"Digital Natives – also known as Generation Z – are people born between 1990 and the late 2000′s. They have never known a time before computers and video games. Most have never known a time before the World Wide Web."
- Susan Murphy from Social Media Today
Pic - Rocco Riley, seven weeks gestation, 18th Oct 2007
I write about my children on the internet. I write about myself on the internet. I have my boundaries, and I know everybody is different.
I've made blogging transitions .... from starting an IVF blog, to a pregnancy blog, to a cancery/newborn/messy blog, to .... this. Now I just call myself a "personal blogger" when people ask. I grappled for ages, but I understand that people need labels.
I find it hard to label myself. I blog my Truth as I see it. It's ok that all bloggers are not as open as I am, and I do understand the needs and concerns for privacy ... especially for children, on the big and permanent internet.
I started writing about Rocco when he was my biggest desire - he has been written about on the internet since he was just four cells old. Complete with pictures posted of the embryo transfer, my growing belly, and ultrasound photos. Max is now nine - I write about how, when he came into the world, something changed in me forever. My eighteen year old stepson Tim *adores* when I write about him. (But pretends to sleep when I try to show him a post. He only wishes that my readers were younger. And single.)
I have asked permission to write about them, and I will not embarrass them in any way - Tim still wears a pull-up nappy at night, at the age of eighteen. I would *never* blog that, for example.
If I thought this would damage or hurt them in any way when they are older ... I wouldn't do it. Simple. I'm not even sure they could be bothered, to sit down and pore over post after post that their mother wrote. They might skim it - but seriously, BO-RING.
In 2029, what will a twenty-year old Rocco care, that his mother is about to go for a long-overdue therapy session where, when the therapist asks that AWESOME question - "So why are you here?" - his mother can just point to her heart leaping up and down all over the floor because the anxiety has become so crippling? Who gives a crap about that? He'll be too busy checking out his new 3D-Facebook 2.0. Or going scuba diving. Or working hard. Or, I don't know ..... hopefully being a well-adjusted adult because that's all his caring parents ever wanted for him.
And in that - there is telling your children the Truth. I will not lie to my children. I will not sugarcoat life for them. I answer honestly. Max has started asking me about my real dad. Or my stepdad. Or my second stepdad - wait - mum, which one is the Scottish guy? Why did he used to drink? What does "suicide" mean?
I tell him. As gently and openly as I can, as much as I think is appropriate for his age at the time. But one day - he will be an adult. And then I will go into even more detail and hopefully, learn from other peoples mistakes. Be wise in the world. Children are much smarter than adults ever give them credit for. I have written nothing here that my children won't already find out about me anyway. Family skeletons have a way of sneaking out of the cupboard when you least expect it ..... you can't outrun your shadow. There are many shadows, in life. Why not point them out gently to our children, instead of covering their eyes and crossing the street?
Did you know that in the real tale of Little Red Riding Hood .... the wolf actually eats her, in the end?
Beware the wolf, kids.
This post was prompted by recent comments about Lori, questioning her decision to write through her horror and grief about her husband 's recent suicide - on her blog. Something she wrote yesterday has been stuck in my mind:
" ..... Why is everyone always so fucking worried, about our children seeing what we write on our blogs? Aren't they people, too? One day, they will be older, and have their own emotions, perspectives and ideals. And I don't mind the thought of them knowing mine, years down the track, when they're old enough."
BRAVA. (Lori I adore you but I had to change your "their" to "they're." HA!)
I stay on facebook because I want to keep an eye on it ... its evil ways are changing the face of social media, and much as I disagree with the privacy issues - check this out. Are you the parent of a teenager? Have you checked their settings? In a few short years my children will have many accounts on many sites across the net. (And I will be savvy enough to monitor them all.)
Guess what? The digital natives do not care as much about this notion of "privacy" that we do. They will be more out there and open than you can ever imagine. The current children of bloggers and writers on the internet ... they're just getting a head start.
If you are over the age of thirty, you are Digital Immigrant ... born before the existence of digital technology and adopted it to some extent later in life. Well done you.
There are more people than ever before discovering social media/internet/blogs for the first time ... I have a feeling that these people are shocked, at what they find being "put out there." Until they get used to it.
The future arrived a while back, baby. Aint nothing wrong with the Truth.
I applaud Lori's decision to write her shocking, painful, and graphic truth. Her blog has recently become a beautiful ode, the saddest poem in the world. Yet still she writes and still I read - shocked and in awe, yes. But not concerned for her children. They already know the Truth ... it's with them, now, forever. The saddest part of it is that they have to learn it from their mother, because their father is not here to tell them his.
(I wish he could have spoken to someone - anyone!)
Lori has pretty much changed the face of blogging, in Australia - not that she asked to, not that she would want to - not like this. I believe she deserves every ounce of love and compassion, and understanding. Not fear, or doubt. I'm sure she already has a lot of that.
To a twenty-year old Rocco, twenty-six year old Max, and thirty-eight year old Tim .... how's it goin', boys? Am I even still ALIVE? Did I go grey or keep colouring? Am I on holiday in the Himalayas? Have you told me how beautiful I am today? Are you treating your womenfolk well? Have you learnt how to wipe bin juice off the garbage bin yet - I know, it's *pretty* hard. Life is full of hard things, my loves. I love you. Forgive yourselves more. Laugh a lot.
By the way - you all owe me. RAISING THE THREE OF YOU IS HARD.