The headline of this Detroit News article is not news to a lot of parents: “Teens spill deep secrets in Web logs.” But these articles in local papers always offer insights. This one leads with an online journal entry from West Bloomfield High School sophomore Rachel Hines, “one of millions of American teenagers now turning to the Web, writing in online journals, also known as live journals, Web logs, or simply blogs.” [Rachel told the paper that she thought about 60% of the people in her school have blogs.] Her blog entry’s innocuous, but some go into great detail about teenagers’ sex lives, family members, drug use, etc., “blurring the line between public and private life.” It’s like they’re making themselves the stars of their peer group’s own reality TV show. Or just “venting” – “getting their frustrations out,” as Rachel put it. For some teenagers, that can mean victimization – online harassment or cyberbullying (see “Cyberbullying more harmful to kids” and my series, “The IM life of middle-schoolers”). On the other hand, “some experts laud online journals because they get students to write and as a place where they can try out personalities and test boundaries in a virtual world they often find safer than the physical one,” the News reports. What do you think about online journals – does your child blog, do you check in on it every now and then? (Rachel’s mom doesn’t read her blog – “I decided it was her private thing,” she told the News.) Do send in your comments and experiences (or post here by clicking on “comments” just below)!