Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Meeting-up with on line friends (or setting a bad example)

One of the first things we make sure our children understand when they start using the web is DON'T arrange to meet up with folk you don't know in real life. But how many of us actually hold to that rule? I certainly don't set a good example, as I've been doing it for years now.



As a book blogger, I go along to literary events, and meet authors and their publicists - sometimes it's for a brief  'hello' at a book signing; sometimes a longer chat with an author who's become more of a virtual friend, and we'll discuss gardens, children, or pets; too often it's running into someone in a queue for the toilets!
Occasionally I've met people for coffee or pizza, and once,
when I'd mentioned on Facebook that we were holidaying in Edinburgh, I was invited along to Edinburgh Literary Salon above the Wash bar. My daughter, probably from scare stories she'd heard, was convinced I'd be found drunk and rolling in the gutter afterwards, but fortunately I survived without such drama! 








On Twitter, I'll talk to almost anyone, on FB, I've always been prepared to accept friend requests from anyone who moves in my sort of circles, and I've met up with people from both.

I've gone out for coffee/lunch, walked dogs by the sea, and once invited someone round for the evening while their kids were at a concert, rather than them have to spend the time sat in a burger bar.
Maybe it's more luck than judgement but none of them turned out to be axe-wielding weirdos.




My daughter went on to not only follow my (bad) example and meet up with folk she only knew on-line, but to invite them to stay! That proved to be so much fun that we've carried on offering a place for touring musicians to stay, mainly guys we know, occasionally total strangers, but it's always worked out well.



So when I happened to be chatting on Twitter to Amanda Riley, an American musician who was going to be spending a day alone in Nottingham, and she suggested meeting up, I thought to myself  Why not?
We spent the afternoon checking out Nottingham's (if not England's) oldest inn, chatting about mutual acquaintances and her future plans, and in the evening I went along to hear her play at the Hop Merchant.
Hopefully she'll be back in the not distant future, and maybe to stay with us.






Would I encourage a youngster to do any of this?
No! I'd always say safe is better than sorry.
But just maybe as adults we're a little too cautious or paranoid? Sometimes it's a good idea to step out of your safety zone and see what interesting people you can meet.

The weirdest not-quite-meeting of all remains the time I was walking in a country park and thought I recognised the person (and dog) walking towards me. I didn't say anything then - after all to have been wrong would have looked foolish - but I checked later online; I did know them and I wished I'd say Hi!

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful! Me too! Often. I've even had someone I met online come to stay. Terrible parenting example. And I'm meeting the other two hosts from the linky next week for the first time. Yay!!! Safety online and all that #tweensteensbeyond

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  2. ha ha !! You're so right! When I went to a blogging conference a couple months back my teenagers were questioning ME?"Do you even know these people?"
    Sounds great fun though and maybe we are a bit over paranoid as grown ups!!!#tweensteensbeyond

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    1. I know they need to be kept safe but I wonder if children have too much suspicion drilled into them? Once when we were lost in town I asked a passer-by for directions, and my daughter (ok she was about 10) told me off for speaking to someone I didn't know!

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  3. Oh we are all so paranoid nowadays aren't we but for just cause I suppose as there are some scary stories, but we need to put them in perspective. They are few and far between. The beauty of the online world is that you are connecting from shared passions, interests and experiences rather than through the fact your kids are friends or you are neighbours. It is a much freer environment. Have made a note of the Edinburgh Literary Salon! Thanks for joining us again - we need to all meet in person too one day. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Yes, I love that online I've found people who share my passions and outlook - and so it's natural to want to meet them. I think we adults feels we're better at spotting a fake though.

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  4. This is a tricky one. I'd like to think that its OK for us because we have a bit more common sense about who we are meeting but I understand that being a tough point for them to swallow. #teenstweensbeyond

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    1. I suppose it's much like teaching young children to cross the road - we take risks we'd never encourage them to! Thanks for stopping by #tweenteensbeyond

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  5. I recently wrote about this in regards to my kids keeping an eye on me, 2 years a go this week I was in Canada on a tweet up with a virtual friend and her family. most of my real world friends started off online #tweenteensbeyond

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    1. I love how your kids are keeping an eye on YOU,rather than the other way round. Surely they,of all people, understand that lots of friendships start online these days?

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  6. It's such a shame that so many people miss out on fun and interesting meetings with like-minded people because of the horrible actions of a few people. If only the world was a more innocent place! I would never allow my girls to meet up with people that they had met online unless it was under highly controlled circumstances. I, on the other hand, am heading off to London on my own to meet up with Nicky and Jo this week for the first time ever!!!! My teens have raised their eyebrows at that. Do as I say not as I do!! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. I think sooner or later, teens are going to want to meet friends they've met over social media, and the only thing parents can do is explain the dangers, and trust their children! Hope you had a good meet up with Nicky and Jo x

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