Blogging and Boundaries

Blogs have changed boundaries by extending the boundary between personal and public, but they have also troubled parents whose teens are perhaps excessively sharing.

According to "Teens' bold blogs spur warnings" (By Tara Bahrampour and Lori Aratani, The Washington Post, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10882307/), teens are sharing too much or making up events on their blogs in order to gain popularity; some of the posts involve illicit activities.

Sharing personal journeys can be therapeutic and can facilitate deeper understanding of the human experience; at the same time, over-disclosing can break boundaries in a health way. Where's the line? The question is increasingly important in CAM therapies such as energy healing that also purport to expand boundaries, leading to charges such as "psychic snooping." (See Creating Right Relationships: A Practical Guide to Ethics in Energy Therapies for more detail).

The article quotes several teens regarding their motivation for blogging:

     ""I'm in seventh grade," the girl said. "It's really hard to be in seventh grade these days. It's really hard if you're shy and you're not a cheerleader or extraordinarily popular. I travel, I take pictures, I write poetry. I'm a nice kid, and if I can write a profile that will make people notice me, why shouldn't I?"

     To Aftab, "It's a very sad testimonial these days that a kid has to post something on a site where potentially 700 million people can see it in order to attract the attention of a kid two seats down."

     Emilie Jackson, 17, a senior at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and an editor of the school newspaper, has four or five blogs right now. She doesn't keep an online diary -- "I never really thought that my life was that interesting" -- but she said it can be a form of therapy. "Being able to share with people, I guess, makes it easier to deal with stuff.""

Such motivations are understandable in teens, and, the arguable suggests, can be addressed in adult, healthy ways; interestingly, the same kinds of anxieties and concerns can lie at the core of unhealthy boundaries in medicine and health care as well (as Chapter 6 of Future Medicine argues).

It's one thing to let your inner child run free, but watch out for the inner teen!