Pooh, thanks for your thoughts and you certainly raise good points. They resonate most with me for the "here and now" and into the future as he is 21 and will graduate from college in 5 months. He is now an adult--but just barely. But he is an adult and it is time for me to let the reins go now and let him choose as he chooses without my expectations. THank you for the reinforcement of that.
As it relates to my post, much of the content of my (needed) rant referenced his teenage years and not the now officially adult one. (He only just turned 21 a few months ago). And so, I would like to provide some explanation and context.
Yes I looked at his social media from his age of 14 until last year. When you have a son who is quiet, withdraw, and incredibly to himself and not willfully disclosing anything to his family....you worry. And if he's gay, you worry a lot. The rates of gay teen suicide are not insignificant. Combine that with a medical hypothyroidism issue -- which potentially has a side effect of depression, although my son has not been diagnosed with that -- you watch and you worry and you pay attention for changes and yes, you look for warning signs. You could choose to do nothing, bury your head in the sand and hope it turns out OK. Likely it will.
But then you hear of things like Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook mass murderer)....and you learn that he had a mother who just didn't intercede and question. ANd people scream "how could she not have known? why didn't she care enough to investigate?" Or James Holmes, in Aurora CO, a brilliant young man with demons that also seemed to have gone unchecked. I am likely sounding melodramatic, and perhaps hyperbolic to make a point.....if you don' t intercede to find out what is going on, you may miss something very important. But if you do intercede to find out what's going on, then you risk being accused of stalking, interfering and so on. SO you make your best choice weighting the pros/cons/risks etc.
And yes, in doing so, I did learn he was engaged in an on line activity when he ws 19 that was foolish (involving the reposting of porn) and came with some unintended risk (you know nothing about the sources of the pictures, and what if it happens to be an underage individual?). I made the correct parenting decision to a) tell him I knew; b) tell him how I knew and c) insist he stop. At 19 he could be held liable as an adult for very serious issues, and I feared he wasn't thinking this one thorugh very well. He professes he took corrective action as a result. I hope he did.
WIth this explanation, I hope you understand why I have no parental regrets on doing what I did in these years. I fully get it saying what I did, it comes with second guessing and no worries about that -- I did come here looking for advice.