Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How they slip away, no chance for last goodbyes

Today I lost an old and dear friend. He slipped away in the early hours of this morning and I only heard about it a few minutes ago.
Michael had had pancreatic cancer for some time. He has struggled with pain for much of his life having hurt himself early in his career as a ballet dancer which put paid to his dancing dreams.
This is a man who once danced with Nureyev and spent time with Andy Warhol, yet today one cannot find a picture of him on google so far had he faded from fame and fortune. Michael had faded from my life too, I hadn't seen him in almost 18 months. I thought of him just last week and wondered how he was. Somehow in the rush and madness of running around getting busy with life and everything that goes with it, I had lost my old friend.
Now it is far to late for goodbyes.
RIP Michael Richter

Sticks and stones might break my bones... but keystrokes can sometimes kill you.

This story really freaked me out today.
I am pretty tech savy but it made me think about how my daughter, aged 2, might concievably have to deal with some things which go far further than sticks and stones in her day to day interactions with her peers and collegues in the future, and I might not have the skillset to help her cope with it.
It made me think about how much I as a parent need to keep up with what is going on in my child's life right from now, and how it is my responsibility, nay, my duty, to make sure that I not give in to technology and shrug my shoulders saying, "this is too higher-grade," the way many parents are doing today.
We are thinking seriously already about when Evangeline is going to get her first computer. At the moment it will probably just be a simple machine without any real network access, more a workstation for herself to keep her away from ours where she can do real damage by accidentally downloading HUGE files or undoing steps I spent hours on in editing photographs (both of which she has done already, did I mention she is only 2?).
Parents of teenagers who are not up to date with the technology being used everyday by their sons and daughters have a daunting task ahead of them.
An I being naieve in thinking that if I keep upo to date from now I even stand a chance of being alright by the time my child is a teenager?
An adult friend was attacked in a similar fashion to that described in the article on cyberbullying about a year ago.... He, at 38, struggled with the same issues and ended up wasting a lot of time and energy fighting an enemy he couldn't see who didn't follow the rules.
This sort of thing is going to get worse before it get's better.
There are all sorts of statistics of suicides which are related to stuff that happens online.
It really makes a mockery of the old song my Mum used to teach me to help me deal with taunts and teasing, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me."