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Unwise parents pose girls sexily on Web sites

Thursday, August 02, 2001

Would you purposely put your daughter at risk? Some parents are doing so -- by taking seductive photos of their daughters, then posting them on the Web on provocative Web sites. And the daughters are often only 10 to 15 years old.

Supposedly, these parents are putting together these homegrown Web sites to make money for their children -- perhaps college funds. Apparently some children are raking in the money by offering memberships or carrying advertising on their homegrown Web sites.


But the people who are viewing these Web sites are not exactly the people you really want to be ogling your daughter. According to Julie Posey, a private detective in Louisville, Colo., and director of PedoWatch.com, some parents realize the problem only after their daughters receive unsavory advances from adults who find the Web sites intriguing.

Were they expecting Billy Graham or Jesse Jackson to be going from page to page to view youngsters posing in bathing suits and underwear? I don't think so. The people who frequent these Web sites are doing it for purposes we don't talk about in polite company. Then they're going to chat rooms to compare notes.

The parents defend themselves by saying that the photos have no nudity. Yet it takes only a few clicks before the viewers find themselves on hard-core Web sites.

I can see the parents' point of view. They might be affording their daughter some financial rewards that she might not otherwise attain. However, they're exposing her in such a way that they would never imagine doing around the neighborhood. And they are putting their daughters at great risk, including the risk of being stalked.

In some ways the situation reminds me of Vanna White and Vanessa Williams. Both posed nude early in their careers; and later the nude photos almost ruined their careers. Vanna was on the top of the world as a wholesome TV model. Vanessa had her Miss America crown stripped from her. The difference is that both women were old enough to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. So they alone would gain or lose by those decisions.

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With the seductive teen-age Web sites, the girls are not old enough to understand the implications of posting their images on the Web for all the world to see. Their parents have to offer them understanding and guidance.

Q: Why does Microsoft Outlook insert my name before my reply text whenever I try to reply to somebody else's e-mail message?

A: Your Outlook is set up to insert the name of the person to whom the software is registered whenever you reply or forward a message. This feature is meant to help work groups figure out who contributes to conversation threads.

You can turn the feature off. In MS Outlook, select the [Tools] menu, then click on [Options...]. When the dialog box appears, highlight the [Preferences] tab, then click on [E-mail Options...]. Find the field that is labeled "Mark my comments with," and uncheck the box to its left. If you'd prefer, you can simply change the manner in which it identifies you. For instance you can have it automatically enter "spaceman" or "Betsy Ross" instead of your name.

This option works only when Outlook is set up to format your messages using html or rich text format, not plain text. So another way to turn off the automatic identification of who wrote each comment is to change to plain text format. You'll find this option in a drop down box on the [Mail Format] tab in that same [Options] dialog box.

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