When she was younger I told my daughter I’d never read her diary unless she was in jail or at the hospital having nearly died from drugs or suicide attempt. I realize now that she doesn’t have a diary. She doesn’t need one because she has an iPod touch and she changes her password often.
I can’t imagine what I would have done at her age if I had that much power to play with. I did have a diary, and looking back on it now I’m only willing to believe my mother never read it because she never put me in therapy. But we were really poor, so maybe she did read it and just crossed her fingers in hope that I would be okay one day.
When I was a teen I stayed up late talking on the phone with my friends until 4am while my mother, in the same room, slept like the dead. My daughter with her own room and able to text instead of talk could do it with almost no risk. She has a parent protected email and I gave her rules and warnings about what she can post, but lord knows what she might be doing on that thing. She added one of my friends to her Instagram account (of her own free will), so at least I have one person who can let me know what she’s doing.
Even if I had the password, and I was burning with curiosity, I wouldn’t go through her iPod like you see in TV parents going through their kids diaries. She needs her space. As scary as that might be, I do remember that much from when I was young. But I hold to my original caveat, if her very life is in danger, then yeah I will. Unfortunately, I don’t have the password. And when I do have it, she just changes it. Maybe a compromise? I can tell her to hide the iPod in her room so she’ll know if I went looking for it.
There’s all these teens on tumblr, instagram and with YouTube channels and the openness they have with the public just scares me. She loves watching them so I tell her why what they are doing scares me. And why if I were a parent I wouldn’t be letting my child have a YouTube channel that amounts to a public video diary. 20 years from now when these kids are out looking for jobs the employers are going to google their names and find all of this. God help them if they made any controversial statements. All for the stupidity of youth. I’m not ragging, I said pretty stupid things at 16 and I’m so happy the internet wasn’t really a thing back then.
I mean, I had my own secrets back then. I have a very clear memory of where I used to hide my porn. And maybe I’m wrong and in 20 yrs these teens won’t have trouble finding jobs because everyone in that generation will have internet blemishes and they’ll be very understanding of everyone else’s. Maybe. I just hope she heeds my words of warning. I might have been in danger of my mother invading my privacy as a teen, but here and now, she’s in danger of the whole world invading hers.
I realize the irony of saying that, as I sit here and type my blog, so let me say this… I still have a physical diary I unload into sometimes. And even then I censor myself. Because once you let it out, that’s it.