Sunday, May 27, 2007

Monitoring MySpace

Technology has created many new and varied challenges for parents. Not only do I have to be aware of where my children are, who they're with and what they are doing... Now I have to know who they're texting, IMing, and e-mailing... I have to know what their MySpace layouts look like, what songs and videos are posted, who is on their friends list, and what comments are being posted. I guess I can't really cast aspersions since I have become a blogger in this ripe, new and different age of technology. But, gosh, it is making my life harder and more interesting.

Honestly, I didn't want to monitor it. You see, I TRUST my children. They are relatively good kids. And, I had the belief that giving them a firm foundation with a solid spiritual upbringing would prevent any weird shenanigans from occurring. Then entered Mr. X with tales (and a printed account) of my lovely, innocent Sarah trashing his daughter on MySpace. Yikes. This was not a good moment in the life of Sarah. She lost computer for months as a result of that episode.
Hence, the MySpace monitoring... Now, my husband and I both have MySpace accounts. Christy's MySpace can be accessed here. Being teachers, we have a lot of students past and present who have added us to their list of friends. This has inadvertently given me full access to a whole host of information that I'm not sure I wanted to know in the first place. It is an education and eye-opener with regard to the sub-culture of teens. They are cussing. They are quarreling. They are posting funny jokes and videos. They are proclaiming their undying, everlasting love for one another. They are chain-mailing. They are threatening to fight one another. They are writing poetry. They are posting art. They are posting tons of photographs of themselves and each other. They are thinking about suicide. They are having sex and writing about it. They are talking about church and querying about God and the meaning of life. They are doing drugs and drinking. It's all there.
I have friends and colleagues who believe MySpace is going to be the downfall of man. But, perhaps it is offering a creative outlet for kids to just be themselves... I would further offer that the "themselves" changes from moment to moment. Because I can guarantee that while Sarah might think and ugly thought about someone, and might even say an ugly thought about someone, she will not post an ugly thought about someone. After the Mr. X in the living room incident, we were even able to have a discussion about the law of attraction. "Be careful about the words and the energy you are putting out into the Universe because it will come back to you a hundred-fold."

Dave has had an opportunity to speak to a student who posted a poem about suicide. Was the student really contemplating taking his own life? I don't really know. But, he found out that an adult in his life cared about him.
Kids are seeking guidance. I used to think they were seeking parental guidance... That deep-down in their sub-conscious minds they truly wanted some adult authority figure to offer boundaries. Now, I know they are just seeking guidance in trying to figure out who they are. Unfortunately, they will take that guidance wherever and however they can get it. So, it's about me as a parent making a decision. What type of guidance do I want provided for children? Do I want the free-for-all that is available on the Internet? Or, do I at least want to be able to say, "Yes, that's there, but have you considered this?" I've learned that kids will listen if they know that an adult cares.
If you have kids, I would invite you to join the MySpace revolution. Call me if you need help "pimping your page."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cadet Ball

Last night was one of those, "Oh my gosh! This is an honest-to-goodness lifetime moment." Dan was in a beautiful dress, and a tall handsome boy showed up in my diningroom with a corsage. They were going to the Cadet ball. Enjoy the photos!