I found out the hard way that not everything you say in your home is going to stay within its walls, particularly if you have Wi-Fi and internet.
As the old saying goes, “watch what you say around your children.”
Sometime during the Mardi Gras break, I tripped on the shower curtain and the rod tumbled onto the top of my head with a thud. An expletive shot out of my mouth.
My 8-year-old daughter, who was in the adjacent room turned and looked at me, her mouth opened wide. “Mommy!” She said.
I was embarrassed. “I’m so sorry,” I told her.
Her fingers fumbled on her digital tablet. She was playing an online game with voice chat and when my unfortunate expletive flew out of my mouth, her best friend heard it, too.
I could think of no better label for myself than “hypocrite.” After all, I am the one who cautions my children to watch how and what they say to one another. “Remember the fruitage of the spirit,” I tell them. “Love, peace, self control.”
And here I am shouting an expletive at an inanimate object.
Later that same day, my children were gallivanting through the house, ignoring their assigned chores, leaving dirty breakfast dishes on the table and stepping on crumbs on the floor.
I was livid.
“Really? Am I the only one doing anything?” I asked. Another expletive flew out of my mouth. “I should not have to talk ugly to get things done around here,” I told them. My son’s eyes were wide.
Well, sure enough, my three kids were playing online games with their buddies who’d heard it all. The 3-D virtual fantasy game they were playing involved solving puzzles, and they had enabled the video and audio chat function to play with their friends.
My potty mouth was once again exposed.
I apologized, prayed for forgiveness and decided it was time to talk with my kids and my husband about online safety and setting some parental controls on their favorite digital devices.
Only after chores and homework are completed can they be played, we reminded them.
My husband was worried about our home privacy and bringing others into the house through online gaming connections.
He reminded our three children that our home is the one place where we should feel we can enjoy privacy.
Ask for mom or dad’s permission before playing online games that involve bringing online friends into the house, he told them.
And, oh yes, he told them, “Don’t say anything inside these walls that you wouldn’t be proud to say outside of these walls.”
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.