Dangerous Behaviors and Kid Fears
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
â€œItâ€™s crazy,â€ Shannon tells me. â€œAll you parents are so scared to Â death Â that us teenagers Â are going to go meet some pervert we meet online, and yet all these moms of teenagers Â are Â out Â thereÂ Â meetingÂ Â withâ€”andÂ Â sleeping withâ€”men theyâ€™ve met online and know nothing about.â€ And I agree with her. As parents, weâ€™re all terrified of who they might encounter Â through MySpace or AIM or wherever, Â who Â might Â entice Â them Â into Â a Â meeting Â and damage them for life. Theyâ€™re afraid of what their moms will catch or that sheâ€™ll get beaten to a pulp or robbed or raped by the same guys we worry will do them harm. Itâ€™s strange to see that teens have the same fears about their parents…and that they see the hypocrisy in it.
Iâ€™ve met a lot of great people online and itâ€™s been a wonderful Â way Â to find other people who think like me, around the world, while Iâ€™m stuck in the Bible Belt. For example, I knew Maggie Shayne via online writersâ€™ bulletin boards for a couple of years before I met her in per- son and sheâ€™s one of my closest friends even though she lives in New Â York and I live in Florida. Â Same with so
many writers Â I Â met Â through Â writing Â sites Â and Â bulletin boards and Â later met face-to-face Â at conferences, Â often being very surprised Â at Â their Â appearance Â (those Â glamour photos were kinda old) or their in-person attitudeâ€”both for good and for bad.
Same goes for various spiritual friends I knew online and by phone, and later through personal interaction.
I canâ€™t say the same for men online. Though I get a lot of emails and have at least ventured in that direction for male conversation, Iâ€™m still wary of meeting an online persona at some hotel or bar. Something Â usually warns me not to.
And for the record, I have male friends whoâ€™ve met psycho women online, the kind who go from adoring and adorable to clingy, crazy, knife-wielding bitches in 0 to 60 seconds.
Oddly enough, Â but the men seem Â moreÂ inclined to talk about Â their Â scary encounters than the women, who seem to take it as their own fault for being in that situation whereas the men immediately blow off any responsibility.
So as a single parent whoâ€™s careful about my daughtersâ€™ online activities, I find it interesting that my peers are the ones engaged in the more dangerous Â behaviors weâ€™d attribute to horny 16-year-olds.
Later in my conversation with Shannon, I mention a friend of mine whoâ€™s been divorced for less than I have and is marrying a man Â she Â met a couple of weeks ago. She had two marriage proposals to choose from, within a week of each other. Since her ex moved out and moved in with a new girlfriend, sheâ€™s actively kept 2 to 3 boy- friends on the line at any one time.
â€I donâ€™t get it,â€ I tell Shannon, half-serious and half- joking. â€œWhatâ€™s wrong with me that Iâ€™m not persistently
entertaining 2 or 3 men at one time? I could but…I donâ€™t know.â€
Shannon gets Â that Â Iâ€™m-totally-disgusted-with-parents look she sometimes gets. â€œItâ€™s not whatâ€™s wrong with you. Itâ€™s whatâ€™s right with you.â€
Gods, I love that kid.