A few days ago, I was reviewing the blog’s stats when I came across something which made me instantly sick to my stomach. It was a Google search term someone used and landed on an article that Jason wrote about appropriate stranger interactions called “A Stranger Tickling My Child Doesn’t Tickle Me“. This particular article has been shared on social media many times, and has sparked several interesting discussions with our readers. Some have shared their opinions about how they feel parents are too paranoid about strangers. The search term that reached our site (shown in the photo below – I refuse to type it in this post), is an example of why parents are so paranoid.
Of all possible disturbing things, seeing these words, and knowing that some creep landed on Jason’s article (that included a picture of LB), ranks at the top. While we’ve never been naive about the risks of keeping an online presence, it certainly put things into perspective when this search came through. At first, Jason and I panicked. Our first reaction was to take down our site, remove all of our pictures, and give up on the blog. We both had trouble sleeping that night, so we reached out to two of our blogger friends for their wisdom and experience.
Our friends had basically the same advice, except that one of them suggested I give the creep in question the benefit of the doubt. “Perhaps it was a totally innocent search”, she said. I joked that I would like to hear her explanation for how it could have been innocent. She wasn’t able to convince me, but I appreciated her attempt to ease my mind.
The unfortunate truth is that if you post any photos on the internet, it’s impossible to completely avoid perverts. Even though we aren’t posting any compromising photos of our children, we simply can’t control why or how our photos are used once they are posted to the web. Every photo we have on our site is similar to other photos on thousands upon thousands of other sites, including social media pages like Instagram and Facebook. All we can do is not give “them” anything “extra”, like images of our offspring in under garments, partially clothed, or in their swim wear. (Apparently many other bloggers have seen much worse search terms, mainly relating to tiny humans in their skivvies – again, I’m choosing my language a bit more carefully to not invite such search attention.) So the first thing we’ll adjust going forward is being extra vigilant about the pictures we choose to share online.
Secondly, I realized one of the reasons this search landed on our site was the number of times we have referred to Little Boy (which is the alias we originally chose for our son, because we didn’t want to use his real name). Our intentions were good, but it still may have caused long range issues for these sorts of creepy searches. So now, if you go back through any of our older posts, you’ll notice that every instance of our son’s and daughter’s aliases (other than the one in this paragraph) have now been replaced with LB and LG.
Lastly, this is a work in progress. I’m not sure if these measures will keep creeps at bay, and I’m not sure what we’ll choose to do the next time we see one. All I can say is that, for now, we’re still here. Be safe out there, my friends. Creepy creeps are everywhere.