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
    TEOZ, 20 Jun 2006 @ 11:16pm

    YAY lets make a generation of hackers :|

    The minute you start monitoring, restricting, blocking websites from children you start creating Computer Hackers. I am a student also I had to call upon the help of a computer hacker/Cracker; If the sites were never restricted or blocked or I knew that I was being watched. It only takes a few minutes to find a hacker in my school of 1058 students. Just a few quick questions to the right people... Immediatly I foudn the noe they call 'sage' or the hunter... a lonly guy who spends most his time online and walks aroudn with a laptop and a bunch of cd's. HE didnt look like your typical geek, played soccer. Knew a lot about sport... friends with everyone within the seniors and from what I heard had been on tv talking about MMORPGs and how children can earn money from them. We went to a fast food restraunt and sat down on the tables... so much for the typical geek... he weighs 45kg :|!

    Hefirst past me a list full of every hacker in the school, who had what software that was most wanted by students and who can help with what. He then past me a cd of basic keylogging software and instructions on how to use it. Also asked me to get the details on the monitoring softaware.. name, version etc.

    From the list he gave me I found out there are 46 people who are known hackers within my school, there are 1058 students in total. Thats a pretty high ratio, SINCE IM IN NEW ZEALAND.

    Though at the end of our conversatoin this shy lonly looking boy with connections to everyone and everything told me that he had failed school, but helped many. When I got ome and put in this cd, there was documents on it on everything, from how to steal the internet password my parents to how to make it as if it was recording the desktop insted of what im doing. Though I wouldnt have known all this if my parents never forced me to. Its a new age! Communication is taking us forward! woot! oh also I figured out I can use these type of things at school to? :P though 'Sage' as they call him warned me if I messed with the school he would ruin me... eek.

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