Should You Spy On Your Kids' Every Online Move?

from the missing-the-point dept

With the news breaking yesterday concerning MySpace getting sued because a teenaged girl who used the site was sexually assaulted by someone she met through the site, it's no surprise that we're going to see more and more stories about how to "protect" kids online. There's been a glut of these stories recently, and they seem to involve more and more draconian solutions. The latest, in USA Today, is no exception, profiling a number of parents who seem to think the only answer is to monitor and record every single thing that their kids do. In fact, in one story, a mother watches from another room as her son received an instant message that included "an obscene phrase and link to a sexual website." The kid, smart enough to know not to click on it, didn't. So what happens? The mother still suspended his instant messaging privileges. That's not raising a kid. It's over-protecting. Only one family profiled seems to actually focus on parenting: teaching the kids that the world isn't always a safe place, and explaining to them the risks they might face, how to recognize them and how to avoid them. They have regular dinner discussions about those risks. In other words, they're teaching the kids how to deal with the risks, not hiding them from the risks. Over-protecting kids puts them in a difficult position when they inevitably do face a risk: they don't know how to deal with. Educating kids, teaching them how to do the right thing, and trusting them to think on their own is what parenting is about. Being over protective and then suing everyone else as soon as anything goes wrong only teaches kids how to blame others and put their head in the sand about real risks.

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  1. identicon
    Matty, 20 Jun 2006 @ 10:58pm

    Spy On Your Kids?

    I am only 17 yet have been chatting since I was 9, I am glad that no one sheltered me throughout my use of the computer, I learnt more abou the 'offline world' through the online. Though I do have to say that the mother sueing myspace is a bad parent... there are many other ways to fix the problem. Who on earth lets a child onto the internet without teaching them the knowledge on how to protect themselves first? I do admit no one taught me, but I would have to say that this modern world is different... the dangers are a lot worse than they were 8 years ago... It is a bit like those silly parents who buy there children web cams... you sit there going why.

    Now talking about this with other teens as I do admin a very large teen chatroom online, one thing that came forward is that parents do not know how to protect themselves online, so how do they teach their kids? You can't just ban children from the internet, or watch what they do, the modern world revolves around communication, teens like to talk! and the internet allows us to maintain more than one conversation with multiple people...

    If your a parent worried about your children online, I want you to goto them take their cellphone and go through the list of numbers and text emssages... maybe even dialed in and out numbers! and I bet there will be so many people in there that your children probably dont know.

    Maybe you should take the cellphone off them to and leave with no communication in the modern world. YAY Depression. You can only blame yourselves for giving them the technology in the first place.

    Ok to much rambling... I hope my point gets across.

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