There were a few good comments on Facebook following my last post.  One from my friend with a middle school aged daughter that perfectly addressed the tricky issue of privacy in a public realm. She said that she keeps passwords for her daughter’s Facebook account, email and cell phone and would only use them if she deemed it necessary for her daughter’s safety or well-being and (and this is key) if she informed her daughter first.  This is not snooping for the sake of “catching” your child doing something bad — it’s more of an “I’m your parent and my job is to take care of you and right now I’m worried about such-and-such” approach. She also made the important distinction between what her daughter says and does in a public forum (i.e. Facebook) and what she writes in her diary or journal, which is her own private world. One is more open to parental oversight than the other. That makes a ton of sense to me and seems to come from a place of respect and trust.

Another friend, the mother of one of Braedan’s classmates and best buds who also owns the famed Dude Diary, commented that she had almost the exact same experience as me: those few hours of feeling like, “Oh my god, when did my child get so old that he has a private life?” as she watched him hover over his book with his arm hiding his pages, followed by the relief in discovering that the Dude Diary does not actually draw out any deep dark secrets.  Her moment of revelation came at the dinner table when her son suddenly spit out his chewed food and said, “Cool.  Now I can write in my diary about when I last spit out my food.” Aaaah, the lovely boy prompts.  My favorite moment came when Braedan showed me his pages and in response to the question What are you thinking about right now? he had written, “I am thinking about writting in this book” (sic).

I guess we’ll save privacy and deep dark secrets for a future date.

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