Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

The Social Media Dilemma

Social media plays a large portion of most of our lives, even our seniors have succumb to the lure. On a daily basis though, I’m left speechless at the way certain platforms have both inspired… and terrified me.

As my son becomes a teenager it’s inevitable that he start having an online presence. Up until now, I’ve followed the lead of other parents by running my sons social media for him, yet, keeping him fully involved so he can learn the gravity of this situation.

Not only are kids bullied on all platforms, but I’ve become all too familiar with pedophiles stalking my son online.

Like many others, I assumed this was a rare phenomenon that happens to “other” kids, not mine. I protect our accounts with the necessary blocks and parental controls, but still… they found a way.

So, we as parents are left stuck in the middle of giving them that freedom, or restricting it. I’m a firm believer that when you restrict things altogether, kids go behind your back.

So, I’ve decided to educate Cairo.

For instance…

We posted pictures of my son eating ice-cream at our local shop, it’s a very photogenic cafe. By posting this place several times, a person we do not know, drove hours from their home and “coincidentally” ran into us there.

This event changed our online presence forever.

Not all social media followers are creepy, in fact, the large majority of them are pretty damn awesome!

It seems to be happening to us daily; someone inevitably comes up and says “Hey, I’m *so and so* we follow you on Instagram.” Those meetings are always a shocking pleasure.

For instance, a surfer-guy came up to me while I was taking pictures of Cairo surfing. He walked out of the water, and asked how our recent trip to Costa Rica was. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I have facial recognition issues. I can hear an accent with great precision, but a face? It’s lost on me.

So, people coming up and knowing the details of our life REALLLLLY leaves me stuck in a state of momentary confusion.

Social media has taken a lifelong disorder, and thrown me into a bizarre world where I have no idea who I am supposed to know in real life… OR who is watching from afar.

Another example of our new reality; I was being harassed on the beach by two extremely drunk locals in Costa Rica. They were pulling my hair, and starting to become aggressive.

While I was desperately searching for an escape route… an angel sent from heaven walked towards me.

She said, “Hi, are you Cairo’s mom?”  Apparently, she recognized him, and his surfboard, from Instagram.

Just last week, we walked into a restaurant several counties from home.  As the hostess led us to our table, a kid and his grandparents were quite obviously watching us. As we were eating the boy walked over and said “Are you Cairo Zion?”

And… yesterday Cairo got to meet a fellow Skimtona Team Rider, because they saw online that we were not only visiting the same town, but in the hotel next to theirs.

These situations have become the new “normal,” and most of these interactions are pretty amazing, It’s the rare “scary” ones that leave me not knowing what to do as a parent.

“Cairo” has received several “private messages” from grown men; male pedophiles who try to lure him into conversation.

Inevitably, the conversation leads to a perverted, demented and, illegal place. I know this… because it’s ME they are talking to. It is ME, who screen shots every word, and ME  who has them blocked… and EXPOSED.

One man from Germany told “my son,” he wanted to “lick his hot, sexy, six pack.”

Another from India, asked if my son was a “good boy or bad boy,” needless to say, the med-school listed on his profile received an ton of screen shots.

But, further still, a man from Brazil tried to educate Cairo on the fine art of “Blow Jobs.”

I KID YOU NOT.

Yes, folks, THIS IS VERY REAL.

I took action and deleted one entire Instagram account. His new account is set to private, and I do my best to read each profile before accepting them as followers.  Even with these precautions, creepiness ensues.

Then, there are haters and bullies.

Cairo was “made fun of” for riding his unicycle, among other hateful and mean spirited gossip.

I continue to tell Cairo, “Notice the people who are happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness, they are your true friends.”

People can be mean spirited, perverted, and downright scary on social media.

It’s our JOB as parents to protect our kids the best we can, WHILE letting them grow and explore. We have to educate them to the harsh realities of life and NOT shield them from the truth. I’m shocked at the amount of families I’ve discussed this with, and their kids ask me, “what is a pedophile?”

I feel Cairo is prepared, best he can be. Please inform your kids too.

Social Media is a fine balance.

Ultimately, we believe the goodness of people is far greater than the evil.  All we can do is stay vigilant, aware, and always kind.

 

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2018 by in Britt's Banter, Buddhaful, Trendy Topics and tagged , , , , , .

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