I thought that I would make this list to clarify.

As a minor, using the Internet I was not allowed to…

· give people my full name (this eventually became just my full last name, but not for awhile)
· reveal anything about my location
· accept anything in the mail from anyone that I didn’t know in person, so I couldn’t have pen pals
· give anyone that I did not know in person my phone number, not even my own cell number
· call anyone that I did not know in person
· meet up with anyone that I did not know in person

My mother was more than happy to let the Internet “babysit” me so that she didn’t have to do it herself, or engage with me herself though. (This has been common knowledge for a long time and explains many of the disparities that I had in Internet rules growing up. Almost all of them, in fact.) But it seemed like the one thing that both of my parents agreed on, which I have mixed opinions on, were that my Internet friends were “not real friends” and were “less” friends to me than my real-life friends. Living where I do, and living where I continue to live, this seems to be a mindset that a lot of people I know have… but I’ve made it a point to separate my real life from my “Internet life” for years and have functionally been doing so for more than a decade now, mainly because of the people that I know in real life. I think this says more about the people that I know in real life than it does most of the people that I know online. For the most part, I hate this place.

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