The news story dominating the headlines today is the tragic event in Tenerife, in which it appears that a British national was picked at random in a supermarket and stabbed and beheaded in front of shocked tourists.
Not a nice subject for my blog quite frankly but I can't seem to get it out of my head. It really has made me wonder what kind of world Mads is going to grow up in.
When I look back to my childhood, it was idyllic. I am not saying that bad things didn't happen and serious crimes weren't committed, of course they were. But it was safer than it was now, or at least maybe we weren't so aware of everything. I would go out for hours on my bike, build dens with my friends and roam around in the woods near my house. I didn't have a mobile phone so couldn't contact my Mum every few minutes to let her know that I was alright, but she assumed as long as I came back every couple of hours to check in, that I was safe and well. Obviously this was when I was old enough to know the dangers of talking to strangers etc, but I was streetwise and remember my childhood as generally being a very safe and carefree time.
Fast forward to today and I feel it is a very different story. Perhaps serious crimes aren't being committed more but we all have to be a lot more aware of what is going on. As a mother to a baby girl, I am worried for her when she becomes a teenager. Girls seem to be a lot more sexualised and the Internet has become a frightening place, I feel, for our children. My sister is ten years younger than me, and I remember when she was a few years younger, we had to stop her from placing innocent photos of herself in a bikini on her then 'bebo' account. Nowadays Facebook accounts have better privacy laws to stop people getting onto your profile but still they could fall into the hands of the wrong person.
We have the fear of terrorist attacks, and we have teenagers killing each other just for being in the wrong postcode. I know that these are still rare events but I can't help but think that you can't turn on the television without reading a distressing story. I have been to Tenerife a few times and I can't believe that such a macabre act would happen in a quiet resort like that. To me the world just seems to be getting a more violent and frightening place, or is just that I am more aware of it now I am a mother?
I have already mentioned in a previous post about posting photos of Mads online, I find it so upsetting that I worry about showing off photos of my daughter, for fear of them getting into the wrong hands. At the end of the day I am not stupid enough to show her without clothes, they are innocent shots, but the fact that we even have to think about these things, I think is a real shame.
I, like any other parent, would do absolutely anything to protect my daughter. But does that mean that I will have to wrap her up in cotton wool? I want her to grow into a well rounded, streetwise individual, not a scared, clingy one. Will she be able to have an innocent childhood like I did, camping out overnight in a tent in a park about twenty foot from our house, where my Mum could see us from the window? Unfortunately I don't think that this will be the case as we are more aware of what potentially could go wrong.
I know this isn't a particularly cheery post first thing on a Saturday, but I really have woken up this morning, wondering what kind of world we are now living in, and what kind of world it will be when Mads is older. As I looked at her in her moses basket smiling up at me, it really made a tear come to my eye. I want her to stay innocent forever, and not have to realise the dangers of the world around us. At the moment she is my baby, and will do a beaming smile at anyone, it will be such a shame when I have to tell her otherwise.