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Parents Read Their Children’s Blogs

Posted November. 29, 2005 07:51,   


Parents are secretly watching their children’s’ blogs, which are popular with teenagers as a place for them to freely express their opinions.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that an increasing number of parents in their 30s and 40s are watching the content of their children’s blogs, and that this phenomenon is creating an ethical controversy over privacy infringement.

A survey on 1,100 parents with children ages 12 through 17 which was conducted by the Pew Research Center, a U.S. media research organization, showed that two-thirds of the respondents said they log on to the their children’s blogs without permission from their kids.

Considering that about four million U.S. teenagers between age 12 to 17 are writing blogs, this means that 2.6 to 2.7 million parents in the country are secretly watching the content of their kinds’ blogs.

The newspaper pointed out that this has even given birth to new terms for parents who secretly watch and monitor their children’s blogs. The terms are “Big Mother” and “Big Father,” which came from “Big Brother,” which refers to the government’s control over the public’s privacy.

Experts express their concern that parents monitoring blogs could lead the blog to lose their unique function as a “private space” in which bloggers freely express their personal opinions.

But others say that the blog is not a “closed space” but a “forum for communication with others.”

A 45-year-old parent of a high school girl said, “My daughter’s journal is a ‘private space,’ but her blog is an ‘open space’ in which she posts things on the Internet so that all people can see them,” arguing, “Just like everyone else, parents have the right to log on to their children’s blogs.”

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com