I won't walk in during my son's video call again | Alun Newman

I seem to have spent the past 15 years warning my family about the dangers of the online world.I’m aware that it’s not ideal to instil a high level of anxiety into children but while these massive billion dollar companies show scant care for online safety, it falls at our feet to terrify this generation with one false move and you’ll never get a job for the rest of your life.
Alun is worried about how many times he is has intruded on a video call unintentionally. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA WireAlun is worried about how many times he is has intruded on a video call unintentionally. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Alun is worried about how many times he is has intruded on a video call unintentionally. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

It worked to some degree with smoking.

Never before have so few young people smoked as the message of near instant death seems to have got through.

Oddly enough, never before in the history of fun have so many young people turned away from excess drinking.

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Fortunately, adults over the age of 50 are picking up the slack.

Anyway, let’s get back to online safety.

To put it simply, you have to make sure kids these days are aware that should they, for reasons that are beyond me and I will never understand, ever post an image online because it’s potentially there forever.

My own children seemed to have towed the party line on this issue (fingers crossed).

However, a new threat has emerged and this is the one I address today.

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It seems nowadays that every phone call has to be face-to-face in the form of Google Chat, Facetime, WhatsApp Face Call, Skype and the list goes on.

There is essentially little wrong with this as it’s tech moving forward, isn’t it?

Somehow I do not believe that.

The issue arises when it’s possible for good people to end up exposed online.

A recent web call that my son was making with a selection of his gaming pals accidentally included my wife.

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She wandered into his bedroom to do the weekly sweep for crockery, which I am sure every parent is aware of.

Yes, she could have had the dressing gown slightly tighter, yes, she could have knocked on the door.

We’re not perfect.

She did however end up as the background saucy entertainment for a handful of teenage boys.

Her constant dipping to pick things up was her unfortunate undoing.

She was furious.

They could be heard laughing even when we were downstairs.

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Last night, adorned in my simple 30 per cent Lycra boxer shorts, I appeared as the background entertainment for my son and his girlfriend as they chatted into the night.

Thankfully she had the good grace so say ‘hello’ but not until I’d strutted around like a stripper at a care home.

I keep asking my clan to please make it clear if they're chatting online.

Their reply is that we need to wear more clothes or have a less avant garde attitude to home fashion.

Or learn a far louder knock.

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For all the doom mongering and fear-inducing chat that we have put our children through.

It turns out that the only ones who may end up as some on-line fodder are the parents.

I wouldn’t mind so much but I really wanted to be in better shape before I made my erotic debut.

Christmas is still weighing heavy on my hips.

Perhaps, inadvertently me and my wife might inspire these young people to stay safe online.

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If not, then at least get in shape and not look so dazed and confused wandering around looking for cereal bowls wearing worn-out underwear.


Some perfume is expensive.

So expensive that even if it’s Christmas the credit card has to be pulled from your hand by the store’s chief negotiator.

Nevertheless, you can’t put a price on seeing the one you love smile with delight (you can and they would probably have bought it anyway).

The multi-million-pound pink potion I purchased for my wife has already been spritzed and enjoyed. Usually that would be the end of it and we can go back to Superdrug.

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But it is with great sadness that the reuse and recycle movement is now causing my wallet to spasm.

A very large, famous and easily accessible department store has started offering a perfume bottle refilling service. No need to have a new (tiny) glass bottle, refill the old one.

For many of us this is a disaster as the gift can keep giving. Now, instead of waiting another year it looks like you are doing your bit to stem the global environmental crisis by refiling rather than rebuying. I am assured that it’s good news as the cost per millimetre can come down from £88 to £69, which has come as a great relief (not). As it was my gift it seems too tight to grumble.

On the flip side, maybe my supermarket will start offering a roll-on deodorant refilling service?

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