Friday, 11 January 2008

The end of the innocence

Apparently, I can "blog" photos from my "flickr" account, but only if they're public. I've been switching photos of elder daughter and younger daughter from the public to private setting and back since last night due an unsettling experience. See, on "flickr", you can check on the "popularity" (ranking) of your photos, according to four criteria: "interestingness" (their term), views (the number of times people other than yourself have looked at a photo), favourites (the number of times "flickr" members have favourited a given photo), and comments (the number of times...well, you get the idea...). So yesterday evening, I noticed a photo I'd taken of younger daughter at a wave pool birthday party in November had zoomed from 44th place (or whatever) to 1st place on the "interestingness" scale. The reason for this was that it had been viewed 83 times since November and suddenly someone had favourited it. This someone went by the handle of "stormtracker2001", so I clicked on the hotlink to find out more. First, I saw his-or-her photos which were unremarkable. Remarkably unremarkable. They were rather blurred photos of some marine park and there were only half-a-dozen of them. This is an unusually low number for a "flckr" account, so first odd thing. I checked stormtracker2001's profile. No information about him or her but about two dozen contacts, all seeming to be middle-aged women. A *long* list of groups below. (These are interest groups, according to what you like to photograph.) All of these seemed to be about children: "Our beautiful children" is one I remembered. "Nudists and naturists" was another . Uh-oh. Then I looked at stormtracker2001's favourites list. All the photos were of young girls, I mean girls about six-to-twelve-years-old. Many in swimsuits. Nothing pornographic, although a couple were girls at odd angles, but when I clicked on the photos, it was clear that these were photos posted by proud parents. Two were of younger daughter; the other was one I'd taken last summer of her swinging into the pool on a rope at a rec centre in Victoria.

I began to feel a wee bit queasy. Let me just say my views on pedophilia. I don't think pedophiles are lurking everywhere; I think, like plane crashes, they're rare but they get a lot of press. Hence, every time a child is abducted or molested by a stranger, I get emails from friends with forwarded online petitions, even though the vast majority of children who are abused seem to be victims of family members or family friends. I think my children are at greater risk of being hurt or killed in an accident or fire. However. As my husband pointed out (calmly), there was that "uh-oh" feeling in my gut. So I put both photos of younger daughter on the private setting and watched them vanish from "stormtracker2001's" favourites. Maybe he's a relatively harmless fella (and I do think it's a fella) who, like Lewis Carroll, has a romantic fixation on little girls. But not my girls. I feel a little heartbroken, because I was rather proud of those photographs, and enjoyed sharing them. This photo of younger daughter isn't anymore erotic than the swimming pool ones, but at least she's well covered up....

No comments: