Tweeting parents beware!

tweeting parents boy on shoulders

For every word, comment, tweet, blog post and Facebook status I put out there, I consider that my son, who is only 20 months old and cannot say internet let alone type the word, could and might one day read what I’ve written. I’ve been tempted to swear a lot and slag people off, and complain and be rude on the internet. But then I ask myself if I’d be proud for my child to one day read what I’ve written, and that is the ultimate deciding factor before I hit the “send” button. And I don’t always get it right. A certain tweet of mine once got me in the bird poo, and it was a lesson that came with some tears but a resolution that I’d try not to do it again.

I sometimes watch bemused and shocked how moms slag off their partners, their kids, their teachers and their lives. I appreciate and love the fact that the web gives us freedom and a voice, but I think as parents we need to be cautious and set a fairly decent example. I don’t want my child to think it’s okay to  be malicious, impatient, intolerant and unable to confront people face to face, which is why I’ll do my best not to act like that not only in front of him, but through what I put out on the web. And you might argue that by the time my son can read, the tweets and Facebook comments will be long deleted into cyberspace, but I believe we leave big imprints on the way, and I’d rather err on the side of cyber caution (or neurosis, if you will). Either way, it’s a good exercise in guarding my tongue (or my finger), and remembering that good manners do start at home and from my work laptop, Macbook, iPad and iPhone.

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Tanya Kovarsky

Tanya Kovarsky

Tanya Kovarsky, mom to Max, addicted to blogging, Apple products, long-distance running and Converse shoes. Freelance writer, with 11yrs experience who does editing, writing and training. Read her blog

6 Responses

  1. Both my teenage boys have facebook and twitter profiles, and I often check what they have to say as well. In this regard I coach them on what is right and what is not so acceptable to say out there in public. I use it as a tool to inform my teenagers of the right way to interact in cyberspace (and in the world in general), and I have had amazing results.

    I am particularly proud of my 18 year old son, who, when he is having his down days, writes status updates that he focuses on the positive side of his challenges and he shares how he overcomes his issues, rather than falling in the trap of being negative and complaining about life and how hard his situations are. Here are some of his status updates:

    ‘Life can bring the hardest of challenges, that at times you may feel trapped in a dark hole all alone, but life never gives you challenges that you can’t handle and gain strength in the heart and mind’ –

    Another: ‘Everyone has the choice whether or not to do an action. So u cant blame anyone but urself for making the wrong choice. In the end it will be u judging urself on that choice, whether or not if it was the right choice to make..’

    My 14 year old mainly speaks about his rugby and updates around school work, and his social life with his friends.

    My 7 year old girl is forever wanting to know what I am writing on facebook and on twitter, and wanting to see the pictures I have uploaded. I read all of my statuses to her and she loves and enjoys what her mom has to say about life, it is a special time for us to share and also talk about life wisdoms. Before she caught onto the concept of twitter, she asked me one evening: What is twitter? My return question was: Where did you hear about twitter?, and her reply was, with a shrug and wave: EVERYONE is talking about it ….!!! She takes after her mom, and is also currently busy writing her very own first book – in her 7year old terms.

    You cannot guide your children in the ways of cyberspace if you yourself is not applying ethical and moral values about what you post. Firstly it makes you a hypocrite and secondly, kids of today follow by example. So is your example exemplary or not? If you want you children to act in the right manner then YOU HAVE TO DO THE SAME! It is a given….

    It is also very very important to guide children in the safety and the dangers of cyberspace, we cannot deny them access, as it is accessible from everywhere, and these kids are so clever today, that they will remove all history of where and what they view, if they know you check up on them. You have to inform and guide them, and then hope for the best in that they take your guidance and regard it highly.

    I am a single mother of three absolutely amazing, highly intelligent and sociable children. The cyber world is their playground more than ours, and we have to set the example of how they play in this world, which is full of wickedness, false prophets and misleading information. It is our responsibility…

    BTW – I do sometimes vent my frustration on facebook and twitter, about my hectic life as a corporate executive, single mother of three and soon to be published author (with no financial or physical help from anyone), yet when I do it, I do it in a way where I can get my support group to give me positive insight into my challenges for the day, and I do it without being personal, but rather dealing with the issue at hand, asking for advice and/or help…. And I always focus on the silver lining.

  2. I have always been careful about what I blog and tweet because I know- and kind of hope- that my son may one day be interested in reading what I have written. And I have blogged the good and the bad.
    I also know how small this world is nowadays and I saw early on in my blogging life how people got their fingers burnt by blogging about their jobs or some such.
    Fabulous post.

  3. Interesting thought, although I would think that we should all be aware of what we write about online. Those of us with no kids should still be weary of the fact that it is public for everyone to see… I often wonder how people lack the discretion, and how they openly flirt, blame, shame and complain over the social networks. I find people have an online persona which they do not emanate in real life, and I find that rather disturbing. I believe that we should all behave online the way we do offline, and in the same way one would think twice about berating ones boss in a meeting at work, I feel one should exercise the same caution online.

    The world is small these days, google can tell you a lot about a person. In my opinion, regardless of whether one is a parent or not, one should consider ones reputation, and how ones online behaviour might affect the world outside of the Internet – ones own, and whoever they might be talking about, flirting with, swearing at or showing disrespect towards.

    Then again I am not a parent, and perhaps social networks are the only space some mothers have to vent… Perhaps it allows for them to be honest about their concerns regarding motherhood, and express themselves in a safe space with people who do not judge. In terms of this, I reserve comment, and perhaps one day I will be able to offer more. But for now my rule is this: “never say something about someone you wouldn’t say directly to them” and I try keep this true in all aspects of my life.

  4. So true and always good to have a reminder about this! It’s too easy to fall into the trap of using this cyber space to vent, but I too agree that it will come back to haunt you and as much as we will have rules for our kids in this space, maybe a good idea to have a few rules of our own!

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