DEAR ABBY: I have become alarmed by my mother's recent habit of "Googling" people. She digs up things about my friends and calls to report them to me. The list of those she has researched on the Internet ranges from friends I haven't talked to in years, to an ex-boyfriend of hers against whom she filed a restraining order.
This isn't the first time she has searched for information on people. I find it downright creepy. She claims she's doing it to "protect her daughters from Internet stalkers." But the problem is, SHE'S the one stalking people on the Internet. Often they aren't even people she knows well or was ever friends with.
I'm concerned that this could lead to greater degrees of paranoia and controlling behavior -- to which she is prone -- and I am only seeing a small part of a much bigger problem. What do I do? -- ALARMED IN ATLANTA
DEAR ALARMED: You can't stop your mother from trolling the Internet, which contains enormous amounts of information on just about everybody. You can, however, stop your mother from trying to control your life by "sharing" the results of her searches.
The most direct way to do it would be to tell her when she calls with her latest "news flash" that you're not interested and don't want to hear it. If she persists, tell her you're too busy to talk right now and get off the phone. Your mother may be paranoid, but she can only be controlling if you allow it.