Mom Publishes Her Daughter's Diary Online -- So What?

Mom Moment 26

Believe it or not, some kids still keep handwritten diaries. Whodathunk? And for parents whose kids do this, they're in a bit of a tough position. Do they read their kid's diary so they can know if anything is going on their kid's life that they should know about? Like sex? Drugs? Rock 'n' roll? If they do that, and they find something, then they're in the awkward position of having to explain to their child that they HAVE NO PRIVACY. Nowadays, parents -- especially moms, let's face it -- are all too prone to blog about their kids too. How are those kids going to feel when they grow up and all the dirty details of their childhood is out there on the Internet? Will they care, or will privacy be nothing but a cute relic of a bygone era by then anyway? One mom is coming in for a drubbing for doubly invading her 5-year-old daughter's privacy: She read her child's diary AND published it online.

Kim Bongiorno, who writes the blog Let Me Start By Saying, began getting a tad worried when her 5-year-old daughter took up a journaling habit. She apparently kept her diary's key on a ring on her finger and would say, "Do NOT look at me, Mama. I'm writing in my diary."

Concerned that her daughter was "hiding her sad" in her diary, Bongiorno wasn't about to let a 5-year-old tell her to mind her own business, so she snatched the ring and took a peek. Much to her relief, her daughter's diary was filled with expressions of love such as, "I love rainbows. I love my friends. I wish I had flowers. I love cold water. I love movies."

The blogger decided she wanted to publish this stunning prose (eye roll) as a way of reassuring parents that kids can actually be sweet and simple. Something like that. I think she just liked what she saw, knew it would be clicky, and wanted to publish it. 

But moms were not amused. Wrote one, who echoed the thoughts of many:

Besides drawing attention to yourself and your blog, it's difficult to understand what you hoped to accomplish by reading your daughter's diary, writing an article about it, and posting pictures of pages in her diary. No matter how reassured you were by what you read, and how much you thought others would be as impressed as you are with the sentiments your daughter expressed, I think violating her trust and sharing her diary with the world is despicable.

Says another:

My mother did a similar thing to me when I was quite young. I never quite trusted her again.

Normally I would be right behind these sentiments. I thought the mom who wrote about her troubled "Adam Lanza"-like son had saddled him with a horrific comparison that could have lifelong real world repercussions for him. I thank GOD my mom didn't have Wordpress.

But I'm not convinced that a 5-year-old should have privacy. Yes, she should be able to pee by herself. But writing her innermost thoughts and being able to keep them from me? Nope. If they're nice, positive thoughts, as these ones were, then what was the harm in looking? If they're not, and they are negative, sad, worrisome thoughts, thoughts that perhaps even talk about abuse or bullying, then I absolutely need to know about it. The harm would have been in NOT looking. Bongiorno defends herself, writing:

She's my kid, and I need to be able to check in on her -- she's not even 6 yo yet, so in my opinion, she can't have too much of a say here.

As for publishing her daughter's thoughts, the ones Bongiorno photographs are pretty harmless. I don't think that a future employer will be much concerned with them.

Anyway, Bongiorno claims she got her daughter's permission before publishing -- which is kind of absurd. As if a 5-year-old understands the permanence of the interwebs!

Bongiorno was only doing what a mom should do -- being super nosy. As for publishing her daughter's innermost thoughts, I hope this doesn't continue into her daughter's teen years.

Was this mom right or wrong to do this?


Image via FairyWorld Lock & Key Diary/Amazon

in the news, girls