The doll is at the age where social media is beginning to make a presence in her life…and yes this scares me to no end. “But mom you’ve met people you’ve come in contact with on Twitter” she argued when I refused to let her open a FaceBook page. “Yes, that’s true, however, technically you are not old enough for a Facebook account (13) and two…I’m 50 and your 12 and I’m your Mom and I say no regardless” I argued back; understanding I didn’t really quell her desire to join a site.
Annnd as we all know, Facebook is not the only game in town…
The other day the doll sat down across the room from me and said, “My friends and I are on this picture site where we can make and share picture collages and funny sayings with one another…” “Okayyyy” I replied. “Well Twin has been sharing my collages without my permission and I don’t like it” She informed. “Doll, let me ask this…who can see those pictures?” “Whoever follows me…” She replied and I instantly became worried. “Mom, don’t worry. I don’t use my real name or tell anyone where I live or any of that junk” She said rolling her eyes at me as if to say, “I’m not that dumb”. “Who of your friends are on this site?” I asked. “All of them. I kind of told them about this cool site I found….” and all I could think was “Great my doll has led them down this primrose path…”
After getting more information about the site in question, I joined and the doll and I are reluctant friends. I’ve certainly enjoyed a few of her collages-especially concerning our drive to and from Charleston last month “About to go to cousins wedding. In another state. Only mom, aunt and me in small car for 13 hours… UGH!!” is my favorite. Little did she know the trip took 17 hours Ha! But the other day she sat down as said, “Mom there is this girl, her name is Shadow on PicCollage and I like her collages. Earlier she posted on her board that she was done with this life…” “Okay…” I replied a little wary. “Well evidently she posted that earlier in the day and I happened upon it and said, “Wait I like your collages, you’re liked…don’t do something you can’t change later…” the doll explained. “Great advice…” I replied still worried where this was going. “Well she replied to the other people who wrote stuff before I did and told them ‘Thank you, you saved a life today…’ Which made me say Whew! She also responded to my note and we’ve become tentative friends…”
As the doll explained I became sad and happy at the same time. Sad that my doll was caught up in this drama-real or imagined; yet proud she gave “Shadow” good advice. “Oh yeah?” I asked trying to keep the nervousness from my voice. “Yes, she said she felt bad for me that I spent such a long car ride with you…”The doll replied with a smirk. “Well….” I replied and we both laughed.
Last night just before bed the doll entered the kitchen and said, “Hey Mom, do you remember that girl “Shadow” I talked about last week?” “The one from your PicCollage account?” I asked. “Yes…well her sister came online and posted that she tried to commit suicide last night, but they got to her in time and now she’s in the hospital.” Looking over at my daughter, who carried a very sad look upon her face I replied, “Well, say a prayer for her….however….” She nodded her head at the thought of praying, but gave me a curious look when I mentioned however. “Listen doll, this is the internet we are talking about. I hope that friend of yours is okay…but you never really know if this was a cry for help for a very sad girl…or a trick.” “Why would someone trick about that?” she questioned. “Because it’s an easy way to get attention. For all I know, there is no sister. “Shadow” could be orchestrating the whole thing in an effort to gain sympathy-or frankly-just to get attention.” “I’m fairly confident they are two different people…” the doll tried. “Perhaps they are-that’s why you say a prayer for them….but you keep yourself at a distance and take what they say to you as a grain of salt. The internet offers so many ways for girls your age to get into trouble…even when all you’re trying to do is help”. I explained.
“Mom, I don’t use my real name or my address or telephone number or anything else…that could get me into trouble” The doll said defiantly. “Is your IPod location services turned on?” I asked. “Yes, so…” she replied. “Turn it off! By having that on people can track you to where you live…” I said. “Ohhhh” the doll said and her eyes grew large at the understanding. “You see doll, while the internet can be fun-it can also be quite dangerous…and there are many people out there just waiting to take advantage. That’s why you must be smart…” I explained. “Well what am I supposed to do about this girl….” the doll asked again. “You say a prayer and hope she gets well..” I said to her while I’ll pray she is not a predator trying to lure you out.