Little_Karol, my daughter, sat in a cube after hours at the office. The computer screen in front of her glowed as she checked her email. At least that’s what she told me she was doing. I strode into my office, crashed behind the desk and plunged into an evening of catch up.
It had never happened before, that our wires had crossed, even though she always used my log-in to get to the internet, but an absent-minded mouse flick on my part altered the screen I stared at. Suddenly, I shadowed her computer movements. It shocked me how quickly I rocketed into the bad-mom-universe. I was the bad mom. What flickered before me alarmed me.
I had shuddered at every horrid child abuse story in regards to social media, and had nodded sagely, arrogantly even, knowing my capable parenting skills would never find me the subject of a sad news story. I was too intelligent to raise a child who would fall prey. My child was too bright to fall to a predator. But there it was. Facebook. The ultimate child predator.
MySpace drifted in semi-consciousness as: ‘places not to visit.’ LinkedIN sounded like the online bar of hook-ups. Bloggers were anal politicos who needed a forum to rant, or self absorbed punks who didn’t get enough ‘me-time’ and needed to hear their own voices, so they posted what remained of their dribble online: me-me-me. Twitter had barely hit my radar and sounded inane, a test to drill your most profound thought to 140 characters. What kind of a character is that? Did a space count as a character? Ignorance foamed and huffed at me and I choked on its fumes.
My fingers trembled as I stared at my child’s Facebook wall. What the heck is a wall? Why would I be encouraged to write on it? I clicked through the other places of her Facebook page. Oh my effing gee, she has posted pictures! If that isn’t a predator call I don’t know what is.
That was it.
She was done.
I am a woman of action.
I took control and did the most sensible thing.
I read the Facebook terms and conditions.
I had her.
She was toast.
I called her into my office and I sounded mean. I confronted her Facebook abuse. I gave her a piece of paper and a pen and ordered her to write down every email, gmail, yahoo-mail, hotmail and every Web-site she was on that required a log-in and I demanded her passwords. Her dark eyes flooded with panic and tears pushed at her lashes. She took in a shaky breath, her little knees collapsed, and she sunk into the guest chair. One-by-one, she proceeded to disclose her secrets. That’s when I learned she had a blog. I had never read a blog. I was ignorant.
I shut down Facebook and doled out strong words. She was underage. Facebook had a minimum age requirement. She did not qualify. My strong lecture lasted up through her birthday. Midnight clicked over and back up went her Facebook.
Second discovery went as well as expected.
I gave up.
I got a Facebook page.