Protecting against paedophiles

(19 Posts)
vickivixen88 Mon 02-Jan-12 16:34:56

Hi everyone,

I started blogging in November but haven't felt the need to post here - I have yet to get into the social side of blogging; just simply enjoying writing. But on Friday I had a really horrible experience and think it might be worth sharing in order that others don't fall into the same situation.

The post itself is perhaps not useful (I feel too guilty to be promoting my blog- is it allowed here?) but the comments I have had are extremely sensible and are worth baring in mind for any parent.

Just thought I'd pass the message on to save you from falling in this trap:

Unforeseen horrors:

Any further advice would be massively appreciated, thanks xx

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lionsandtigersandbearsohmy Mon 02-Jan-12 17:30:49

Sounds horrid and I understand why you are shocked. I have never and will never put pics of my children on my blog, or even on my facebook account. It is my choice to write and put myself "out there" but they do not have any say in the matter do they?

Maybe you could thing about changing the name of your blog (hard to think about doing I know!!) because of some of those search terms?

vickivixen88 Mon 02-Jan-12 23:09:52

I was stupid enough to not even consider the dangers - I thought the only thing I would be protecting him from by NOT posting photos was the embarrassment when he's older. I am too naive!

I have now deleted all photos of my little boy. It was definitely the right thing to do but such a shame that there are people out there that make those precautions necessary.

It doesn't particularly bother me that people would stumble across my site due to the name; they will soon see my ugly mug doesn't have anything to offer them! It is just the thought of my boy being seen by those people that bothers me.

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Bexxia Mon 02-Jan-12 23:29:05

I must admit, this kind of thing has crossed my mind a few times since starting my blog. I've never been sure what to do about it either. I've considered removing my son's name, but it's mentioned in places other than my blog and wouldn't exactly be difficult for someone determined to find out.

As for pictures, I love sharing them and would probably lose the will to blog altogether if I had to remove them. I am particularly careful not to upload anything that might be appealing to certain sick members of the public, for instance although I have some shots of him in the bath, you can't see anything you shouldn't. That said, I have the odd pic where you can just about see his bum and perhaps they should be removed.....

Sad when we upload these things in complete innocence and a sick minority have to ruin it.....

PeaceofCakeAndGoodWineToAllMN Mon 02-Jan-12 23:35:47 You can always contact these people? It's a good idea if you use basic internet safety, as we teach our children. Use a pseudoname for them. I also wouldn't put my son's picture on my blog. I don't write about him at all.

vickivixen88 Mon 02-Jan-12 23:54:17

The thing is, my son kind of IS my blog! Thanks for the link.

Bexxia a friend did suggest I only use photos where Sam is almost fully covered up - like coat and hat and everything. But just think it would be impossible for me to differentiate between what would and wouldn't be attractive to a paedophile; as I can't even see the slightest bit of sexuality in a photo of a child completely naked (not that I would post such a picture even before this even)...I can't think whether a sicko would be interested in a topless toddler/a toddler with legs on show..or what. So sadly they're all gone sad

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PeaceofCakeAndGoodWineToAllMN Tue 03-Jan-12 00:04:20

CEOP may be able to give you some advice on how to protect your blog. I wouldn't use his real name though and you do need to be very careful about the images you use, nothing in the bath, nothing outside your child's school etc.

Bexxia Tue 03-Jan-12 00:05:21

That really is a shame hun, but you've got to do what feels right and if removing the photos is it, then so be it. There are a lot of blogs out there which are light on the photos and they're still a damn good read. I think you've got a nice writing style that's easy to follow and you'll do well if you want to continue that way.

I'll read some of your other posts tomorrow when I'm not so knackered. smile

lisad123 Tue 03-Jan-12 00:08:33

The thing is, these sick people will always look and find pictures of kids on blogs, on fb, on catalogue websites. They only want pictures they can change to their liking sad it's horrible to think that someone like that has seen a pic of your son, but you never know who is walking passed you in the street.

jemjabella Tue 03-Jan-12 13:35:29

My blog is 10 this year, and my online journalling pre-dates even that. In those years, I've seen referrals to my site that would make you vomit - people looking for all sorts of things involving the young AND the old. About 5 years ago I had death threats from someone who didn't like what I wrote about their website. I've had users searching my archives for posts trying to find details of my sex life, where I went to school, and just 2 days ago '' had fun searching my entries for mentions of towns nearby (2-3 miles down the road)... dare I think about why?

And yet I continue to blog... I guess I just see it like lisad123 - you don't know that the person who got on the bus after you isn't a paedophile or that you next door neighbour hasn't done time for similar, and yet we carry on about with our lives.

Those of you who hide your names etc - do you also route your Internet through a proxy so that no information can be obtained by looking up your IP address? Do you block cookies so that websites can't track your movements across 3rd party sites, building up a profile of things you do / buy / visit? Do you block JavaScript to prevent the vast majority of statistical tracking software from pinpointing the combination of browser, IP, operating system etc that can often be used to identify (or at least make it easier to identify) unique users? Do you prevent Google from sending your search queries to websites you visit after a search? Do you keep track of what you post, and is posted about you, across websites like facebook, blog networking sites etc? Not wanting to make anyone paranoid but if you're not aware of the data that can easily be captured about you, simply hiding your name on the Internet is about as much use as a chocolate fire guard...

(All that said, I don't publish pictures of me or my daughter online that show faces. It's nothing to do with potential paedophiles, just keeping that last teensy shred of privacy in this big scary digital world.)

jemjabella Tue 03-Jan-12 13:40:50

PS. not a member of the mumsnet bloggers network but hoped the technical insight re: online tracking etc would provide some food for thought... I shall go back to lurking now.

lowimpactmama Tue 03-Jan-12 15:58:37

Jem very interesting post (and grin at chocolate fire guard!). I go by a pseudonym, but I know that I'm smeared all over the internet and anyone who wanted to (and knew how) could find out all sorts about me. Probably more than I'm aware of myself! But I still prefer to blog "anonymously", as it prevents me feeling so self-conscious.

Vicki so sorry you had to go through this. I'm conscious of not using my son's name (or my husband's or any other family) and am cautious about using pictures, as I want to respect their privacy. But I agree with others who say that you don't know who's walking past you etc. Personally, I think I'd also change my blog's name if it included terms like bum. Innocuous as it is in real life some of those search terms would make me feel a little ick...just my opinion though!

MmeLindor. Tue 03-Jan-12 16:33:59

Sorry that you were so upset by this.

I guess I am in two minds. While I agree that the only way to protect your children from being seen by paedophiles on the internet is not to put pics of them on there - but that would close down a lot of mummyblogs.

At the same time, it is a faceless, nameless person who will never ever meet your child.

I worry much more about the possibility of someone in RL endangering my children, and that risk is much higher. Thankfully there are ways of protecting your children (which is something that I keep meaning to blog about, and will try to do so this week).

The fact that someone looked at pics of your boy does not mean that you failed to protect him, just that there are sick individuals out there.

For my blog, while it started as a "mummyblog", it has evolved and I write more about politics and other stuff than I do about my children. I never use photos on my blog that are recognisable and would never use photos of the children unclothed.

Not sure what the photo was, or the search term, but I would say that I do think it unwise to put pics of half-naked children on a blog. I hate that I even think this, because it is horrible to have to hide your children, but there are people who will search for this and that is the only way to avoid them finding them.

I use pseudonyms and only use "son" and "daughter" if I speak of my children. I blogged about it a while ago, might be of interest to you. More on privacy side of things than worry about paedophiles.

Jux Tue 03-Jan-12 17:24:35

Oh you poor thing; my heart was hammering as I read.

FWIW I never put pix of dd on the internet - anywhere. She now has a fb account (I'm not overly happy about it, but she's 12 and all her friends have had them for - in some cases - a few years). I put her profile pic up for her and together we chose a beautiful landscape with a sunset. She understands the need to protect herself online as well as in rl.

I have friends who take photos of family events etc and post them on fb. They sometimes include pix of me or dd. I don't like it and ask them to take them down, which they do (usually).

Call ceops. Get advice.

Much sympathy.

MmeLindor. Wed 04-Jan-12 12:02:27

How are you feeling today? You reminded me that I have been putting off writing this post for a while so have done so today

More about protecting children from harm generally, but I will follow up with a cyber version later this week.

vickivixen88 Thu 05-Jan-12 00:29:45

MmeLindor, thanks for your thoughts. I have linked your 'Protecting your children' to my latest post. The name thing is of interest to me, but will give it a few days before drinking my next glass of paranoia juice!

Thank you for your sympathy Jux. To someone like yourself who is so careful, I must sound insane...but the thing is I'm not fussed about privacy, and just hadn't even considered paedophiles. Incredibly stupid, I know!

lowimpactmama - When I named my blog it didn't strike me as anything that could be thought of as dirty - it was just a funny phrase that my son kept coming out with. If I ever thought I could do anything serious off the back of my blog I would definitely change the name, but as it is I don't mind the occasional dirty search terms involving 'mummy' that come up - they wouldn't hang around more than a second!

Oh my goodness jemjabella, I would be so scared by all of that! It takes a strong person to decide to carry on blogging regardless, but it sounds like you've made a real success of yourself so I suppose you just have to ignore those things. I didn't understand most of what you said in the penultimate para - my knowledge on all things technical is pitiful. The chocolate fireguard made me chuckle though...and I'm glad you don't think it necessary that I remove our first names.

lisad123 That sort of thing doesn't even bear thinking about!

Thank you Bexxia, that is such a nice thing to say! When I first started out (albeit only 2 months ago) I felt like I'd hit upon gold each time I discovered a blog that was well written - now I am overwhelmed by how many brilliant writers there are out there...and it doesn't half make me feel bad about my efforts! I've tried to have a gander at yours but am a bit of a technophobe and don't know how to find it through this site...can anyone enlighten me?!

PeaceofCakeAndGoodWineToAllMN in the end I decided for no photos at all of my son. Tho that is a very good point about no pictures outside your child's school. I had a job in a cafe and was going to post a pic of me looking ridiculous in the cap - but realised it had a traceable logo on it. Gosh you have to be so careful, don't you!

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vickivixen88 Thu 05-Jan-12 00:31:31

Oh and for anyone who is interested, feel free to have a gander at my follow up post here:

From now on I will be back to the usual frivolity I write about! Thanks so much everyone for all your help and kindness x

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vickivixen88 Thu 05-Jan-12 00:32:04

(oops, here's the link)

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MmeLindor. Fri 06-Jan-12 09:13:04

Hi Vicki,

have posted on your blog. I have now written the follow up post on internet safety, if you are interested it is here

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