Friday, January 20, 2006

SOUND OFF: BLOG ON

In the past many young people wrote in personal diaries, but nowadays they are increasingly turning to personal Web logs, or "blogs," to chronicle their innermost feelings. Services such as livejournal.com make it easy for anyone to create a personal space on the Internet in which they can effuse and to which other readers can post comments. Most of these blogs are readable by outsiders, and new search engines such as feedster.com and technorati.com make it easy to seek out particular sites.

Since these blogs are publicly available, is it acceptable for a parent to dip in and read her child's latest entry without letting the blogger know she'll be doing this? How about a teacher? Is it reasonable for him to read up on what his students might be saying?

What do you think? Where does a child's right for privacy end and a parent's or teacher's rightful concern about a child's safety -- or simple curiosity about a child's actions and feelings -- begin?

Send your thoughts to:
rightthing@nytimes.com. Please include your name and your hometown . Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column.

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