Blogs: Good Or Evil?

The following is translated from the Shanghai Evening Post:

This begins with an interview with a female teenage blogger named Little Jiang.  She has just been accepted by an elite university in Shanghai, but she did not seem to be too happy.  When asked why she blogged, she explained that she is regarded as the 'nice and obedient' daughter by the neighbors, as her mother tells her what to wear each day, how much milk to drink in the morning and everything else.  She did not even have the right to say 'no.'  That is why she vents her frustrations on the blog: "How annoying!  What does mom want to control me?  Don't do this, don't do that?"  "Mom is yelling at me.  I don't know what to do."  And so on.

Recently, Little Jiang published a post titled "I don't want to live with my parents" which resonated among people of the same age.  These others also expressed their own communication barriers with their parents.  The number of young bloggers is growing every day.  In Little Jiang's class, about one-third of them are bloggers.  Although they usually talk about their daily trivia, their friends, their studies and their love lives, about 30% of the content is about their families.  Little Li said: "I often hear my classmates write about their problems in coping with their parents.  Most of them say that their parents are very annoying.  I feel that many parents do not understand what we think and need!"

"Have you tried to communicate with your parents?" the reporter asked.  Little Jiang said that she tried to sign a "mother-daughter contract" with her mother, such as requiring that the mother not make sarcastic remarks about her and not stipulating the type and amount of food that she eats in return for the daughter being honest and paying attention at school.  But this contract made her mother angry.  "She said that I was irresponsible.  Even if the contract was signed, I won't come through.  What could the parents do in that case?  My mother always say that I am her hope and her future, but I don't want to assume so many dreams that are not mine."  Little Jiang looked helpless.

How is that we can get along so readily with total strangers, and yet we cannot get along with the people that we know best?  Little Jiang went over this problem repeatedly during the interview.  She said that she wanted to tell her parents about her blog, but she was afraid that she might upset her parents.  So she would rather express her discontent and complaints on the blog to share with others.

With the consent of Little Jiang, the reporter told her parents about the blog URL.

As an open communication platform, on one hand, blogging gives young people an opportunity to improve friendship with their schoolmates and friends.  Through the comments, it is possible to exchange ideas and opinions.  On the other hand, many parents do not understand new things and they do not know how to use the blogs to improve communication with their children.  When the reporter called Ms. Wang, the mother of Little Jiang, she had no idea that her daughter had a blog, and she did not know that one can leave comments on blogs.

When Ms. Wang heard the reporter describe the contents of Little Jiang's blog, she wept.  She told the reporter that at that moment, she cannot accept the fact that her daughter had never really communicated with her.  "I'm competitive.  I want my daughter to complete university and have a successful career to compensate for my own regret at not having studied when I was young.  But I really didn't know ..."  Ms. Wang choked in tears several times during those few short sentences.  Ms. Wang said that she will find an opportunity to speak with her daughter.  She may even leave a comment on her daughter's blog.

Unfortunately, this is where the story ends.  I would have liked to know what happens after the mother-daughter talk.  Instead, the reporter goes on to quote the awful Breakthrough survey (see previous post Hong Kong Blogosphere Up In Arms), and without credit at that:

Recently, Hong Kong conducted a survey of 1,064 young people between the ages of 10 to 29.  The results showed that 75.5% of the respondents have written various kinds of Internet diaries; 61.8% of have done so for more than one year; 27.2% for more than two years; the principal contents are "daily trivia" (72.8%), "friendship" (70.8%), "studies/careers" (62.4%) and a portion wrote about "views on society and current affairs" (27.3%).

The survey found that 75.9% said that keeping an online diary allowed friends to understand and care about each other, including "knowing more about their situations and ideas" (64.4%), "friends understand oneself more" (52.0%) and "greater mutual care among friends" (51.6%).  The survey also found that 30% of youngsters said that they were in a family crisis and found it impossible to communicate with their parents.

Will this article put the fear of blogs into the hearts of parents?