A few weeks back, I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. I had made a mistake and I needed to correct it. I rushed down to my computer in attempt to fix my error. Before I reveal my faux pas, let me give you some background.
As a parent I am very concerned about my children’s on-line presence. I monitor their usage, the websites they visit, the apps they download, I review their history and I have many discussions about their on-line safety. I also have their devices directly linked to my computer so I can monitor their online activity. They both have a musical.ly account. This is an app that the kids can make and post music videos of themselves. The app allows them to follow and add friends and you can ‘heart’ your favourite videos. We have had many discussions about what is appropriate to post and I review each musical.ly video before they are posted. It’s amazing to find ‘identifiers’ that are overlooked in each video. I have seen my son’s name, wearing a team shirt that explicitly states the city we live in, license plate numbers, our street sign, and many more. Each time I find an identifier, I review with them why this is not acceptable to post and the video needs to be re-done. This, as you can imagine, causes many tears and frustration “You are so mean!”, “Do you know how long it took me to get this video?”, “Why can’t I post it, it goes by so fast no one will be able to see that”.
So here’s my confession, I am a hypocrite. Our very first post was an introduction and despite Prof. Stephens warning that our blogs would be accessible on the internet I went ahead and told the world that I have two children…. and I gave their names…. and I posted a picture of them…. and if that wasn’t bad enough, I also told everyone where I live. Yep, I didn’t follow my own rules “Do as I say not what I do”. I have no defence, seriously, I was just not thinking. I have gone back and revised my introduction by eliminating the identifying information (I left the picture), but it’s probably too late (once on the internet always on the internet). So there you have it, how easy it is to share too much, how easy it can be done.
After reviewing the PEW research it is comforting to know that many parents are like me, concerned about their children’s safety and take proactive steps to ensure their children understand privacy and the dangers of revealing too much in a public form. It is reassuring because my children are very quick to show me what their friends can post on the internet. Now I can direct them to Monica Anderson’s article and state my case: I am not “the most unfair parent in the whole world”. But who is checking up on me…..?
- Anderson, M. (2016). Parents, teens and digital monitoring.