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
    Teph, 21 Jun 2006 @ 4:11pm

    I think everyone seems to take too much of an ABSOLUTIST point of view on this subject.

    BenH seems to think because she's young that she's able to be completely manipulated, and that no fault lies with her because the big bad man is a smooth talker, and who's commands she must obey with no invervention from her own BRAIN or self control.

    Nick and others seem to think the opposite, that she's a complete dumbass and possibly went on the date to get raped, or at the least 'get some'.

    Both views are obviously rediculous. I don't think we have any way to know exactly which view better describes this situation, but you simply cannot side with BenH's unrealistic point of view.

    As described in the original article about this, the young man (19) did NOT misrepresent himself to the young girl, and if anything is possible SHE misrepresented herself to him. Strike 1 against the girl. Then she WILLINGLY meets him after school, and goes out with him for a movie and dinner before going back to him apartment.

    In NO WAY did this girl not have control over the situation until she got into his apartment. If she had refused to go back to his place but was FORCED to anyway, it would've been stated in the article. It just simply wouldve have. The article would've IMMEDIATELY been esculated to 14 girl RAPED through myspace, not just sexually assaulted. (ok, maybe not, but I think you get my point).

    No one gives these children the credit their due. They DO have brains and DO make decisions for themselves at a very young age. Most children are manipulating their parents before they can talk, and certainly before they're a teen.

    To put it simply, I MUST agree with the others, even if just slightly. She MUST, in some degree, be held accountable for what happened to her. A drunk driver doesnt MEAN to run over a pedestrian, but its still at the least vehicular manslaughter. Did they mean too? Doesn't matter. It happened and they pay some sort of price for it.
    Taking away her accountablility for her part of what happened is just as bad as the crime commited in the first place.

    If you don't help her understand how dumb a choice it was she made, she won't ever learn. And not learning from such a tragic mistake would, well... in fact, be... tragic.

    This doesn't mean that the young man shouldn't have HIS TESTICLES removed from his person for taking advantage of the young girl, but don't act like he broke into her house and kidnapped and raped her.

    For all you know, she set it all up so she could cry 'Rape'!

    Quite honestly it could just as likely be the case as much as anything else.
    Make assumptions based on the known facts as much as you possibly can before making your assumptions. The KNOWN facts actually point to her being at fault more (ok, or just as much) as the guy.

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