I don’t know why this should surprise anyone who has ever been a child:
“A new study by Dafna Lemish from the Department of Communication at Tel Aviv University has found that there is an enormous gap between what parents think their children are doing online and what is really happening. ‘The data tell us that parents don’t know what their kids are doing,’ says Lemish. The study found that 30% of children between the ages of 9 and 18 delete the search history from their browsers in an attempt to protect their privacy from their parents, that 73% of the children reported giving out personal information online while the parents of the same children believed that only 4% of their children did so, and that 36% of the children admitted to meeting with a stranger they had met online while fewer than 9% of the parents knew that their children had been engaging in such risky behavior.
I don’t believe that most parents are as clueless as this study would seem to indicate, I suspect they simply elect to look the other way most of the time because they understand intuitively that it’s just not possible to control the decisions of another individual. Kids will do incredibly stupid things no matter how often they are warned, and it really doesn’t matter if you force yourself to confront the reality that little Johnny is getting stoned every afternoon and little Jenny is a more accomplished fluffer than the average porn starlet. Painful personal experience is the best teacher anyhow, and if a kid isn’t wise enough to learn from the examples of others, then he’s going to get an education from Mr. World.
You do your best and then you let them go. Sooner or later, the bird has to fly on its own. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with convincing yourself that your children are indeed the best of all possible children. Everyone could benefit from knowing that someone, somewhere, harbors a wildly undeserved faith in them.