Friday, March 13, 2009

Would you read it?

An interesting discussion cropped up at work today. As with any group of overly opinionated people, when you get a group of lawyers together and ask them a question, you will likely never get a consensus.

And so it was with today's topic. I was extolling the virtues of having a Facebook account, especially if you have teenage or preteen kids. You want to know what they're posting for the world to see, right?

And this discussion inevitably led to the diary discussion; namely, would you read your kid's diary?

My opinion is that there are some additional factors to weigh here. For instance, did the kid tell you about the diary? Did the kid hide the diary somewhere? Was the diary locked?

A couple people at work talked about needing probable cause (that lawyer thing popping up again). I think (to the shock and awe of my teenage self, who would be horrified that I've reached this point) that I'd probably read it no matter what.

I kept a diary when I was young, filled with all the maudlin and angst you'd expect from a teenage girl pouring her heart out (in pink gel pen, of course). I have no idea if my parents read it at any point (Mom and Dad, feel free to enlighten us in the comments if you want), but I imagine they already had a pretty clear idea what I was thinking and feeling back then. (The 16 year old me probably would have spilled her deepest ambitions and heartbreaks to a telephone pole; I was quite the talker.)

So now I wan to know what you folks think. Would you read it? Would you refrain? What are the rules for this type of thing? (Am I overthinking this?)


Michael said...

My unscientific poll reveals that Dads are more likely not to read the diary, and Moms are more likely to read the diary....

Dad said...

For me, it's a probable cause issue (and, as I recall, I never read yours :-) ... young people deserve some degree of privacy for recording their thoughts, and I'd only advocate diary delving if something troubling was going on in the young person's life - enough that the parents needed some information that a diary might present. Hope that makes sense. My view - if a parent's relationship with their son/daughter is healthy and communicative, the diary question would be a non-issue.