Monday, October 31, 2005

Blogging Teens - What's a Parent to Do?

Apparently other parents are not having as much fun blogging with their children as we are. USA Today reports that some parents are finding the contents of their children's blogs troubling. Here's what one psychologist had to say,

"I've had parents come to me who've read their kid's blog and see scary things and now they don't know what to do with the information," says psychologist Susan Bartell. "They say, 'My kid's writing about the s*x she's having, writing about all the parties she's going to. But I'm not supposed to know this. ... How do I handle this without completely betraying their trust?' "
What's sad about this parent's comment is that they don't realize that trust has already been broken. Apparently, according to the experts we are also supposed to ask our children before we read their blogs. How dumb is that? According to a companion article, here's what one teen had to say,
"I feel like family and close friends shouldn't be reading my diary in secret," she says. They have an obligation to tell me. I would do the same for them. I don't snoop on their journals without telling them."
So a complete stranger half way around the world can read what you doing and thinking but a parent has an obligation to ask for permission? Oh, please she can't be serious.

This is not an isolated problem with only non-believing teens. I have been to the sites of many "Christian teens" and they make me blush just as badly or cringe in total disbelief.

"Out of the abundance of the heart the blog speaks."

Apparently, the schools are trying to figure out how to handle teen bloggers as well. A private Catholic school in New Jersey has banned personal blogs by their students or risk a suspension. The school is worried about cyberpredators lurking on the blogs of the students.

By the way, the only time I worry about the content of my children's blog is when one of them considers writing about what actually goes on around SpunkyHomeschool. Now that is cause for worry!

As an addendum: There are no easy answers to how to handle this situation. But once I realized the seriousness of the situation I would go to my child. Not to confront them but to confess that I played a part in their actions. I would take responsibility for my failure to train them and build a relationship of trust with them. Then I would work diligently to rebuild the relationship into one of MUTUAL trust. This would probably require a personal sacrifice of my time an a commitment to my child. But I believe that is the only thing that will help in the long run.

No comments: