There was an article in the local paper about sites like Xanga, MySpace, and LiveJournal (all the teenage infested blog arenas). It was about how the parents of teenagers have begun reading their children and their children’s friend’s blogs as ways of keeping tabs on them. Some of the teens have been grounded because of what they have written on their sites, others have been forced to shut down their sites because their parents didn’t approve of what they were discussing so freely.
Let me start by saying – I’m not a parent. I’m an aunt to an eleven year old niece – that I couldn’t possibly care more about, or worry more about, but all the same, I’m not a parent. However, I hang out with my niece and her friends, I work with girls through a volunteer organization, and I’m hopefully soon going to be working with girls at my church. Thus, while I’m not a parent, yet, I still have a heart/a passion/a calling/a whatever you want to name it/ for the middle school thru high school age group of young girls today.
I see what I dealt with, and now I see my niece and these other girls going up against all of these things that are SO BIG. I was lucky. I had a mother that never judged, never condemned me for anything I said, allowed an open forum in my house. We talked. We talked constantly – about everything. I never felt like I was being told "no," but rather I was being told that I had a choice. I was taught right and wrong, cause and effect, and I knew that even if I made the wrong choice my mom would be there for me. I think that is important.
As I read the article it was funny to see how mad these girls were that their parents were reading their blogs. Some of them noted that their "life is so over." I think that there has been such a breakdown of communication between parents and children – not all, but on average. There is a statistic somewhere that says that on average a child spends something like less than fifteen minutes alone talking with an adult a day. That is not good. Teens are willing to share intimate and sometimes disturbing information about themselves with the millions on the internet, yet they aren’t willing to sit down and talk with their parents openly and honestly. That goes two ways though. Parents need to be open minded, less judgmental, and more willing to discuss things with their teens in a way that doesn’t come off like a lecture.
Of course, I’m not a parent. I’m just a twenty-two year old girl, but my mom never lectured me. I never did drugs. I never drank. I made responsible decisions in my life, not because I was scared I would get in trouble, but because I wanted to. I wanted to do what was right. I want to make my mom proud. I wanted to make myself proud. I wanted to years later be able to look back at my life and not regret the decisions I had made.
As far as the article goes I’m on the parent’s side. I think that if you are putting yourself out there for all to see, using your real name, posting photos of yourself (and some of the photos they post – their parents should know about), then you shouldn’t be surprised if someone you know finds you. It’s not like a locked diary you hide somewhere in your room. It’s in public domain – published. If that is what it takes to open up the lines of communication so be it, but it shouldn’t cut them off.