I AM NOT A THREAT.
- I AM NOT a predator
- I AM NOT a murderer
- I AM NOT DANGEROUS.
- I AM living somewhere that has nobody with the same humor, interests, intelligence, or tastes as I do.
- I AM talking to your son or daughter because THEY DO.
- I AMwishing you wouldn’t judge me when you don’t know me.
This is for Jay, first and foremost. She’s 17 years old and received a pair of mouse earrings for Christmas from one of her online friends. (She’s in the Charles/Erik fandom and they signified Charles, who gets represented as a mouse in a lot of fandom references)
Her parents flipped out, ignored the fact that I was willing to have a conversation with them on the phone in order to keep RPing with her via text and email, and completely banned her from the internet. That was months ago, and she still can’t come back. They’ve completely disregarded her assurances that we are RP partners, friends who like the same fandom, and assume that all of us are sexual predators who just want to find where she lives and kidnap her and do unspeakable things to her.
I’m getting sick of this stereotype, I hate that parents assume everyone on the internet is a sexual predator, and their kid is the #1 victim. I feel like this is insulting to the child AND their friends, because you assume that your kid is susceptible and stupid and can’t tell the difference between who is and isn’t a creep.
I’m not saying that there aren’t kids like that, but maybe you should stop assuming your kid is one of them.
We come to the internet to find friends, we come here to find people who like to read and write and draw and make funny faces and horrible photoshop manipulations. We don’t come here to get off, to stalk children or bully anyone.
So please signal boost this, because I want Jay’s parents to realize that there is no reasonfor them to punish their daughter. Not when all she’s done was find friends who like what she likes, and encourage her to write and share her talent with the rest of us.
I know so many people who would be miserable or even dead if it weren’t for the friends and support and constructive relationships they’ve made on the internet. ESPECIALLY when their PARENTS don’t provide the unconditional love, help, and understanding that they need.
I have been online since I was 11, and it saved me from going insane a few years ago. It is not a substitute for real life, but when nobody around you believes what you do and you feel alone and miserable, the internet can change your life.
I don’t know what I would have done my sophomore year of high school if not for the online communities I discovered. I hated school and I had no direction. I wanted to learn but I was disgusted by the fact that I’d always just done what I was told, even when I thought it was wrong.
I couldn’t share this with anyone other than my school friends who may have sympathized, but who would never do anything or couldn’t help me.
When I found homeschooling and unschooling sites online, I learned, among countless other things, that I wasn’t alone, that my concerns and dislikes were valid. I started to make plans and DO something with my pent up anger and frustration.
I may not have dropped out and homeschooled like I had wanted to, and I may not be the radical I believed I was for a time, but that time and those communities shaped me for the better, and gave me a place to work out my feelings that wouldn’t judge me negatively for having them in the first place. Now I know what I want to do and what path I want to take, and at least I know that I have the power to make that decision at all.
The internet can be an extremely powerful connecting force, and it can help people, especially youth, in so many ways.
Also, the dangers of using the internet are severely overblown. AND TEACH YOUR KID TO BE SMART, NOT AFRAID.
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