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
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2006 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: you can't play that card

    Consider a flaw in your logic. You have essentially said that 'she was asking for it' - our society and our legal system do not agree with you.

    It's not ok to rape a woman just because she wore a provocative outfit. It's not ok to sexually assault a minor for any reason. (!)

    The flaw lies with your own logic. You are creating a false dichotomy: either the perpetrator is at fault, or the victim is at fault, with no room for anything in between. There is no reason to believe that both parties cannot hold some of the blame for the situation, although obviously the perpetrator holds the vast majority of it.

    Placing some of the blame of the victim does not make the crime "ok". What you did there, was put words in the poster's mouth in order to make an emotional response (by effectively saying that he supported the molestation of children).

    Let's say I walk down town with a sign on my chest that reads "I've got $1000 cash in my pocket, and no way to defend myself", and I get mugged. Surely, I did not deserve to be mugged, but some of the blame lies with my own naive/stupid actions.

    Forget the nature of the crime (child molestation) and look at is as you would any other. We don't find it difficult to put ::some:: fault on the victim in a Nigerian 419 scam.

    Nobody is saying that we should blame the victim for the crime, only that the victim and the parents are idiots for not being properly educated on threats to the child's well being. The simple way to keep crimes like this from happening is education, but instead they want rules and lawsuits.

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