We all want to make a meaningful connection after losing a child. For some of us, including myself, online friendships are sometimes the only way to keep your child's memory alive. The sisters you make online are the ones that remember special dates, cry with you, share with you, heal with you. I have said time and time again that I am indebted to all of the women who reached out to me after I lost Blaine. Who shared their children with me and who said to me "your son matters." So, how do we open ourselves up to the gifts while keeping ourselves safe from the harm?
What are some things you need to be aware of and concerned about when sharing your life and story online?
Identity theft: how many times have we come across a woman pretending to have lost a child? They steal photos, stories, and any details they can to make it their own and pretend to be someone their not.
Online predators: A mom on a FB group said that she checked her blogger stats and was getting traffic from an adult site. Another said that she looked at the terms used to search her blog and it included adult content. What is disturbing is that they were searching for something related to child porn and somehow the search engine gave her blog as a suggested site. I was on a message board once and this mom used to share tons of pics of her daughter and also lots of personal information. I didn't even live in the same Province as her but I was able to figure out where they lived. Scary!
Trolls: I swear some people have nothing to do but search for things they disagree with and then start arguments about it! I find it best to ignore ignore ignore. If you feed the troll it will keep coming back. They are usually harmless and are just looking for attention. Delete them, disregard them and they will go on to the next site.
Here are some tips I've gathered from various sites which can help you to keep yourself and your family safe. Please feel free to comment with any tips of your own or any experiences you've had. Happy and safe connecting!
Disable right click:
You need the HTML code, one can be found here. You go to "Add a Page Element" on Blogger and paste in the code. The code says "function disabled" but you can change that to your own message like "hands off!" This is not foolproof as people can still do a screen shot and take a screen capture if they want. I have not tested this.
This is good if you want to copyright something but it doesn't do anything to keep people from just stealing the photo. Here is a youtube video on how to watermark. Again, I have not tested this.
Change security settings:
Go to your settings on blogger. From there you can change who can comment, enable comment moderation, and change whether or not your blog is "searchable."
Keep in mind that whatever is public on the internet is really really public. Anyone can see it. Do you want everyone in the world to know that you and your child are going to be at Walmart Tuesday at 2:30pm?
Keeping yourself and your family safe is the number one priority.