens very, very rarely. But it does happen. And when it does, I see it and I am bothered.

You know what else bothers me??

Over the past few weeks, I've done some research into internet advertising. As I was doing a little fact finding in to the world of blog monetization, I discovered that there are some websites out there, that pull in well over a million dollars per year in advertisements.

For a brief moment I imagined that it was possible. For a fleeting moment, I had visions of outstanding prize contests! Think of the money that we could raise for research! Think of the good that this would do! Think of the lives that would be saved!!

But. Oh. I did a little more research. And guess what the top-earning websites (primarily) are?

Here's a clue.

Approximately 70% of people look at these websites, more men than women, in the privacy of their own homes and there are 12 step programs in place to help people who feel like they've become addicted to this type of 'viewing material'.

Did you know that p0rn websites attract over 72 million visits a month? And seriously, that number sounds low. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was 72 million a day. It's everywhere and these websites rake in millions of dollars. Because people are looking at them ad nauseam and advertisers know this.

Sure, I've heard about the exploitation of young women and children, but it's not at the front of my mind. It was a Dateline or 60-Minute Special I caught a few years ago that haunted me for several weeks and gradually faded away. But now as a mother, I see things differently and I've never in my entire life felt so hopeless for the absolute sins of humanity.

P0rn is one awful thing. But then there is a whole nuther level of twisted thinking and actions and lifestyles that just boggles the (healthy) mind.

In the very brief period of time that I was pulled in to that demented "world" I couldn't help but wonder, how is this possible? How can people do the things that they do? How can they have so little value for themselves or for human life? Or so little value for any life, for that matter??

Some of the things that I found on the internet during the course of my research, made me want to immediately construct a rocket and launch myself in to the cosmos. Because as much as I would love to help nurture our environment and the world in which we live, I felt so overwhelmed by the evilness of it, that I would rather spend the rest of my life - and have my children spend the rest of their lives - orbiting the earth than share a planet with some of the sickos that are out there.

Strong words, I know. And I feel rotten writing them out. I feel rotten that I'm not actively doing something to help raise money for some of the charities that exist to save the victims that one day might turn in to perpetrators if they're not helped, themselves.

So I think it's important to add that I do pray for these people. I pray for the sick and twisted beings that prey on vulnerable children and people that are desperate.

My prayer usually goes something like this, "Dear God. Please channel love, healing and positive energy from our universe in to those people whose hearts and minds are corrupted. Until then, please God, keep them away from my precious family. Amen."

And while you're at it ... could you please make chocolate stop tasting so good.

14 comments:

  1. Jen,

    Go with your feelings! Never mind what others think of you... you know what's right. I have not read your full post BUT! I plan too. We have to get to school. I got a far as people looking for kids in there underwear......that gives me chills!! How creepy!!

    I am just learning all this blog stuff and I don't understand how to find out all the things you mentioned so far but!

    You do what you know is right.......there are plenty of other reasons to stay awake at night.

    Love,

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  2. I tend to read a few blogs and then link out to other blogs and that is how I ended up at yours. You are a very good writer and your photos are amazing--so amazing, in fact, that I bought a "great" camera for the very first time and am having a great time photographing my new grandson. I think that while there may be a few perverts out there, your blog generally just provides a lot of joy to your fans.

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  3. It is so sad what is out there...I try not to think about it, but we NEED to. Especially with the exponential amounts of internet related devises on the market. Our kids will have wireless everything, and access to everything. We need to protect them from even stumbling upon that stuff.

    How can I check what phrases people have used to get to my blog? I have sitemeter, but only the free version. Is it on there?

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  4. I am with you I had no idea that there were these wierd people out there looking at BLOGS, seeing how I didn't know about blogs until I was almost done with our adoption. I left a comment yesterday (I have dial up) so the Santa picture loaded and it is the most hilarous picture I have ever seen I love it! I am careful on my blog to post pictures only of my clothed child and no potty training, which is sad but i never would have realized how scary it was out there if I hadn't started reading your blog first so thank you for helping me protect my daughter.

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  5. I understand everything you have written in today's post, but I wonder how another website will stop the "kooks" from visiting the new site?? I have, from time to time, had some visits from these demented minds that are searching for "grandmas and little boys". I know exactly how you felt when you discovered why your site was searched!

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  6. My thoughts exactly. I've only seen a kiddie p0-rn search once on my blog and it wasn't even the blog where I post most of my kid pictures. It made me so sick. And yeah, I spent the rest of the day wondering if I could somehow trace the IP or whatever.

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  7. Hi Jen,

    Just wanted to let you know that I am following your blog from a friend of mine and really enjoy your comments. I look forward to reading it everyday. So I hope it is OKAY if I continue to follow your family on your new website? I moved to a family website awhile ago for the same reasons and really like it. Hope all goes well for you on your new site!

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  8. UGH!! Think I need to throw up.
    AWFUL!

    Marg.

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  9. Connie: I'm really flattered that you are interested in reading our blog and it's absolutely OK for you to stick around. How do you do? :)

    Sonja: We DO need to think about what's out there. But, you can't allow yourself to become totally overwhelmed - which is what was happening to me. I have sitemeter and if you want to figure out how people arrive at your site, go to your site summary page, then under the heading "Recent Visitors" you can click the "Referral" link. That will tell you how people arrived at your site, and if they typed key words in to Google, what those words were.

    Portland Granny: It's almost impossible to know what someone's intentions are when they do a word search because the search really might be very innocent.

    In your case, it might be someone trying to find a nice picture of a grandmother and her grandson. I did a search a few years ago for "Photos of older children breastfeeding" that I had wanted to link to a posting. But as I was typing the keywords, I thought ... eww. What would someone think if they saw this search??

    And then of course, there's the whole intellectual property thing, that people shouldn't be using other people's photos w/o permission. Like the woman who hijacked my birth story and photos of my babies when they were in the NICU and tried to pass it off as her own.

    I know that there are risks of kooks coming to any public website that I have and I don't think changing domains will make that big of a difference (if any). But, I do want to upload my photos to Flickr and delete the pathway to my blog from Photobucket because a TON of hits come to my website from that route. Which isn't necessarily bad, but I don't want to manage (or pay for) two accounts separately. And I like Flickr better.

    Can you tell that I'm not an expert??

    Now I'm wondering, do you come back and read these comments when you pose a question, or do you have follow-up comments e-mailed to you?? Or, do you forget about a question soon after you ask it - much like I do??

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  10. Thanks for your answer! I will keep a closer eye and see if anyone has been referred by a search.

    I do check off the follow up comment box when I want to see answers to questions. Sometimes, if I've commented on a popular blog (like yours), I will get 20 or more emails about everyone's replys, but I don't care. Makes me feel important that I'm getting so much mail! (and, you can always go back and "unsubscribe" because you don't want to receive any more follow-up emails, which I had to do when there is a give away or something!)

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  11. I'm totally with you on this. My husband is even more security conscious than I am (and more private in general). I wanted him to be okay with me blogging when I wanted to start, so I told him I wouldn't post any pics that show any of our faces and I wouldn't use our real names on the blog, or even in email to friends I make through the blog.

    I have not had any really sick searches at this point, but I always worry. I would absolutly want to throw up and then kick the crap out of someone if I saw even one of those searches pop up on my site meter.

    You do what you can. We each have to find our level of comfort with this public website site.

    As a side note, my husband says the real reason that the internet took off at all was because of the easy access to p0rn. I try not to learn more than that.

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  12. I, for one, am really glad that you wrote this out.

    I think about this stuff. I was just talking about it with another blogger friend just yesterday.

    Oy.

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  13. Thanks so much for posting this! It was a good wake up call. I'm a little too neive about that stuff.

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  14. its funny (well not really FUNNY but you know what I mean) because my husband and I have been talking about the same things based on some of the disturbing stuff found on our site meter. We've been slowly migrating all of our photos to flickr and are working on a plan to move everything else. Not a fun task but we're motivated by the same reasons as you are.
    I love reading you, although I'm not here as often as I used to be now that my triplets are running circles around me!

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