Hi, We're Watching You, Love Mom And Dad

from the trust,-it's-so-last-millennium dept

While I can understand the desire for parents to know where their kids are at any particular moment, it seems worrisome that many may simply rely on technology to do the parenting job for them. This isn’t new of course. The TV has been the babysitter of a new generation for a few generations now. However, with all these new systems designed to keep tabs on your kids anywhere, at any time, you have to wonder if parents will start to believe that somehow this technology makes their kids safer — rather than teaching them how to be smart and careful about where they go and what they do. Also, when the kids know that they’re constantly being spied on, it makes them resentful towards their parents, and seems only more likely to make the kids do things specifically to get back at them. That’s why the latest (in a long line) system for parents to spy on their kids via their mobile phones sounds particularly bad. In order to keep the system from being used surreptitiously, it sends regular text messages to the phone reminding the user that they’re being watched. It’s like little love notes saying “we don’t trust you!” over and over again. There certainly are some situations where using this type of monitoring technology will make sense, but as a blanket solution, it just seems pointless. It will build resentment, and cause the kids to leave their mobile phones somewhere as “decoys” (perhaps making them less safe if they do need the phone), or will cause any kidnappers (who parents think this foils) to simply throw out kids’ mobile phones.

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