Instead Of Parents Spying On Their Kids Online, Why Not Teach Them How To Be Good Digital Citizens

from the don't-normalize-surveillance dept

Last week, when I wrote about Senator Graham's crazy "But think of the children online!" moral panic hearing, I highlighted comments from a guy named Christopher McKenna, who runs an organization called "Protect Young Eyes," which is one of those organizations that freaks parents out about all the evil things your kids might be up to. Among many of the crazy and misleading comments McKenna made, was one that was actually accurate, but interpreted incorrectly. McKenna whined that it was impossible to "watch over" kids online all the time. His solution was to force companies (and politicians) to censor the internet with filters and other tools. Or, at the very least he seemed to think parents needed better tools to spy on their kids' online activities.

As we pointed out, another person on the panel suggested that rather than spying on our kids all the time, it would be better for parents to educate kids how to be good digital citizens, how to avoid danger, and how to better interact with the world around them. He was almost entirely ignored for the rest of the panel.

This divide in parenting techniques is a big deal, however. Thanks to new technologies it is much easier to spy on kids all the time. But we should be wary of that. Wired just had an article about how the app Life360 is ruining kids' summer as parents are tracking everything they do:

That’s because for many adolescents, adult supervision has turned into adult surveillance. Schools are adopting facial recognition technology to monitor campuses. Parents can now remotely check their child’s browsing histories and social media accounts, watch their movements via motion-sensing cameras, and track everywhere they go with location-sharing apps. In a Pew Research Center study last year, 58 percent of US parents said they sometimes or often look at their teenager’s messages, call logs, and the websites they visit. In a separate study from 2016, 16 percent said they used location-sharing apps.

Life360 is one of the many digital monitoring tools now used by millions of parents in the United States. The app functions like an enhanced version of Apple’s “Find My” feature that lets you share your location with friends or family—or what the company calls “your Circle.” In addition to location sharing, Life360 lets family members see how fast people in their circle are driving, how much battery their cell phones have, and more. The service is free to download and use, although you can pay for additional features. According to the San Francisco-based company, Life360 had over 18 million monthly active users at the end of 2018.

This is... horrifying? We're teaching the exact wrong thing to kids. We're not teaching them to think for themselves, or to have their own life skills and street (or digital) smarts. Instead, we've become so overly worried (at a time when there is significantly less risks), and so infatuated with our ability to spy on someone's every move, that we've not considered what kinds of lessons we're teaching those kids in the first place. For one, teaching them to expect to be surveilled and watched at all times seems like a really awful idea. Second, it's telling kids that parents don't trust them. And, sure, not all kids should be trusted, but defaulting to that position seems like a terrible idea.

And all of this is happening at a time when people are freaked out about Facebook and Google's "surveillance" of everyday activities -- but what are we teaching our kids when apps like Life360 go way, way further. Indeed, much of the Wired article details how Life360 wraps up its constant surveillance in terms about how it's "helping families."

The term "helicopter parenting" became popular when I was a kid, but this seems to go way, way beyond that (perhaps this is "drone parenting?"). Protecting children is certainly a worthy goal, but what exactly are we protecting them from and at what costs? So much of this surveillance seems designed to prevent the very, very rare and very, very unlikely disaster scenarios. Those are horrifying, but given how unlikely they are, the actual "benefit" of this kind of surveillance is extremely low. However, the costs -- training kids to give up their privacy, denying trust, hindering the ability of children to trust their own instincts and learn on their own -- seems much, much higher.

Filed Under: children, educating, parenting, privacy, surveillance, teaching


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  1. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 8:00am

    Instead Of Parents Spying On Their Kids Online, Why Not Teach Them How To Be Good Digital Citizens

    A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any kids of your own. Because... seriously?

    If kids were perfect little angels who were always obedient, and possessed wisdom and experience beyond their years, that might actually be a working strategy. But in the real world, things are a lot more complicated, and I for one am very happy that parental monitoring tools exist. Without them, we very easily might not have found out that my little brother was being groomed by a pedophile before it was too late.

    My folks could not have done a better job teaching their kids about privacy and safe behavior... but at the end of the day, kids make mistakes. They don't always listen, or remember, or recognize when they're in a situation that a principle they've learned might be applicable to. (Adults make these same mistakes too, for that matter!)

    Teaching kids right is a very good first line of defense, but believing that it should be the only one ("instead of") shows a literally deadly level of naivete.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 8:19am

    Fixing infinity

    Teaching kids to be adults is what parenting is all about, and it takes 20 some years to accomplish, even if the state says the age of reason is something more like half that. However, not making them aware of surveillance is probably not a good idea (and my apologies for the double negative). They should be aware of the surveillance that social media and the government are performing, at the same time I agree that it should not be added to by parents, at least after a certain age (determined by ability to accept responsibility rather than chronological).

    What should be taught is how actions have consequences. The Internet never forgets and that sexting behaviors will be remembered, along with many other bad behaviors. I don't know all of the things that parents should be teaching, but taking responsibility for ones actions is one that should be high priority. Withholding cookies or forcing time outs or grounding older children don't necessarily make that connection. It will take more communication, with examples, about what might happen, sometimes years down the road. The kids will have a hard time either believing those things could happen, or that they could happen to them.

    Getting children, who consider themselves bullet proof (for all the wrong reasons), to understand is something that parents have been trying to do for millennia, and are still working on an absolute solution. Given the variety of environments children are raised in, there will likely not be any one solution, and some workable solutions will be ignored out of hand because of ideological or religious beliefs, to the detriment of the children.

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  3. icon
    Sneeje (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 9:51am

    Re: Fixing infinity

    "What should be taught is how actions have consequences. "

    But, as you likely know, this is really the challenge. The consequences that have the greatest impact are real-world ones. After not very long, parental punishment becomes more about the parent-child relationship than a meaningful consequence.

    But real-world consequences generally can't be controlled by the parents, which is why we fear letting kids get that far. So, the question is how to let them fail in a manner that lets them really learn, but also make certain the consequences are not life-altering. It's a tradeoff that's impossible to get right consistently.

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  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    The Censored One - wearing out TD's 'flag' button, 23 Jul 2019 @ 9:51am

    A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    ... kids of your own. Because... seriously?

    we've not considered what kinds of lessons we're teaching those kids in the first place.

    Sure "we" have. But YOU loony liberals want to teach them notions that guarantee conflicts and failures, while "we" conservatives know that children are little savages who quite often need beaten into submission so that don't violate the rights of Others. That's civilizing. I'm sure you liberals are horrified, probably fainted that I was so explicit, and that's just a symptom of your weak grasp on reality.

    Masnick has somehow hit middle age without losing his naivety. It's charming. Just don't let him infect national policy with his silly notions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 9:56am

    In order to teach integrity you first need to know what integrity and ethics are.

    From all the people jumping up and down demanding a return to a feudalistic system with them in charge I seriously doubt that teaching integrity is realistic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Gary (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:07am

    Re: Ad hom

    But YOU loony liberals

    Can't open your mouth without making an ad hom, and complaining you get flagged, crybaby?

    Please please show us YOUR blog with the REAL DEAL and none of this moderation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    John85851 (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:08am

    Teaching kids to lose their privacy

    I think the main lesson we're teaching kids is that they'll always be under constant surveillance. If kids learn to give up their privacy now, there will be far fewer protests over sites like Google and Facebook.
    I think within a generation (or two), it'll be considered almost deviant to not share your information. After all, privacy is for those old folks who weren't raised by monitoring devices.

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  8. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:22am

    Child abuse is not a legitimate parenting tactic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:32am

    Re: Teaching kids to lose their privacy

    It's all about grooming acceptance of surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state. Privacy is a different rhing in truly snall towns, small villages, and generally in cultures where everyone lives in the same room and sleeps in a dogpile, or think nothing of walking around naked or partially so in front of family, friends, or strangers. Surveillance, however, is another matter, and creepy it is.

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  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    It is a good idea to get children accustomed to what life will be when they grow up, and to this end parents should keep close tabs on their children's activities around the clock, seven days a week, be relentless in your spying upon their activities and be sure to let them know you are always watching and being critical.
    You see, this will prepare them for their adult life because they will be spied upon all the time by their employer, the local law enforcement, any store you walk into and any financial transactions. It will all be monitored for compliance with the whims of our overlords. Might as well get used to it at a young age and then they will simply think it the way it should be until they get an education, and that is why the overlords are destroying our education system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Agammamon, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:38am

    If good digital citizens have nothing to hide then good digital citizens have nothing to fear from their parent's surveillance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:38am

    Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    while "we" conservatives know that children are little savages who quite often need beaten into submission so that don't violate the rights of Others.

    I am assuming this is satirizing our most frequent troll, and not the actual troll. Because, wtf?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    If kids were perfect little angels who were always obedient, and possessed wisdom and experience beyond their years, that might actually be a working strategy.

    The entire point of the post is that they are NOT perfect little angels who are always obedient. That's WHY you need to teach them how to deal with situations on their own, without parents watching over them all the time. Because, even if you think you're watching over them all the time, you aren't. And eventually they're going to face a situation where they, alone, will need to make important decisions.

    And parenting is about preparing them to make that decision.

    Teaching kids right is a very good first line of defense, but believing that it should be the only one ("instead of") shows a literally deadly level of naivete.

    Teaching kids that their parents are hovering over them all the time and watching everything they do has tremendous negative consequences. This doesn't say ignore your kids or don't be involved in their lives and know what they're up to, but there's a MASSIVE difference between surveilling them and teaching them how to be good people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Ad hom

    Please please show us YOUR blog with the REAL DEAL and none of this moderation.

    He cannot, because Blogger is owned by Google, and Google is the root of all evil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    TFG, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    There's a significant difference between constant surveillance, of the sort done by the Chinese government, and checking on activities.

    You know how my parents handled this type of thing? They would actually sit beside me and ask me what I was doing. We'd have a conversation on a regular basis about computer activities, what was fine, what wasn't, and certain things to never do. I was taught to ask them in cases where I wasn't sure.

    I was not a fully free-range kid, but I wasn't under constant vigilance either. Friends and caretakers were always vetted. I never stayed at the house of anyone my parents hadn't met and talked to. They didn't have to track my location 24/7 because I was always supposed to tell them where I was going, and when I was old enough to be out on my own, I was supposed to call at a specific time.

    There is absolutely value in certain parental controls and limited monitoring of online activity. But the point, Mason, is that it is entirely possible to keep your kid safe without forcing them to live in a fascist surveillance regime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:51am

    Because these parents have no idea what a "Good Digital Citizen" is?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    NoahVail (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:54am

    More Watched = Less Capable

    Kids learn how to handle experiences by handling experiences. Parents break that process when they insert themselves into it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    takitus (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 10:54am

    Re: Clichés

    ... makes me wonder if you have any kids of your own. Because... seriously?

    Ah, such a valuable observation! The reasoning of the article is immediately demolished by this challenge.

    But in the real world, things are a lot more complicated...

    Again! The richness and freshness of these insights!

    I for one am very happy that parental monitoring tools exist. Without them, we very easily might not have found out that...

    A bad thing might have happened, anecdotally! It was stopped by parental monitoring--we claim! Although the commenter makes no argument as to why this justifies the extreme parental surveillance detailed by Mike, clearly it is so justified--things like this anecdote might almost happen again! And Life360, et al, will, uh, stop that!

    The next time I wonder whether the occasional crime justifies facial recognition, location data sharing, or worldwide dragnet signals collection, I'll recall the overwhelming argument made above--surveillance, generally speaking, is a good thing, since bad things might happen otherwise. It might not sound like much, but since it's from a parent, it must have deep wisdom that I can’t fully fathom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    100% agree.

    And I brought my kids up without any surveillance software at all. I do check the router logs from time to time, but I figure if my kids stumble across anything unsavory online, they'll likely either drop it immediately, or let me know about it. Because they trust me (usually) to know what's safe and what's not online.

    I don't make arbitrary rules for their computer/mobile device use. I DO limit the amount of time they have on the devices. As a result, they prioritize what they want to get done in the time allotted before they begin, meaning they don't really have the time to goof off and get into trouble. Because if they do that, they can't do the things they've been waiting all day to get to do.

    I know they've got more unsupervised access at friends' homes, so giving them a fully unlocked device with a hidden net nanny seems silly; they'll just play around somewhere else. But because I've shaped their view of the value and utility of computing devices, I know that they're going to carry the same attitudes with them wherever they end up, creating their own defenses instead of continually trying to get around any I may put in their way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    Has it ever crossed your mind that aggressive control of kids makes then easy targets for someone who appears to offer sympathy and understanding?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    bobob, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:04am

    No parent of any generation has been able to totally control their kids' environment. The ability to constantly spy on them to ensure they never have to deal with anything they aren't prepared for would make the kids ill prepared for being in the real world as adults. Anyone who has ever learned to think for him/herself has learned by exploring and fucking up, not by being protected from their own curiosity. Creativity comes from doing things differently than one has been taught.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Clichés

    One of the first things I taught my kids about online safety is how to check for monitoring software on the devices they're using. I left it to them to figure out how to disable it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention that if you're creating fences around them to protect them from "bad things" then they spend all their time figuring out how to jump the fences you put in their way instead of spending it learning how to avoid the bad things you warned them about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    Might be, but I remember when I was young, my mother was getting similar advice from "friends" with no satire intended.

    People really do still raise their kids that way, Mike. And it's only two generations back that it was the norm in America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    NoahVail (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    The challenge is that parents are zeroing in on fully controlling kids' environments.
    For most of history, kids had far more unsupervised play time than they do now. Now not only are they under constant scrutiny, we've erased free ranges by walling kids in w/ endless subdivisions & blanketed everywhere else with No Trespassing signs.

    We're undermining childhood as effectively as anyone can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    Unfortunately, I think you're right.

    But letting them live out their fantasies ruling over their children doesn't seem like a very wise idea either. It just raises another generation of people who have no understanding of integrity or critical thinking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    One of the first things I go through with kids when teaching digital safety is creating a list of things they value, and who they may not want to know about those things.

    Kids are smart enough that once they've done that, they can figure out pretty easily how they should or shouldn't reveal PII.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    Often they're the same people who think "critical thinking" is when you think negative thoughts about yourself and those around you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    NoahVail (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:38am

    Preparing for the improbable

    Surveillance seems designed to prevent the very, very rare and very, very unlikely disaster scenarios

    This is true because nearly every justification for surveillance is a lie. Police & legislators hammer us w/ a false narrative (ever amplified by the news) that kids are at meaningful risk from kidnapping. The truth is that kidnappings by strangers are vanishingly rare.

    Historically, the greatest human risk to kids has been sexual and other forms of abuse, often by larger and older kids. And the reason that abuse was a persistent threat is because (historically) kids knew that cops weren't likely to protect them.

    Fortunately, that last bit has been changing - which leaves kids pretty dang safe to spend hours away from adults.
    If kids had any adult-free places to range w/o fear of arrest, that is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:42am

    When did "acting like an antagonist of YA Dystopian Fiction" become the standard for "good parenting"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:47am

    I Don't Look Forward To Having Children

    It's decisions like this that sculpt their whole world and I'm not sure there is a right answer. On one hand self-sufficiency is the greatest skill a child can learn. On the other hand an ounce prevention...

    Consider this question in a different situation though. Should you keep batteries in your smoke detector or just teach your kids how to smell smoke? Should you pick them up from school or just right your address on a piece of paper? No matter the situation you do everything you can.

    But if you look back, a child is gone, and there was even one thing you could have done to save them you regret it forever. It's not an easy sell to say "teach 'em, they'll be totes fine".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    I know from casual browsing that there's at least one satirist that posts occasionally, but he's usually really quite bad at it. This one is pretty close to the real deal so it can go either way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 12:22pm

    Use of the tools alone is not the problem

    A parent using these kinds of tools is not the same thing as parents constantly surveilling their children. The problems are not with the existence and use of these kinds of tools. It's with how parents use them and how they react to their children's choices.

    The fact is teaching a child takes repetition, practice and examples. Moreso even than teaching an adult. If you use these tools to work with your child and openly explain to them that the tool is there so you can help them see what they should avoid and what is ok and respect those boundaries in your use of it then it is not harmful. Make sure they understand that you're not going to watch over every little thing they do but will be aware of dangers that crop up on the internet almost daily to share with them how to recognize and avoid them.

    Another way to help use this to build trust with them instead of tear it down is to share some liberties with them as well. One easy one is that since they know you can see their location at virtually any moment give the same to them. There are plenty of easy ways to share that with someone for free.

    Yes children should be given freedom to make their own choices without parental involvement to a degree. As the child gets older those opportunities should certainly be increased. It is also true that they need to be watched over by parents and other adults far more than adults do. Doing that is not teaching them that surveillance is ok in and of itself. It depends far more on how you work with your child than just the fact that you are doing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Re: I Don't Look Forward To Having Children

    This is exactly why I really struggle with Mike's take on this. He has some good points as children should definitely be given opportunities to make choices without parental involvement and freedom to do things without us hovering over them, but the idea that surveillance by a parent is teaching children that surveillance is always ok is just wrong IMHO. It depends far more on how you work with your child than just the fact that you are watching them.

    I nearly lost one of my sons to a serious accident that highlights this to me. We had taught him hundreds of times not to do something. Talked to him and showed him why it was dangerous. It didn't change the fact that he just did not care in the moment. Surveilling your children is only bad if it's not done honestly and openly with open conversations with them about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 12:37pm

    Re: More Watched = Less Capable

    This is taking the idea to the opposite extreme. Kids learn by handling experiences with the love and help of others. Their parents should absolutely be big players in this.

    Yes there are parents that do it to far too great an extreme that prevents children from learning. That doesn't mean not doing it at all is the right answer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 12:41pm

    Re: A headline like that makes me wonder

    Why you still here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    ECA (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 1:03pm

    Why not..

    Teach them the old things...
    LIKE PRIVACY.. and stick to a few laws created..
    Like NOT SHARING your SS# with anyone except the bank and your employer.
    All other agencies ARE SUPPOSED to create their own system,but this was soon forgotten, and Every Corp and business and Everything wants to use your SS#...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 1:12pm

    Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    But YOU loony liberals want to teach them notions that guarantee conflicts and failures

    You mean like teaching religion in schools?

    Because if there's one thing that's going to guarantee that your kid is a maladjusted simpleton it's religion. And that's conservatives pushing for that garbage because they know they're on a decline, and convincing adults to believe in santa claus is far more complicated than indoctrinating children.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 1:46pm

    Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    But YOU loony liberals want to teach them notions that guarantee conflicts and failures,

    More like you conservatives teach and practice intolerance of anybody who has different views and culture from yours. You then wonder why a large part of society wants nothing to do with you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Has it ever crossed your mind that aggressive control of kids makes then easy targets for someone who appears to offer sympathy and understanding?

    No, for two reasons.

    1) The monitoring software didn't get installed until the parents started to worry about a few minor warning signs, which then turned out to be all too genuine! (And before you ask how I know that for sure, it's because I'm the one who installed it, as the tech-savvy one in the family.)
    2) Any parenting at all will necessarily involve some degree of "control of kids." It inherently establishes some baseline level of rules and norms that bad people can exploit by appealing to adolescent urges for "freedom." That vulnerability is always going to be there (barring some unforeseeable change in the fundamentals of human nature, of course) regardless of parenting style.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    TFG, 23 Jul 2019 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    1) The monitoring software didn't get installed until the parents started to worry about a few minor warning signs, which then turned out to be all too genuine! (And before you ask how I know that for sure, it's because I'm the one who installed it, as the tech-savvy one in the family.)

    Which is therefore a measured response in response to concerning circumstances, as opposed to a default state of general surveillance. The response you describe in the anecdote is reasonable.

    Life360 with its state of total surveillance is not, as it is currently being applied as the default thing.

    Why is this hard to understand? The argument is not for complete hands off. The argument is for not constantly surveilling every aspect of every kids life with justifying circumstance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Professor Ronny, 23 Jul 2019 @ 3:11pm

    Letting Kids Grow

    My kids are grown and gone so surveilling them is not an issue. However, what is important to me personally is the need for parents to help their kids grow into adults.

    I teach at a large State university. Part of my job in the past was advising students on what courses to take and what major made sense for them based on their interests and abilities. I have had numerous advising sessions with these "adult" college students where their parents came with them. In many cases, the parents did most or even all of the talking. On some occasions, I found it impossible to get the students to say a single word. These were all adults who were 18 or over.

    So, yea, watch your kids online. But give them room to grow into adults and teach them what they need to know to function as adults so they don't need you to hold their hands and speak for them when they go to university.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 23 Jul 2019 @ 4:10pm

    Times like these makes me glad the anti-vaxxers are around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re:

    Has it ever crossed your mind that aggressive control of kids makes then easy targets for someone who appears to offer sympathy and understanding?

    Wow, that is a particularly ugly bit of victim-blaming right there!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 4:24pm

    I monitor my teen daughter on her computer using parental controls and my daughters iphone has limitations (like the camera being disabled). So....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 4:46pm

    Back in high school I always try to find ways around the technological filters and limitations out of spite.

    Wanted to read a 'safe for work' webcomic that was blocked by the poorly implemented filter for vague reasons? Inject the images and alt text into another page.

    Needed to watch a youtube video for an assignment but youtube was restricted and wouldn't play it? Bypass the block by abusing a glitch in the the multi-account log-in system.

    Wanted something to do for the 6 hours daily spent riding a school bus due to a poorly planned cross-county bus route? Use obscure methods to get pokemon emerald running on a chromebook (this was before chromebooks could natively run android apps).

    Now imagine if a parent tried to put those limitations in place? At home: a place where I would have much more free time and a parent that most likely is not as tech savvy as the admin that put those school filters in place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re: Fixing infinity

    Which is why we teach (or should teach) kids morality. At the most fundamental level, that's what morality is: humankind's accumulated lab notes on the subject of cause-and-effect on long-term scales.

    It's a very easy lesson to teach someone "don't touch that hot stove", because when they get it wrong, the negative consequences are immediate and obvious. But when cause and effect occur over a time scale measured in months, years or even decades, that's when things get trickier.

    It's hard to explain to a young kid not to give in to his natural urges and stuff his face with sweets and junk food because in 10-20 years it will lead to issues such as obesity and diabetes that will greatly degrade his quality of life and end up killing him. It's hard to explain to a young kid that following his natural urges to lash out and hit people who anger him, because this leads to a cycle of violence that will eventually result in injury, legal problems, and likely end in death. It's hard to explain to an adolescent not to give in to his natural urges and engage in promiscuous sexual behavior because this can all-too-easily lead to unplanned pregnancies which negatively impact multiple lives, or to diseases which greatly decrease quality of life and, in many cases, eventually kill him.

    These are cases where the cause and effect is still just as real, but nowhere near as immediate or obvious, as touching a hot stove. But if you properly educate a child about morality, and teach him about avoiding the aptly-named "deadly sins" of gluttony, wrath, and lust, then the avoidance of long-term harmful behavior which leads directly, if not swiftly, to misery, decreased quality of life, and premature death, comes along with it for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    GayNakedGuy (profile), 23 Jul 2019 @ 5:09pm

    Parents should parent!

    Of course some common sense oversight is necessary while raising children, but if they are raised properly and with good guidance, they will hopefully make good decisions on their own. Any attempt to helicopter parent and over-protect kids will just make them better at hiding their illicit behavior! Trust is key!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    I am assuming this is satirizing our most frequent troll, and not the actual troll. Because, wtf?

    Hmmm... nope, checks out.

    There is no low blue won't sink to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2019 @ 6:09pm

    Re:

    Well there is no way around the iPhone controls I've put in place (like a disabled camera and disabled app installation). She has an iMac in her room but no Webcam capabilities. We have access to her social media accounts. We log her web activities (well her mom does - I'd rather not).

    We can do this. Sure she's tried to find ways around it but she knows we'll catch her and consequences will ensue. We try to keep up and have done good so far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re:

    there is no way around the iPhone controls I've put in place

    How sure are you of that? Just for starters, have you disabled the Factory Reset option? (Is that even possible?) A friend of mine works as a caretaker for adults with developmental disabilities, and says it's a constant struggle to keep the ones who need their phone access restricted for whatever reason from finding out ways to remove or work around the monitoring software. If these things are so full of holes that people who are literally mentally disabled can work around them (or find people to help them work around them) with ease... how strong do you really think they'd be against a determined teenager?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Did the parents try talking to the child before looking to install monitoring software?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 4:37am

    Re:

    Indeed. More simply stated, my first thought about the title was, "'Cuz its way harder, duh!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Fixing infinity

    ^This. I was taught to think for myself and to question everything from an early age. I was also taught the moral principles that underline my thinking process. As a result, when I left my native Ireland to live in the UK, I came with my own convictions and a set of values that has kept me out of trouble for nigh on 50 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 5:29am

    Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    Sure "we" have. But YOU loony liberals want to teach them notions that guarantee conflicts and failures, while "we" conservatives know that children are little savages who quite often need beaten into submission so that don't violate the rights of Others. That's civilizing.

    Beating kids into submission makes them pretend to behave while around the beat-y people and go nuts when the beat-y people aren't around. It also teaches them to follow authority figures without question, even if these figures lead them down the wrong path.

    It's better to teach kids to understand why some behaviours are harmful to themselves and to others and to impose consequences on such behaviours than to hit them "just because."

    I was smacked as a child and had pocket money docked and was grounded as a teen and like to think I turned out okay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    Because if there's one thing that's going to guarantee that your kid is a maladjusted simpleton it's religion. And that's conservatives pushing for that garbage because they know they're on a decline, and convincing adults to believe in santa claus is far more complicated than indoctrinating children.

    Am I a maladjusted simpleton, AC?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 7:33am

    Who is monitoring the monitors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    TFG, 24 Jul 2019 @ 8:27am

    Re: Parents should parent!

    See, GayNakedGuy gets it. Be more like GayNakedGuy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    Thad (profile), 24 Jul 2019 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    ...why?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    Am I a maladjusted simpleton, AC?

    If you believe in a jealous, imaginary thing in the sky then yes, that's exactly what you are.

    Sorry Wendy, but people's reliance on religious dogma has been used and continues to be used to justify some of the most vile conduct ever recorded. Belief in a god serves nothing apart from a pathetic attempt to rationalize something positive about what happens after death.

    The sooner this god bullshit is put out to pasture the better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2019 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re:

    Well there is no way around the iPhone controls I've put in place

    Only so long as she uses that iPhone, but you have also given young a men a handy lure, come with me and use my unlocked phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Jhon Smith, 25 Jul 2019 @ 12:41am

    My "Parenting for Dummies" book goes on sale tomorrow. It contains an e-mail list as an added bonus, plus, one chapter from my self-help "How to be a Millionaire" book

    Order yours today. Only 10 000 copies being printed. Get yours for only $100

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have

    Good luck with that; atheism is the philosophical new kid on the block. Replacing belief in a moral system predicated on religious notions of morality with philosophies based on "rational self-interest" aren't working very well so far, are they?

    Note that I'm not name-calling over this; you're entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 2:24am

    Re: Re: Parents should parent!

    That's why I gave him an Insightful vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2019 @ 5:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you

    Replacing belief in a moral system predicated on religious notions of morality with philosophies based on "rational self-interest" aren't working very well so far, are they?

    What "moral system" are we talking about Wendy?

    The one that justifies discrimination based on sexual preference?
    The one that justified moving pedophile priests around so they were free to molest other children?
    The one that emboldens its members to write christ-like slogans such as "god hates fags?"
    The one that emboldens its members to support an orange tinted fucktard who embodies everything but christ-like traits as a moral hero?

    If that's what god is dictating for a "moral system", then I'd postulate that he's one fucked up piece of shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Jul 2019 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if you have any

    It also teaches them that beating others into submission is a legitimate tactic for those with sufficient authority or just physical power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 26 Jul 2019 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder if

    Cherry-picking; I don't do that. Also, wolves have been known to dress in sheep's clothing to make themselves seem less wolfy.

    Why are gross generalisations restricted to people of faith while doing this to anyone else is considered prejudicial?

    In case you haven't noticed, no one has a lock on morality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2019 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A headline like that makes me wonder

    Cherry-picking; I don't do that.

    I could certainly go on about how your role should be limited to being a brood mare for the state and how you should not have had the audacity to assert your opinion to a man since you're a woman (both are outlined clearly in the bible, and unfortunately the former is becoming more of a reality in the US recently due to evangelicals utilizing a 2-time divorced whore-fucker as their spokesperson). I mean, if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound.

    The question is exactly how many of the cherries are you willing to overlook or dismiss before the herd kicks you off the island? How many more examples should I cite before we can both agree that I'm not grabbing just a few "isolated" items? I'm game, if you have the time.

    Why are gross generalisations restricted to people of faith while doing this to anyone else is considered prejudicial?

    You're really not implying that those "gross generalizations" are limited to a minority of christians are you? Being a "pillar of morality" comes with great responsibility, does it not?

    In case you haven't noticed, no one has a lock on morality.

    While the article seems to point to authoritarianism as the problem, the underlying fundamental principle at play is still the justification of horrible things in the name of god. Preconditioning someone to that makes them more susceptible to authoritarian principles, not less.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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