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 @ 1:27pm


    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.

    You we don't know if he would have or not. The only sure fire way to know would be to catch him in the act. Why not wait and see what he would have done and then punish him if he made the wrong choice. When a parent tries to punish a kid for something they "know" they would have done all that does is make the kid think that their parent does not trust them. And the kid would be right cuz you would be watching them 24/7 trying to predict what they were gonna do. I don't care how good of a parent you think you are if your kids don't trust you it will come back to haunt you later.

    And this is not directed at the person that made comment #35 but I have to say this: Lots of parents will say, "You don't understand becuase you don't have kids." This isn't some magical statement that can shutdown any and all counter arguments from people without kids. If I had kids the first I would do is realize that I can't apply the same methods and logic that my parents used to raise me. I was born in 1980 so I was raised during the 80s and 90s. If I had a kid today there is no way I could raise her/him with the same methods and logic that were used on me back then cuz if I did how would I account for the internet?

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