Thursday, April 26, 2007

How Much Privacy?

Regarding reading her teen's online journals and posts, here's what one mom says:

This is definitely an issue that we deal with at our house! It reminds we that I am definitely in a different generation - dare I say "old fashioned". I think my husband and I don't understand the value of posting all kinds of personal information for strangers to read. Back in the day, we remember actually WRITING a note on a piece of a paper, and heaven forbid it was actually read by someone other than the intended recipient!

Our philosophy is that online information is public. It resides in the public domain and in fact, our daughter is putting it out there for the public. Consequently, she must be prepared for ALL of the public to read it - including her family members (we have internet savvy grandparents, too). Putting a privacy blocker doesn't make something "private" only available to certain eyes. Even these websites can be hacked into. Our rules are as follows, if it is posted online I will read it. If it is posted through our home computer, be prepared to share your password with me and understand their might be a key stroke log provided to me (which would
detail any and all instant message conversations, history of internet usage, etc.) I read and explore the site frequently. It is quite eye opening. I am shocked by not only things my daughter has posted, but her friends, too.
While I wouldn't dare post the kinds of things my daughter and her friends do, my reading these sites has lead us to many important discussions - what do people think of you when you post certain things? How can you communicate appropriately and effectively? Protecting her privacy and allowing her to self edit her postings making sure that nothing identifying (name, address,
school etc) is included has also helped her understand the importance of protecting herself.

I would recommend that you sit with your daughter, ask her to show you how to use myspace, set up your own (that's what I did) and use it as a learning experience. She might like that she is teaching you something. She'll be the expert. Understand her objectives and use the time to discuss your house rules about postings, instant messaging, etc. If your daughter is embarrassed or nervous for you to read her postings, perhaps she shouldn't be posting! Everyone has private thoughts and needs to get them out - on the phone, hanging with friends, at sleep overs, and even in a paper journal!
There are so many places that privacy can be enjoyed, but the internet is not one of them!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Beth thinks she should have more freedom than she has. Mostly it sounds like she wants to be free to do whatever she wants to do, and she doesn't feel that we have the right to ask her where she's going to be and who she's going to be with. I went looking for some information on dealing with teenagers because I really don't know how much freedom she should have. So far she hasn't shown that she deserves more freedom. Every time she does get to do something, she has to push the issue and wants more. It seems nothing is ever good enough. Then if she doesn't agree with something we tell her, she'll go ahead and do it anyway - and then it's all our fault because we shouldn't have told her no in the first place. When she gets in trouble, she gets upset with us and doesn't seem to understand she did anything wrong. If there were no rules, then she wouldn't be able to break them, and then she'd never get in trouble. At least that seems to be her logic.

Some online resources on raising teenagers that I want to check out more:

Saturday, April 21, 2007


We got the kids' report cards last week. Beth is doing much better this year - only because she has to get a B average to keep her driving privileges. It's very important because her insurance costs are 1/3 cheaper when we get the good student discount. Other than the desire she has to drive, she has no motivation to get or maintain good grades. It's really sad because she was a very good student up until 8th grade. Then suddenly she stopped caring or trying. No matter what we say to her she just doesn't see any need to do well in school. She doesn't see how this will translate into real life and how what she does now will either open up or limit her possibilities in the future. I don't remember ever thinking about the future when I was in school. It didn't matter why I was learning this stuff or doing this work. The fact was that I was doing it now and I was going to do the best possible job while doing it. Her lack of caring just makes no sense to me.

Beth didn't quite make her B average for the quarter, but has to get there by the semester grade. The really puzzling part is that we got the results from the 10th grade standardized tests they took in November. She scored in the Advanced level in one subject area and in the Proficient level, but just a few points away from Advanced, in several other subjects. Obviously the girl is smart. When we asked her about the differences here, her explanation was that the questions on the test were really easy. *shaking my head*

I think we would be ok with her grades if we knew that was the best she could do - even at the expense of losing the good student discount for insurance. However, knowing that she can do better but chooses not to is really hard to deal with. All her teachers are the same way. They know she can do better and expect more from her than she is giving. If she honestly could not do better, that would be different.