I’ve been lucky enough to have two children who, at least when under the age of 10, have been unable to keep any secrets from me. I’m not foolish enough to believe this will last through the teen years. In fact I have one who has made it through the teen years and I can say that yes, they will learn how to lie.
However, at the moment, I have a child who is not able to tell me a lie. Her desire to tell the truth is so strong that she feels the need to wake me in the middle of the night to tell me that she has used the phrase “shut up” in a video she posted on YouTube.
I’ve had lots of late night confessions regarding online postings. The daughter does not have a Facebook page or Twitter account, but I do let her play online games where she is allowed a profile and she uses my YouTube account to post videos of all the animals.
By the time she gets to confessing to me she has worried herself into tears so that if she were to actually confess something worthwhile I can’t punish her because she has already punished herself enough.
I’m telling you all this because as I was lecturing her about what is and is not acceptable to post on the web it occurred to me that indeed we do all have a permanent record, and it is the internet.
I stopped believing in the permanent record when I was in college and I learned that no one cared that I got busted for smoking cigarettes in the bathroom in high school, and no one cared that I ditched 3rd period once in my senior year (for someone who was kicked out of two high schools I did very few rebellious acts during those years, and I was not considered a badass for skipping 3rd period or smoking cigarettes).
Anyway, this isn’t about me. This is about my daughter and her permanent record. I explained to her that she can use words like “shut up” (though they aren’t nice) but she isn’t allowed to swear. No f-word or c-word (she thinks the c word means “crap”). I even took this opportunity to explain sexting and how that will put a damper on the rest of her high school experience if she sends a picture of her naked body to anyone. I told her that she isn’t allowed to make fun of someone’s race, religion, sexuality, gender or politics.
She looked appropriately scared shitless, but she is only 9. A lot can happen in the next few years to make her forget all about her permanent record.
What’s on your permanent record?