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 @ 11:29am

    You know what! Parents cannot win... They are always blamed no matter what postion they take. "They don't parent enough" and the one in the article above "over parenting!" Just lock all of us parents up and get it over with. When you become one yourself lock yourself up becuase you'll either be a neglagent or overprotective parent. Either way your evil and you deserve "ALL" the blame for what your kid does even if you won the parent of the world award.

    In ref to the kid with the IM'd porn link. You know damn well if mom wasn't watching he would have clicked on that link. He knew his mother was watching. If it was my kid I'd remove IM myself. Thats good parenting not over protecting. A kid does not need IM anyway. Who says a kid "needs" to be online IMing???? Only a kid would it thats who.

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