Kamis, 17 Januari 2013

The Secret Diary Of Your Child

Many years ago it was considered quite usual for children, mainly older children, to keep diaries. Although the tradition of keeping regular diaries has dwindled amongst children in recent years, there has of late been an increase in the idea of similar ways of recording thoughts, feelings, friends' details and other pearls of wisdom. These can be called diaries, journals, secret books or other such tomes of secret wisdom, and these come in a variety of different types.

The emphasis for most of these journals or diaries is that they are for secret thoughts and notes, and the whole industry is very much geared towards giving children this secret way of recording their thoughts, or of storing their notes and recordings in ways that will prevent adults from being able to see what they are writing.

 This could be a bone of contention, because whilst it is good to provide a child with the opportunity to write honestly about their thoughts and feelings, should parents not have the opportunity to see what these are, in order to spot any problems or worries?

This is a moral field that is fraught with obstacles and decisions, a veritable mine field of moral dilemmas. Should a child's secret notes be respected as secret, or does a parent have a duty, up to a certain age at least, to use any method by which they can identify a child's worries and fears, problems and anxieties? There are, perhaps, instances where this very method could reveal some serious issues. Certainly I have a friend who used to be a teacher, and once a week his class would write in their weekly journals. These would be read by the teacher, who would write a response, and it became a private dialogue between the two. He said how remarkable it was that there were several occasions when children would reveal some inner worries or fears which, upon further exploration, proved that there was very serious abuse going on at home. Surely privacy should be ignored if even one child could be saved from harm?

Having said that, physically finding or accessing the notes can be difficult. Many of these journals have locks, which whilst fairly crude and simple, may well prove breakable if forced, leaving a fair degree of evidence of tampering. Naturally the key may well be left lying around elsewhere, but this isn't always easy to find.

Other journals can include digital ones, where the child either uses a computer or a mobile phone style keyboard to enter notes, and these are either password protected, or in a few cases now, voice activated. This means that the notes will only be readable if you know your child's password, or you happen to manage to get a recording of their voice saying whatever the phrase is that opens the journal, and playing this.

Eventually it becomes a bit more like a spy game than anything, and some might argue that actually it would be better for families to simply have an open debate, an atmosphere of trust that allows and encourages children to speak honestly with parents about any problems that may be troubling them.
By: Victor Epand