In our family we have three lap tops, one desk top, four cell phones, three of which have internet and messages access. We are like millions of families worldwide. The age of serious technology. Internet, e-mails, facebook, beebo, blogging, skype, linked-in…… we have millions of people at our finger tips.
The world is a smaller, contact with friends and family is frequent with all the above. When I moved 7,000 miles away from my life in Wales, I wasn’t waved off on a steamer to the other side of the world, never to return for 20 years. I return almost annually and we have visitors often. The world has shrunk immensely.
Regularly, in our living room, we can all be sitting here in each other’s company, physically, but in conversation with people via cyber space. Me for example typing this, Big M on skype with her friend, Mr H on his blackberry with a colleague and Little M watching U tube. I’m a novice with computer speak but the girls, wow, where and how they get their information to do this that and the other and give me instructions, dragging their old fashioned mother to the new age is a mystery. I try with great patience to explain things to my parents on how things work, my girls must feel the same, things move at such a pace.
It frightens me how out of touch I can be with their lives. When I was a teenager (back in the day) parents had far more ‘control’ on what was going on, who we spoke to and even what we watched on TV. When we left school for the day and waved our friends goodbye, more often than not that would be the last contact with them until the next day. We had one phone in our house and if we were we to call anyone for a chat or help with homework you could often hear my father shouting from the other room, “Get off the phone, somebody may be trying to call”, (I’m sure that there weren’t hoards of people trying to get through, we were hardly mission control).
Today, my girls can chat via skype, text, call, e-mail and even facebook message with their friends after school. Probably there is more conversation via technology than in person. They may look industrious typing away ‘doing homework’, unless I’m physically sitting there with them the whole time, how would I know?!
My 17 year old is on the brink of adulthood, monitoring her coming and goings, TV downloads etc is long gone. Her messages with her friends about the stages of growing up and the exploration into adulthood is private on her facebook message/ e-mail . I hope I have guided her correctly so that she can explore life further, confidently, more independently, but sensibly. This goes for computer communication, as there seems so much of it. I have stressed to both M’s never to forget that whatever is typed and sent is THERE forever, deleted or not. If you don’t want it to one day to come back and haunt you , don’t type/ say it. Think girls, think before you press send!
I say this as a situation arose today with a student in another international school. Let’s call her Alice. Alice and Big M were ‘friends’ on facebook through friends of friends (does that make them ‘friends’? According to teenager speak I guess it does). Anyway, around lunchtime today information about Alice’s life came spilling out from her facebook account. Oodles and oodles of it. Bad and worse… There in all it’s glory for everybody to read - all those teenagers who had ‘befriended’ Alice reading (and ironically writing about it with others). Somebody, for whatever reason had hacked into her account, changed her password and published all her intimate e-mails for all to see. Incriminating mails about so called friends in school, friends secrets, dating life, intimate details between herself and others….. Secrets, all out in the open. The hacker had signed himself/ herself "You know you love me XOXO" a la Gossip Girl. Skype conversations came next…. Those who asked the hacker to stop got a short curt message “You want to see what she says about you?!...” and then that started. An awful thing to happen to anybody, whatever was written. A foolish girl. But who hasn’t gossiped?! Maybe not as in depth as she had written and not spilled others intimate ‘secrets’ (again written), but as I say to my girls…. If you don’t want it coming back to haunt you – Think before you do it, think before you write it, think before you send it!
Wasn’t life a lot less complicated way back when?...!
Until the next time
Thank you for taking time to read my post