Is It a Violation of Privacy?

Sometimes, like right now, I question whether I should write a post or not.  My reasons vary.  Recently I dropped an "F-bomb" in my bikini wax post and I worried it would offend the Internet.  (You know … the Internet with all the porn on it?  That Internet!)  I couldn't think of a more adequate word to use in that post, however, so I didn't edit the word out.  I often decide against posts that mention my kids because they are teens.  It is hard enough to be a teen without having their lives written about and published for all eternity on the world-wide-web.  I think of it as my Writing Filter … what I feel comfortable sharing with the world, and what I do not.  I try to do better with my Writing Filter than I do with my Mouth Filter. 

In reality, I wasn't born with the best Mouth Filter.  You know … the filter between the brain and mouth that keeps you from blurting out things when all humanity would be better off if you kept your mouth shut?  I don't have a very good filter.  (For those of you who know me personally, please stop nodding your head in agreement!)  The thought in my brain is often out of my mouth without hesitation.  The positive aspect of this is people always know where they stand with me.  I love my friends for life, but if they piss me off they know it.  I do think that this characteristic will keep me ulcer free.  In addition, I also freely tell the people I care about that I do indeed adore them … and I mean it.  One thing I am not, is fake.  You will never hear me implying I like or care about someone if I don't. 

So it is with a little trepidation that I make a confession today.  You, Internet, may condemn me for it.  I may have, possibly, violated my two boy's privacy by reading what friends wrote in their yearbooks.  Some of you who are parents will be thinking, "What's wrong with that?"  Others of you will be ashamed of me for not respecting their privacy.  Both boys said I could look at their yearbooks, but did they expect me to read what their friends wrote?  I don't think so.  Would they want me writing about it? 

The most difficult part was reading RC's.  He is 17, has just finished his Junior year of high school, and he is quite social.  I held my breath as I read the full page inscription from a girl he has dated frequently.  She was flirty, she told him to have "fun, but not too much fun" without her while she is traveling this summer.  She added how happy she is now that they've done "everything" together.  And everything was in quotes.  "Dear God," I prayed,  "Please let her not end up pregnant!"  Did she mean everything when she wrote "everything"?  Maybe she meant some things when she wrote "everything"?  (Head-in-Sand-Head-in-Sand-Head-in-Sand!!)   

More worrisome was the note written by a girl RC has not dated.  She went on and on saying how "hot" she thinks he is, she "loves his muscles", he "is so funny", and blah, blah, blah.  And then she wrote … "I really hope someday I'll get to mate with you – I mean, date you."  Oh … My … God!!  I wish I could ask her parents, "Do you have any idea what your 16 year old daughter is saying to 17 year old boys … who, by the way, can think of nothing other than sex 24 hours per day?"  

I love men.  I really do.  Have I ever said to one, "I'd love to mate with you someday?"  No, I have not.  What do you think, Internet?  Do you think most men would turn down an invitation at "mating"?  How about a 17 year old boy?  How do I, as a mom, teach my hormonal son to turn down offers like that? 

Thank goodness I read PR's yearbook second.  Having just completed 7th grade, his yearbook inscriptions were much more innocent.  The most touching note was written by a male classmate.  He is a boy PR played Little League baseball with last year.  He wrote, "PR, you are the best baseball player I have ever met in my entire life!!" 

Sigh … how I cherish the innocence and wish it could last!

24 Responses to “Is It a Violation of Privacy?”

  1. jo

    Oh, I know this dilemma we face as parents of teens all toooooo well! The parents I consider “good” parents of teens do some “investigative work” from time to time, so we know where kids are in life. I think we all expect that we’re going to find something in regards to sex or drinking. If they find out we violated their privacy,they might shut down completely and rebel. It’s the bad stuff that we’re looking for….like would if the yearbook entry made a remark about meth or needles or crack or dealing or stealing or prenancy or suicide…then we must intervene. It’s such a delicate balance.
    I have made it a point to do some very thorough “cleaning” of my kids’ bedrooms once or twice a year….you know…looking under mattresses, opening boxes, checking out the bottom of the drawers, accidentally looking inside the pocket of a purse, reading some text messages, checking out Facebook or My Space etc. I must say that I did this only if I had some reasonable amount of suspicion that there was a problem. Kids have so much access to everything and technology allows others to have such free access to our kids! I checked out My Space and found that KO was posting way, way too much identifying information….we went round and round about that and finally it sunk in that some sicko could find her if he/she wanted to. I have never regretted my periodic nosiness. When I suspected KO was smoking I found the pack in her purse and confronted her. She stopped smoking, thank goodness. Then there was the time I thought she was drinking and I found two bottles of booze hidden in her room.
    Especially for us mothers, we take all this information and store it in our hard drives that we have in our brains for each kid. I wouldn’t say anything to her about the text message I read to BF…”can’t wait to see you baby…feels so good when I’m laying in bed with you” (OMG)….but I did make very sure that she was not missing pills, had the talk again about condoms and STD’s and I responded differently when she said she wanted to go to his house….”why don’t you invite him over here”.

  2. jo

    Oh, I know this dilemma we face as parents of teens all toooooo well! The parents I consider “good” parents of teens do some “investigative work” from time to time, so we know where kids are in life. I think we all expect that we’re going to find something in regards to sex or drinking. If they find out we violated their privacy,they might shut down completely and rebel. It’s the bad stuff that we’re looking for….like would if the yearbook entry made a remark about meth or needles or crack or dealing or stealing or prenancy or suicide…then we must intervene. It’s such a delicate balance.
    I have made it a point to do some very thorough “cleaning” of my kids’ bedrooms once or twice a year….you know…looking under mattresses, opening boxes, checking out the bottom of the drawers, accidentally looking inside the pocket of a purse, reading some text messages, checking out Facebook or My Space etc. I must say that I did this only if I had some reasonable amount of suspicion that there was a problem. Kids have so much access to everything and technology allows others to have such free access to our kids! I checked out My Space and found that KO was posting way, way too much identifying information….we went round and round about that and finally it sunk in that some sicko could find her if he/she wanted to. I have never regretted my periodic nosiness. When I suspected KO was smoking I found the pack in her purse and confronted her. She stopped smoking, thank goodness. Then there was the time I thought she was drinking and I found two bottles of booze hidden in her room.
    Especially for us mothers, we take all this information and store it in our hard drives that we have in our brains for each kid. I wouldn’t say anything to her about the text message I read to BF…”can’t wait to see you baby…feels so good when I’m laying in bed with you” (OMG)….but I did make very sure that she was not missing pills, had the talk again about condoms and STD’s and I responded differently when she said she wanted to go to his house….”why don’t you invite him over here”.

  3. jo

    Oh, I know this dilemma we face as parents of teens all toooooo well! The parents I consider “good” parents of teens do some “investigative work” from time to time, so we know where kids are in life. I think we all expect that we’re going to find something in regards to sex or drinking. If they find out we violated their privacy,they might shut down completely and rebel. It’s the bad stuff that we’re looking for….like would if the yearbook entry made a remark about meth or needles or crack or dealing or stealing or prenancy or suicide…then we must intervene. It’s such a delicate balance.
    I have made it a point to do some very thorough “cleaning” of my kids’ bedrooms once or twice a year….you know…looking under mattresses, opening boxes, checking out the bottom of the drawers, accidentally looking inside the pocket of a purse, reading some text messages, checking out Facebook or My Space etc. I must say that I did this only if I had some reasonable amount of suspicion that there was a problem. Kids have so much access to everything and technology allows others to have such free access to our kids! I checked out My Space and found that KO was posting way, way too much identifying information….we went round and round about that and finally it sunk in that some sicko could find her if he/she wanted to. I have never regretted my periodic nosiness. When I suspected KO was smoking I found the pack in her purse and confronted her. She stopped smoking, thank goodness. Then there was the time I thought she was drinking and I found two bottles of booze hidden in her room.
    Especially for us mothers, we take all this information and store it in our hard drives that we have in our brains for each kid. I wouldn’t say anything to her about the text message I read to BF…”can’t wait to see you baby…feels so good when I’m laying in bed with you” (OMG)….but I did make very sure that she was not missing pills, had the talk again about condoms and STD’s and I responded differently when she said she wanted to go to his house….”why don’t you invite him over here”.

  4. EricaB

    I am trying to figure out a way to get to my son’s yearbook as I write this…
    As a parent you know that your kids are probably having sex…especially when they are involved in “serious” relationships. It is just not anything you EVER want to know…at least not anything I ever want to know. And once you know you regret that you ever did…ugh!

  5. EricaB

    I am trying to figure out a way to get to my son’s yearbook as I write this…
    As a parent you know that your kids are probably having sex…especially when they are involved in “serious” relationships. It is just not anything you EVER want to know…at least not anything I ever want to know. And once you know you regret that you ever did…ugh!

  6. EricaB

    I am trying to figure out a way to get to my son’s yearbook as I write this…
    As a parent you know that your kids are probably having sex…especially when they are involved in “serious” relationships. It is just not anything you EVER want to know…at least not anything I ever want to know. And once you know you regret that you ever did…ugh!

  7. Duchess

    Oh dear. Now I am worrying about what kinds of things my 16 year old daughter writes in boys’ books… My older kids let me be their facebook “friends” (which is pretty much how I keep up with what they are up to: noticed 24 year old daughter’s page recently has “in a relationship with…” added — she’s in Uganda working with British version of the Peace Corps so it isn’t so easy to keep track). But youngest says no way I can be her friend… BTW if your sons said you could look at your yearbook I am pretty sure they assumed you would read the comments too.

  8. Duchess

    Oh dear. Now I am worrying about what kinds of things my 16 year old daughter writes in boys’ books… My older kids let me be their facebook “friends” (which is pretty much how I keep up with what they are up to: noticed 24 year old daughter’s page recently has “in a relationship with…” added — she’s in Uganda working with British version of the Peace Corps so it isn’t so easy to keep track). But youngest says no way I can be her friend… BTW if your sons said you could look at your yearbook I am pretty sure they assumed you would read the comments too.

  9. Duchess

    Oh dear. Now I am worrying about what kinds of things my 16 year old daughter writes in boys’ books… My older kids let me be their facebook “friends” (which is pretty much how I keep up with what they are up to: noticed 24 year old daughter’s page recently has “in a relationship with…” added — she’s in Uganda working with British version of the Peace Corps so it isn’t so easy to keep track). But youngest says no way I can be her friend… BTW if your sons said you could look at your yearbook I am pretty sure they assumed you would read the comments too.

  10. high school teach

    As a high school teacher, I hear WAY more than I want to everyday–and they aren’t even my kids. (Well, technically, at least) If you had permission to read them, I think they should expect that the comments should be read. Trust me, from some of the things that I’ve seen, you are better off knowing and being able to talk to them before something crazy happens. I’m all for an informed parent.

  11. high school teach

    As a high school teacher, I hear WAY more than I want to everyday–and they aren’t even my kids. (Well, technically, at least) If you had permission to read them, I think they should expect that the comments should be read. Trust me, from some of the things that I’ve seen, you are better off knowing and being able to talk to them before something crazy happens. I’m all for an informed parent.

  12. high school teach

    As a high school teacher, I hear WAY more than I want to everyday–and they aren’t even my kids. (Well, technically, at least) If you had permission to read them, I think they should expect that the comments should be read. Trust me, from some of the things that I’ve seen, you are better off knowing and being able to talk to them before something crazy happens. I’m all for an informed parent.

  13. jo

    Just like high school teacher, I’m beginning to think I’ve seen and heard more than enough. As a health care provider in family practice I ask many questions, especially when I talk to teens. They have (over)educated me, and nothing really surprises me anymore. It amazes me how many parents turn and look the other way. It didn’t hurt to share horror stories from work with my own kids, too.

  14. jo

    Just like high school teacher, I’m beginning to think I’ve seen and heard more than enough. As a health care provider in family practice I ask many questions, especially when I talk to teens. They have (over)educated me, and nothing really surprises me anymore. It amazes me how many parents turn and look the other way. It didn’t hurt to share horror stories from work with my own kids, too.

  15. jo

    Just like high school teacher, I’m beginning to think I’ve seen and heard more than enough. As a health care provider in family practice I ask many questions, especially when I talk to teens. They have (over)educated me, and nothing really surprises me anymore. It amazes me how many parents turn and look the other way. It didn’t hurt to share horror stories from work with my own kids, too.

  16. alntv

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m never going to let my kids grow up…EVER!

  17. alntv

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m never going to let my kids grow up…EVER!

  18. alntv

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m never going to let my kids grow up…EVER!

  19. beth

    oh, I hear you on this one !! Those damn teenagers !! My youngest is 16 and they all scare me to death. I recently read some text messages on my son’s phone….and OHHH, did I get in trouble. What did he expect though ?? He left his phone laying out…and since I pay the bills and feed him….well, I thought, why not !!!
    Needless to say, I probably won’t be doing that again anytime soon !
    But if he told me I could read his yearbook…I’d do exactly what you did….and what is it with those damn teenage girls ?
    beth
    http://www.moredoors.blogspot.com

  20. beth

    oh, I hear you on this one !! Those damn teenagers !! My youngest is 16 and they all scare me to death. I recently read some text messages on my son’s phone….and OHHH, did I get in trouble. What did he expect though ?? He left his phone laying out…and since I pay the bills and feed him….well, I thought, why not !!!
    Needless to say, I probably won’t be doing that again anytime soon !
    But if he told me I could read his yearbook…I’d do exactly what you did….and what is it with those damn teenage girls ?
    beth
    http://www.moredoors.blogspot.com

  21. beth

    oh, I hear you on this one !! Those damn teenagers !! My youngest is 16 and they all scare me to death. I recently read some text messages on my son’s phone….and OHHH, did I get in trouble. What did he expect though ?? He left his phone laying out…and since I pay the bills and feed him….well, I thought, why not !!!
    Needless to say, I probably won’t be doing that again anytime soon !
    But if he told me I could read his yearbook…I’d do exactly what you did….and what is it with those damn teenage girls ?
    beth
    http://www.moredoors.blogspot.com

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