Uploading new morals. Or Ctr Alt Delete.

Before you boot up that ancient piece of hardware, can you say 'public vivisection'?

I’VE been struggling with my conscience lately and it has affected my blogging significantly.

You see, I’ve been chewing over the moral dilemma of online social networks and public spaces such as the page you’re on right now.

I made a small pact with myself to not divulge certain information in this forum, because some things need to be kept private. Not me personally, I’m happy to share with the world that I have a grey hair in my left eyebrow and most days I consider the consequences of plucking it.

But when it comes to my children, that’s a different matter. There are things they don’t need shared with the world. And I thought I had been very good about it.

No names, no debilitatingly embarassing bath-time tales… However, I heard myself sharing the same, less than idyllic story of one child’s behaviour over and over again to various friends and relatives during the past week.

Was this any better than putting it online? Was it even worse? After all, said child was sitting within earshot of each conversation – reliving their social faux pas like it was Groundhog Day.

Or is it just part of the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality? That aunts and uncles are privy to stories that prompt praise or condemnation, so the child develops a rounded sense of belonging and of what is right and wrong?

I have no answer. But discipline was dealt so perhaps it was  unfair for the dramatic scene to be rehashed over and over. And I’ve made a decision that, should such an occasion arise again, it will be relayed to Dad alone. Any other conversations I have regarding said situation (because talking helps me process the unexpected) will have to be (ready for the irony?) online – where I can type it silently and where it can be read by a select few.

I have no real specific rules when it comes to online socialising but I believe I’m adequately cautious. I say a lot, but there’s a lot I don’t say too. And there’s a lot I make up (just kidding, but see how I exaggerated for effect there?) There’s not been any negative effect of all this online sharing.

Until someone shared something with me, with everyone, recently that shocked me. They joined a group called ‘I Like Sex’. She’s a young friend, a very young friend… a young “not even legal” friend. While I’m pretty sure this was just for show, I wondered about how different it is for children growing up today.

The crap I used to share with friends on the playground would not be the same crap I shared at the dinner table with my family. From an early age, we knew how to compartmentalise certain facets of ourselves and our lives.

But even that is a thing of the past. If you share it on Facebook, it goes to everyone. Is this promoting a generation of vastly open, defiantly confrontational youngsters? After all, a child making a statement such as that in a public setting would have to defend her motives, wouldn’t she?

Well, as it turns out, no-one has commented and certainly no-one has “liked” it. I would ask her about it, but frankly, it’s not my business and I respect her privacy, even if she doesn’t.

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