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
    SPR, 21 Jun 2006 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

    BULL!!! If they are old enough to be online using a computer they are old enough to know better than to give out their phone number and other personal info, and they are old enough to be held accountable. Just like the 15 year old that got on a Sam Francisco city bus several years ago and shot and killed a stranger just because "he wanted to know what it felt like". We fail to properly teach our kids and prepare them for the real world and then when they get hurt we sue someone. The girl should instead sue the parents for failing to fulfill an implied contract. They failed to properly teach her and prepare her for life, a task they accepted when they conceived her.

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