I was reading an article this morning about how parents and teens sometimes awkwardly exist together on the social network Facebook. The article was about how certain teens feel very uncomfortable being “friends” with their folks on Facebook. I am imagining that one of the reasons for their discomfort is worry over whether mom or dad might be using the network to spy on them or track their activities and friends.
I think that is a valid worry, at least in some cases. I definitely didn’t join Facebook to look over Uber’s shoulder, but since he has been kind enough to “friend” me and his dad, we probably do find out little tidbits of info about him that we might not know otherwise. But in general, Uber has sort of an open-book personality anyway. When H-T gets on Facebook (OMG, that kid will be 13 in just over a month!!!), I can see him being far more reticent to make me and dad privy to his online dealings. He is just a far more private kiddo.
But the truth is, that the digital age makes us somewhat of an open book to anyone who happens to really want to know about us. I imagine that if I had your full name, your blog name, and possibly a couple other of your online id’s, I could find out some pretty detailed info about each and every one of you. If we are online, we are kind of vulnerable.
So, the question is…do you ever take advantage of that vulnerability to dig deeper into your kids’ online lives? Our internet filter, for instance, has a history feature, that lets me, if I so choose, check up on each and every site my kids have visited. It would take me less than three minutes to scan over their entire catalog of current interests, obsessions, and possible misdeeds. Have I used this feature? Of course I have. And not just to protect them from evil, either. Sometimes, I’m just curious. Nosy, even. I really try to squelch this in myself, but it does come out at times.
So, here is a place for you to confess…no confession box required. Are you a digital spy? Have you looked at your kids IM history? Their text messages? Their web hits? Or have you hit paydirt, and discovered a secret blog they have, or online journal?
You can tell me. I won’t squeal. But I might possibly steal your ideas if they are particularly sneaky…