A film I *hope* won’t have much impact

By Anne Collier

Brace yourselves, people. “Trust” is coming to a theater near you. As the first comment under the trailer in YouTube put it, “To Catch a Predator The Movie?” I’ve only seen the trailer of David Schwimmer’s film, but I’ve been watching the blogosphere about it since last fall, frankly in a little bit of denial, because it worries me greatly. I didn’t even want to draw to it the teeny bit of attention this blog might represent because I know how compelling actors such as Clive Owen and Catherine Keener can make things. Why? Because I so don’t want this society to revisit the long-lasting, destructive “perfect [predator panic] storm of 2006 that was and is the OPPOSITE of how we need to address youth risk online: inform and empower, not spread fear (see this). I so hope the public discussion about online youth has matured beyond panic, which causes paralysis and overreaction, which in turns shuts down parent-child communication at a time when it’s greatly needed. I’m not optimistic enough to believe this film will only raise awareness of the emotional-vulnerability factors that can lead a child into seeking support and validation from strangers and not just reinforce parents’ most visceral fears. I hope we haven’t taken one step forward only to find a compelling, well-acted film taking us two steps back.

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