Parents Are Never Going To Be Able To Monitor All Kids Online Activities

from the but-think-of-the-children! dept

Over the past few years, the "but think of the children!" crowd constantly talks up the importance of having parents monitor their kids' online activities, and often puts out studies like the following one, bemoaning the fact that not enough parents are monitoring their kids enough. Of course, the simple fact is that parents are never going to be able to fully monitor what their kids do online (at least without seriously pissing off their kids). If kids want to chat online, they're going to find a way to be able to do so. Perhaps rather than focusing so much on spying on everything that kids do, the focus should be more on educating them to the dangers that are out there, the laws that they should be aware of and the risks of not obeying them. We have this tendency in our society to overprotect kids, which often has the opposite effect: not preparing them properly to face the real world. Kids who understand the risks tend to make better choices online. As for those who are constantly spied on and overly protective? We'll again quote Richard Posner in one of his legal rulings:
"Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it."
Parents should be aware of what their kids are doing online by talking to them about it, and helping to educate their kids on the risks they face, but that doesn't mean spying on their every move. That will only backfire.

Filed Under: education, internet usage, kids, monitoring, parents


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  1. identicon
    Rose M. Welch, 28 Aug 2008 @ 3:21pm

    Well, if by fidelity you mean loyalty, it's still here. But some couples are quite happy being open or polygamous or whatever they call it nowadays. That's got about zip to do with loyalty.

    As for the perfect, airbrushed women, they're everywhere. They're in stores on walls, on billboards, all over the Internet, the television, movies, in music... You name it. There really isn't anything that I can do about that. But I can try to keep them from looking at pornography that degrades women, in hopes that he won't learn to associate degrading a woman with having sex with a woman.

    Also, like most men, my husband looked at pornography and, as a computer tech, still sees alot of it and he's perfectly happy with my body, which sure as hell does not look like it did when I was younger and we didn't have three children. :)

    There will always be men and woman that demand the Hollywood version of perfection, and they will pay for it or be solely disappointed in life and it won't be because of Playboy. Is pornography the perfect solution? No, but as far as parental doozies go, it's a good one.

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