The mother bear lumbers across my backyard around 7:00 pm. She and her three chubby cubs begin to make a dinner of the pears they find below the garden. I can’t resist watching from the window of the screened-in porch. The cubs romp through the garden, chasing each other like a small litter of puppies. Mother bear repeatedly shakes the tree and pears shower down.
After a while, gazing out a screened window is not enough for me. I must get pictures. I creep out the back door and lean against the house, still just watching. The mother bear looks up between bites and watches me for a moment before she goes back to eating.
But the reverie suddenly ends when I raise my camera to my face. Before I can even focus, I hear a snort, snort, snort from the mama. As I look through my viewfinder, I see that I am clearly on her radar. At the sound of her snort, the three black cubs scurry up the nearest tall tree. The snort is her signal to them that danger is present.
With the cubs safe, Mama bear is ready to take on the threat..ME!!! As she stares me down, she takes a step in my direction. Forget those pictures. I am out of here! As soon as I get inside, she goes back to eating.
I have had repeated encounters with mother bears and cubs on my mountain property. What amazes me is that mother bears allow the cubs quite a lot of freedom, but seem to always be aware of what is happening around their offspring. Black bears are not especially aggressive, but if true danger is sensed, a mom bear will stand ready to defend her cubs.
Authentic mothering…that is what I think mama bears represent. Aware of danger, and ready to defend, but not overly reactive. To be that kind of mother, one must be conscious of the dangers that exist.
My purpose in writing this post is to inform you of a threat to children that you may not know about.
My daughter works for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). She was involved in the development of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that deals with the subject of sextortion, a relatively new form of online sexual exploitation.
Taken from the NCMEC website: “PSA takes a look at “Sextortion” and dangers of online enticement.
In this series of PSAs made in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, you’ll see how a teen was blackmailed into sending more and more explicit images and video to someone online who she thought she knew.”
In the words of my daughter: “Please take a moment to watch, and share with your children and your friends who have children. It is so important to engage in these conversations and know what your child is doing online.
Sextortion is a very real crime with tragic outcomes. Girls and boys can both be victims, and a recent study done by #NCMEC found some to be as young as 8 years old.
Learn more at http://www.missingkids.org/Sextortion“
Please, please, please watch this video and raise your awareness of what crafty predators are doing in cyberspace.
If you or your child owns a computer, cell phone or tablet, OR if your child’s friends own computers, tablets or cell phones, then the danger is there.
The PSA video is done in such a way that watching it with your preteen or teen could easily lead to an important conversation that may save your child from years of guilt and pain.
In the planning stages, NCMEC and the US Department of Justice worked to develop an informative and realistic video that could be shown to parents and children.
My daughter relayed to me that the project was specifically designed to draw the attention of mothers because mothers would be most likely to respond and share the information on social media.
“Mother Bears” informing other “Mother Bears” of a very real danger!
Authentic mothering…deeply understanding the landscape of your child’s life and reacting accordingly.
Gauge for yourself and pass it on.