Little Women in a Digital Universe

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The thought has occurred to me…

As much as I hate to acquiesce to this fact, your life will be lived out online in full view of the world.  That being the reality, you must manage your “brand.”  In other words, you must consciously ensure that you create the impression that you want to endure.  Unguarded words or actions can last forever.   What I am saying is this:  Be exceptionally careful what and with whom you share on the internet.  Anything that you do online is immortal.


Dear Alexandria and Mary Ellen,

Thirteen is probably meant to be a hard age for kids and parents.  It is proving to be so for you, Alexandria, and thus for me.

I don’t mean to say that you are a bad young woman, as indeed you are no longer a child.  Far from being of a devious nature, you possess a sense of justice and fairness that convinces me that you strive to be more ethically aware than many people your age.  These days, however, that sense of justice seems misplaced into the rationalization of one form of misbehavior or another.  The world is full of temptations and diversions from the virtuous path.  These days you seem to find most of them.

Alexandria, it is important for you to understand that I consider the environment in which you girls are growing up in to be more difficult than the era in which I was raised.  When I was a kid, no matter what happened at school or with my friends I could come home and shut the door.  My house was what a house should be, a sanctuary from the world and a place of respite from the awkward social pressures of constantly colliding teenage planets in their unpredictable orbits.  You do not enjoy the same advantage; the digital universe has turned socializing into a 24/7 blood sport where you are expected to be accessible all the time.  The trivial grievances between girls your age are no longer settled in the school hallway.  Instead, disputes are moved into the alternate universe of the online environment where they are inflated by self-ordained teenage keyboard pontificates until the troubles seem insurmountable.  The world has full access to you and you to it, raw and uncensored.  Your mother and I understand that you are ill-equipped to deal with filtering the important and noble from the petty and filthy.  You, as of the date of this writing, do not understand that you just aren’t ready for the world.

Oh, if I could just keep you a child for a bit longer.  I think that ship has long since sailed.

I think I will experiment with practical advice here:  As much as I hate to acquiesce to this fact, your life will be lived out online in full view of the world.  That being the reality, you must manage your “brand.”  In other words, you must consciously ensure that you create the impression that you want to endure.  Unguarded words or actions can last forever.   What I am saying is this:  Be exceptionally careful what and with whom you share on the internet.  Anything that you do online is immortal.

In our quest to make information more available and connect to each other more than ever before, we have made honesty and spontaneous emotion more dangerous than ever.  Isn’t that an ironic tragedy?

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4 thoughts on “Little Women in a Digital Universe

  1. For my family, the rule was ‘no personally identifiable information’ and ‘no conversations with absolute strangers’ (at least, while we were still teenagers – as we got older the parental units didn’t mind so much because the other rule prevented us from getting into trouble.) So I tend to go by aliases online and have something of a double-life. I chose this alias to make it really tough for people to track me down or tell who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do all of the things you describe as well. Our biggest challenge at the moment is setting boundaries on the amount of time spent engaging in texting and social media. I truly believe that if my girls can learn early to leave time to just “be”, they will be much more comfortable in thier own skin.

      Like

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