31 MARCH 2007, Page 71

Q. My son is on his gap year and travelling

around India. While having lunch with a friend she showed me a website on to which her son has posted a blog of his gap year. By the looks of it virtually every 18–19-year-old public schoolchild in the country has done the same. Endless faces in various states of stupefaction leer out against tropical backgrounds accompanied by descriptions of how ‘chilled’ everyone is. I am only human so when she suggested typing my son’s name into the search box I naturally concurred. I was initially shocked to see that he too looked stupefied in his photographs and he too is boasting of being ‘chilled’ and describing how ‘wasted’ he feels each morning. Now I realise that my son is almost certainly not at all wasted or chilled — but just as subject to peer pressure as the next person. Nevertheless I do resent him posting these misleading bulletins. How can I put a stop to them without his feeling I have been spying on him?

Name and address withheld A. Why not act daft and tell your son, in your next communiqué, that you have heard that all his friends have posted their news on this website. Give the address and suggest that he look on it. Then drop a casual (and truth-based) bombshell — ‘but do be careful if you post something on it yourself. Apparently universities and employers are starting to look on it too.’