Monday, 10 June 2013
There has been a bit of a hoo hah about the GCHQ spying thing. I am slightly inclined to roll my eyes and say that's GCHQ's job - spying. What are you so worked up about?
Having recently been appointed as a Moderator on the Around the Dinner Table forum, I occasionally have to do a bit of Googling. For the most part, the people who join the forum and post are parents and carers. We have quite strict rules about that sort of thing. We also have professionals and patients who read the forum and some are members, but do not post, excepting exceptional circumstances.
Now and again, we get a rogue spammer. The ones that make me smile are the ones trying to sell us diet pills. Obviously a forum for parents of children with eating disorders is going to be a HUGE market for you. Duh!
We also get patients who are desperate for help and pretend to be someone else. There is a core of old-timers Moderators and Mentors who are pretty good at getting a "spidey" sense of this, by the way they write and what they say. These people need further investigation.
It is not a job undertaken lightly. To be frank, everyone is taken on face value and trust is a big part of the forum. However, having had to do such an investigation over the weekend, I am surprised how easy it is to find people on the internet and quite horrified about what people reveal about themselves. It is not hard to go back 10 or 15 years and find conversations that would make me blush....
The internet can be a place of wonder, comfort and information for a parent in distress about their child with an eating disorder. It can also be a place for flaming and fighting and horrid encounters that leave one stuck with nausea at the cruelty on the one hand and deep deep pity on the other.
The internet is a good place. It is also a scary and cruel one. I, for one, am happier knowing that there are eyes and ears out there.