As an over thinker, toilet conversations (convos between women that become starkly honest and revealing because they occur in the trustful environment of the loo) often lead to tremendous brain over use and this is my latest philosophical journey…
Someone made a comment the other day that they were suspicious of their husband because he deletes his internet history.
I suppose there could be various reasons for this, and any of you out there who regularly delete your browsing history will, maybe, be able to vouch for that. I don’t delete mine… why? Because I have never had the inclination to, never thought about it… because I have nothing to hide… Maybe… or it could be simply because it just never occurred to me.
I would argue that on it’s own as far as habits go it’s not the crime of the century. Maybe as a part of a picture however it is slightly suspicious. But therein lies the problem. 21st century media and all of it’s technological advances have given cause to paranoia and to worry.
The internet itself pauses the greatest threat to our society. We are all actively afraid of terrorists and all those things that go bump in the night. We fear busy events in case of bombings or worse and we walk our daily lives on eggshells. But, in all honesty, what are the chances? We could just as easily crash our cars, find a lump or go out in our sleep. No. The real threat, the thing that destroys our relationships, our community, our sanity; is the internet. Broad statement to make. But look around you. Have you ever received a message late at night from a married ‘friend’ who feels the need to send a “Hi” when his wife has gone to bed? Or a long lost “we should catch up” from a Facebook friend who we knew in real life years ago… who turns out to be married and his wife has her nails done in the same salon as you… Come on – I can only speak for the women… but I suspect most of us have received messages of some sort from someone who should really be talking to their partners instead… I speak from experience. From what I can see. From what fills the news. From what we are surrounded by.
Anyone can walk into your home through an app, a hidden browser, social media, a soon to be deleted off some search history website. They can bully your children, groom your children, tempt your husbands and wives, bully you, threaten you, troll you; they can be anyone, from anywhere and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Everyone thinks they have the right to your time because you should be so easily accessible. We no longer converse in person because that has become time consuming or it interrupts our lives on the net that we have become so very quickly attached to. We lend ourselves to trust and hope and pray that no one we care about falls into the trap of the internet.
I worry. I admit it. My children and my husband will all confirm this. I worry because it is out of my control. I cannot see or hear who comes into my home, what pictures are shared, what arrangements are made, whose heart is being broken, who knows who? It makes my job harder not being able to protect or defend my family because no matter how many locks are on the door, people can still come in… on whatever device or phone they choose to.
The great unnoticed…
In my opinion, the most significant form of intimacy is thought and conversation. I.e. You can’t seduce someone simply by jumping into bed with them… something has to come first. Who are you thinking of while you sit at your desk? Who do you speak to when you pick up your phone? Who do you message when you have 5 minutes spare? Do you hide these conversations? Do you delete them? Is your phone full of contacts you really shouldn’t have? Then that’s surely akin to deleting your browsing history or devoting yourself to a face on an app, keeping secrets is having an affair. Whether it is physical or not is irrelevant. Someone other than your partner is taking your time in your private life, in your thoughts and planted themselves there through the medium of the internet.
Similarly, do you know who your children are talking to? Do they share with you all of their conversations? Contacts? Multi Media? The truth is you will never know. No amount of good parenting and trust is going to stop them from utilising the wifi that we have provided, the internet that we have given them… naively allowing other people into your home to upset them or hurt them, whether physically or mentally… again is irrelevant. The problem is, there is nothing we can do. They have to grow up, they have to evolve and this is the world that we live in.
I firmly believe we have entwined ourselves, in a very, tangled, very wicked web and for all of the benefits the internet has brought us, there is an equal amount of detriment. How to catch a spider… Dance on the web it has weaved.
We can, of course, invade each other’s privacy in order to keep a check on things, panic over context and read between missing lines… or we can remain vulnerable on the side lines of hope and trust that our relationships can withstand the test of superfast broadband and all that it brings with it. It won’t change the outcome. The truth is that, what other people do with their power of the internet is their choice and we have no control over it. If they are going to join sites, make contacts that we disapprove of, have conversations that would break hearts, share photographs that should only be between partners, give out or receive words of contempt that destroy and humiliate…. They are going to do it, whether we monitor them, trust them, worry about them, love them or whether we couldn’t care less. We can only be responsible for our own use of the monster that was created to bring us together. Bring us together it certainly did, enough to tear each other apart.
Divorce rates soar, families divide, and children commit suicide. Unfriending, blocking, not liking, name calling, persistent offensive messaging, publicly humiliating status’… all akin to being slapped in the face. A non existent but ever prominent act of violence. Not replying, hiding your phone, removing your sim, deleting or hiding message/call content… all comparable with seedy hotel meet ups or a drunken kiss in a bar.
With unknowing brings suspicion, paranoia, scepticism and panic. This is not a judgement on character, it has been planted there by the very fact that anyone can do anything on the internet and no one else ever has to know. It is all so dangerously easy.
So, if said person’s husband is deleting their browsing history, and it turns out that this IS because he spends his time searching for other women or for something he feels he doesn’t have in the real world, then rather than be worried, I suggest she takes control of her own life, her own actions and leaves him to do what he wishes on the internet, because I pity the man who would risk it all for a game of lets pretend rather than reap the rewards of living in the present. Of course, he might be perfectly innocent… but the world we live in doesn’t make allowances for that.
I don’t check phones or messages or devices, of any of my family… because I trust them? Yes! Because I might not like what I could find? Definitely! And moreover because there is little point. I love my husband and my children more than I could ever put into words. It would kill me to lose them. I wish I could put us all in a bubble where we only ever needed each other and the world outside couldn’t taint us. I can’t. They can keep their privacy, just as I trust them to keep my heart. I have been lied to before, I have been betrayed before and I would rather be drop kicked in the face than go through that again. It would take a really rotten person to do that. I don’t believe they have that in them. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t stop me worrying, like I said I am an over thinker… I worry all time… I’m putting on weight at the speed of light, look different than I did yesterday never mind when we met and I’ve been burnt before… I have a lot to lose… but…
What is out of my control will always be so. I can’t stop Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp, I can’t get rid of wifi or broadband or email, I can’t erase the internet from the world. I can only trust that I have made good choices in the people I surround myself with, trust the vows that I took, trust myself to do what’s right and live with a clean conscience. That, I believe, makes me strong. Makes me decent and trustworthy and honest. And that, is all I have to worry about at the end of the day.
Surf the net, make connections, but do it responsibly. Look after your real life and take care of those who love you.