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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