Image by Kodamakitty via Flickr
When is enough, enough? Personally, I hate the emails I receive that promise bad luck or prosperity if you forward them on to friends and colleagues. To me, it’s just another form of spam and honestly, my inbox is full enough without dealing with the rubbish in those emails. However, I realize that it’s personal choice and I have asked many people not to forward rubbish like to me, but if others are happy receiving, great!
However, what happens when it is kids receiving this stuff? I mean, seriously, some of the things that are said in these chain emails is upsetting and can be quite dangerous to a childs mindset. As readers of my many blogs will know, I am very passionate about my kids being online, developing and managing their reputations and building their online businesses. I know that there is a risk in allowing them to be so ‘open’, but I also trust them to bring questionable things to my attention. My kids also give me full access to their email accounts and know that I check them regularly. I’m glad I did!
The other day, I was looking through my daughters hotmail account and saw several chain emails from a close friend of hers. One of them had some very disturbing imagery. I asked her if she had read it and she admitted to starting to but stopped when she realised what was in it. I then suggested very strongly, that she request her friends stop sending chain emails to her…. I even helped her draft the request. I had her point out that in Australia (at least), chain mail is illegal and that she really didn’t enjoy the messages. This went to all her friends. What flabbergasted me was the response from the friend who had sent the original message – something like “They wouldn’t make such a dumb law” – I guess that’s the wisdom of a 12 year old and we should employ her now whilst she knows everything. Rhi and I let that go, we don’t care what she believes, as long she stops sending the messages.
More refreshingly though, was that several of her friends took up the message and sent the same request out. They don’t want the rubbish either!
So, the purpose of this post? On Saturday morning, both Rhi and I received a chain mail from the same friend of Rhis (somehow she has me in her address book). Not only did she send it to me, she forwarded it to another 50 or so people. The message seemed simple enough, until I reached the last line which told the readers that if they didn’t have enough people to forward the message to, just go a chat room and choose people at random. My blood ran cold! This is what my daughter is being told to do! Do I believe that she would do it? Nope – do I think others may, yep!
More concerning however, is this friends blatant disregard for Rhi’s request. She really doesn’t seem to care that people just don’t want to get these emails.
So…. in typical annoyed Mother and Charly style fashion, I crafted the following response:
This is Rhiannons Mum. I’m not sure if you realize just how many people you have forwarded the message below to or if you even know who you sent it to. By sending it to me, you have allowed me to respond in person.
To the other recipients on the message – I thought long and hard before including you in this response but I feel that you should all hear this. If you have Rhiannon or I on your contact list, the request below goes to you to. I apologise for the rant, but the fact that several polite requests have been ignored is unacceptable.
<<name>>, I know for a fact that Rhiannon has asked you not to forward messages like this to her. I respectfully request that you do not send them to me either.
I also believe at least one more of your friends has asked you to not send these messages. Is this how you treat your friends requests?
Chain mail is illegal in Australia. Regardless of whether you think this is a dumb law, it is a law and you are breaking it by fowarding these messages. BTW there are lots of dumb laws around – but they are laws regardless.
Secondly, continuing to send email, when you have been asked not to, may breach the Spam laws. You are spamming….. please stop.
Did you realize that things like the last paragraph in the message your forwarded:
“Now, complaining cus u dont have any friends. Well theres an answer 4 everything. It’s simple, just go in a chat room, pick some names and send away!”
Is incredibly stupid. This will breach the Terms Of Service of most chat rooms and get you banned, it is discourteous to the members of the chat room and you have no idea who you are really contacting. By forwarding a message with that instruction in it, you are endorsing it and saying it is “O.K” to do it…. is that the type of reputation you want to develop?
Finally, if you do feel it necessary to forward these messages to your friends who are happy to receive them, then please have the courtesy to remove the addresses from previous forwards. This is for a couple of reasons:
1. They take up room in the email
2. It is a breach of privacy. I DO NOT want my email address plastered all over the internet in messages like this.
As you are using hotmail, it is very easy to set up contact groups that you can forward these messages to – use that ability so that you don’t mistakenly send them to people like me.
All, I really love that you guys use the Internet to communicate, it is absolutely fantastic. BUT!!! Please have a care and be courteous – messages like these are not funny, they are not amusing – they are just a pain. Please think about your forwards before pressing the send key – otherwise they will end up in the inbox of someone like me and you will have to have to listen to my rant.
<<name>>, I think it’s great that you are online – but please, stop sending these messages. BTW – I get copies of all mail sent to Rhiannon, that is part of the agreement we have for her being online, if she breaks the agreement she WILL lose her internet access completely. If you continue to send these types of messages, we will black list you at our mail server and she will not be able to get messages from you at all.
Funnily, I have not had a response. Sure, there are a couple of other drastic measures I can take, like reporting the address to hotmail as a spammer – but we’re not there yet….
Do you know what your kids are receiving in their email? Do you know whether they are forwarding this rubbish to others? Do you now if they’re just choosing random email addresses and sending these messages?
If you are a parent with kids online – please ask them to respect the wishes of their friends and to take care with they are sending from their email addresses!
What are your thoughts? Do you care that your kids could be receiving messages that are disturbing? Do you care that they could be forwarding them? How do you ‘police’ this? Let me know!