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
    SortaLikeJake, 21 Jun 2006 @ 6:50am

    Not that hard...

    Parents and kids should have openly communicative relationships. (Yeah, right. When has that ever happend?) Barring that, it's not that hard to install keyloggers or other secret programs on computers to track you kid's moves. Sure it's sneaky, but you're a lazy parent anyway, right? For example, what active mother doesn't know that her underaged daughter is trying to sneak off to be with someone she met on the net? Besides, our kids are smarter than us when it comes to computerizing and the intranet. Parenting is not YOUR job, it's the job of the (insert organisation)!

    Of COUSE this poor, innocent, little girl is nowhere near at fault here. How was she supposed to know that the anonymous stranger from the internet was some perv that likes to molest young girls? When has that ever happened in the history of the civilised world? Too bad the roles weren't reversed though. Could you imagine how hot it would have been if it had been a 15-year old boy hooking up with an college-aged chick? Why, we'd be patting him on the back, wishing we were him!

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