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
    sensible, 21 Jun 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Whos to blame then?

    I think the parents are totally correct in suing the unfeeling and heartless company that facilitated the introduction of their sweet delicate innocent daughter to the evil person who tainted her for the rest of her life.

    The construction company that created those evil roads and highways should be put on the stand and made responsible for their evil acts of creating such an open system to transport anyone regardless of age or intent to wherever they would like to go.

    What? No security checkpoints? No tracking of who goes where? No accountability. Evil EVIL road construction companies.. it will be the end of civilization as we know it!!!

    -----
    Honestly, these people should be put in jail for frivolous litigation and should have to pay libel to myspace for the bad publicity. Social services should also come and take their daughter away since they are obviously bad parents.

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