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
    Sanguine Dream, 21 Jun 2006 @ 11:13am

    While I sympathize with the girl, I also don't blame the guy. Society loves to blame men when a woman accuses him of wrong-doing. The problem is that no one here knows if the girl presented herself as being older. A good bit of makeup and many 14y-o can pass at 17-18. Until you know the facts, don't pass judgement. Calling the guy a pervert is only demonstrating your own ignorance. I'm not siding with him nor the girl... I simply don't know the facts and neither do you.

    Good point Nomad91. A lot of times when a case of a guy attacking a woman comes up people will instantly jump to the woman's defense without getting all the info. Yet when a woman attacks a man its becuase he drover her to the edge or some BS double standard kicks in but thats another argument for another day.

    A 15 yr old pretends to be 18 to get a guys attention and has consentual sex with him. Most people would just call the guy a baby rapist and never bother to hear him out. Yes maybe the guy should have put more effort into discovering her real age but no one asks, "How did a 15 yr old manage to pull this off?"

    There's plenty of blame to go around but most people spend more effort trying to assign blame than they do trying to take the time to analyze the issue and come up with a REAL plan (not just some half-ass law to please some interset groups) to stop it from happening again.

    PS- I'm the poster from comment #28.

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