Saturday, 14 February 2015

The no-swearing chat

My daughter has just blown my mind.

After we came home just now, she called down the stairs, "I had 310 new WhatsApp messages!" I was duly horrified. What could I possibly do, the helpless middle-aged woman, against this new scourge? Just how much time was my child going to waste on pointless online activity?

A few minutes later, I was pouring out a cup of tea (Fifty Shades of Earl Grey as a well-known stationery shop puts it), and she came down to collect it, nonchalantly telling me, "The messages didn't take that long to read. Most of them were on the new non-swearing chat I set up."

The what now?

My child, my eleven-year-old child, my child who is only a term into secondary school, had taken it upon herself to start a chat with her friends, saying, "You don't have to join in, but on this chat we're just not going to swear. The chat's not about 'not swearing', it can be like the other chats, except, we just don't swear."

Apparently the young moderator, who should clearly be running the UN, went on, "Yeah, I said it was because my mum found out about other chats with swearing, and she didn't like it, so I decided because I still want to catch up with my friends, but I don't want them to swear, because I'm clean, so I just thought, that's what I'll do."

I was open-mouthed, and gave her a high five.

What had actually happened was that, while she was upstairs one evening, with her (grudgingly bestowed) smartphone on the table beside me, a string of sweary messages had popped up on the screen from fellow year 7s, including one bitching, frankly, about another child.

I had been shocked, and summoned my daughter down for the third degree. She had burst into tears and told me, "Mum, I've been dealing with this stuff for years now. I don't do it, I just change the subject, I don't join in, and I don't like it, but you can't protect me from it, it just happens."

I'm speechless with pride.

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