Information travels. Just as embarrassing photos and tweets have a habit of popping up again and again like floating turds even when the original's long since deleted, anything on the internet becomes a rogue element, not entirely under your control. So by posting a picture of your child's meltdown or nappy accident, for instance, you can't be sure that in time that photo won't be seen by kids at school. Or potential friends or partners. Or would-be employers.
|Mum tweeted that I'm on my rags. I'm smiling because these scissors will be the instrument of my revenge|
I spend more time browsing the #autism tags on Twitter and Tumblr than I should, considering they often make me quite cross. While I've been there, I've seen posts about masturbation, menstruation and meltdowns. I've read about strangers' children's preferences for underwear (or the lack thereof), and reports of toileting more detailed than seems strictly necessary. Much of it's posted by people using their real name, or an account that's able to be traced back to their offline selves - by extension making their child's identity discoverable as well.
Do you really want the world knowing your kid doesn't wear undies? Is it safe for the child to have that information in the public domain? Would the parents have shared that information if the child were neurotypical?
There does need to be a place where parents can talk about these things; the gross, icky, scatological, NSFW things that only a parent would know or understand. There does need to be a safe space, without judgement, where they can ask "is it normal that...", "how do you handle...", "how old was yours when...", "what should I do when...", "...should it be green?"
But that place shouldn't be public, because a public space can never be truly safe for that kind of information. You don't know who else is lurking, listening, or even just wandering through thanks to a misdirected Google search. You don't know who's going to see that photo, that rant, that description of that particular incident, or what they're going to do with it.
Besides which, being autistic's hard enough as it is. We have to contend with enough challenges, enough social awkwardness, enough bullying and ostracism and general shenanigans, without having to worry that the whole school knows we're 17 and still wearing Scooby Doo underoos.
Kids deserve some privacy.