“It Is My Duty to Spy on My Kids”

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This comment came in response to the post by Mean Girls’ author Rosalind Wiseman about whether or not to spy on a child’s online activity:

There are so many monitoring apps out there, and the aim of using them is to keep loved ones safe. I don’t think it is too controlling of me or any parent to use monitoring apps (e.g. xnspy) to track a child’s GPS location history to make sure that he/she is safe. I am no authority on the subject of parental care, but I feel that it is important to let them know that we are watching them only to keep them safe and to guide them to learn to respect the concept of privacy as they grow into adults.

Wow. It is mind-blowing that the writer believes that kids will learn to respect the concept of privacy while getting the opposite from their parents. And it is equally troubling that the writer thinks that tracking a child’s location somehow magically keeps the kid safe. It’s hard to remember, I guess, that the phone is not a force field.

My fear is that because it is so easy and normal to track everything from a lost iPhone to a FedEx package, it will someday become illegal NOT to track our kids. After all, we can do it, it’s  easy to do it, and many others are doing it. So why would we “expose” our kids to the dangers of being off our radar when it’s so easy to keep them under constant supervision?

Believe it or not, I think this directly relates to punishing the parents who let their kids wait in the car a few minutes. (Then again, I am a little obsessed). Anyway, their crime is clearly NOT that they put their kids in danger or we would also arrest the parents who drove their kids (which puts them in danger) or took them out of the car to walk across the parking lot (which also puts them in danger). The real, unstated crime is PARENTS TAKING THEIR EYES OFF THEIR KIDS, EVEN FOR A BRIEF MOMENT. Parents are off the hook if something tragic happens while they’re with or watching their kids. But they are already considered guilty of negligence the second they aren’t.

So I do fear that constant child supervision, in person or electronically, will soon be the norm, and then perhaps the law. And it will be sentiments like that comment writer’s — “I  don’t think it is too controlling of me to track a child to make sure that he/she is safe” that will convince politicians to pile on.- L (who hopes she is being more dystopian than called for!)

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Now imagine if you'd had to wear one of these when YOU were a kid.

Now imagine if you’d had to wear one of these when YOU were a kid.

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58 Responses to “It Is My Duty to Spy on My Kids”

  1. Backroads August 10, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Just yesterday we had an alleged kidnapping incident where a kid was able to escape the truck and call his dad using one tracking safety device or another.

    Hooray and all that, but I was amused to find one of the first news comments was of how the the article was now an ad for the device for fear mongering parents.

  2. ChicagoDad August 10, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    There are so many monitoring apps out there, and the aim of using them is to keep loved ones safe you afraid, paranoid and keep your eyes locked on some app and its advertisements. I don’t think it is too controlling of me or any parent to use monitoring apps (e.g. xnspy) to track a child’s GPS location history to make sure that he/she is safe. I am no authority on the subject of parental care, but I feel that it is important to let them know that we are watching trust them only to keep themselves safe and to guide them to learn to respect the concept of privacy as they grow into adults.
    FTFY

  3. ChicagoDad August 10, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    @Backroads, as my great-grandfather used to say, “There is no app for resourcefulness” 😉

  4. that mum August 10, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I honestly think these devices would be better used for tracking elderly dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. I am constantly hearing news reports about missing elders, not so much kids.

  5. lollpoplover August 10, 2016 at 11:43 am #

    It’s funny you posted about GPS and tracking children. Back-to-school tips are coming out now! How to keep you kids SAFE (not by teaching them pedestrian/street safety and practicing their school routine) but TRACKING them.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/back-school-safety-tech-keep-kids-safe-n625696

    Tracking does not equal safety! Stop selling me time-stealing monitoring systems for my kids. What I need is coupons for all of these ridiculously expensive back-to-school supplies! My kids have handled their daily commute to school successfully without me watching and tracking their every movement. I still do it with them when it fits my schedule to get some exercise, but it’s really not that hard or dangerous to get to school. How do you have time to do anything in your life if you’re constantly stalking your kids? This is obsessive and unhealthy!

    I do see these devises as useful for autistic/runaway students. But why can’t we expect our kids to do what we tell them to do? Setting this up like you want to catch them doing something wrong is not a positive parenting practice. Most kids deserve our trust. Treating them like they don’t deserve trust sets up kids who will go behind your back to take risks. Spying is a stalking/controlling behavior and the app is more for the mental welfare of the stalking parent than any actual safety benefit to the student.

  6. railmeat August 10, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    That reader’s comment is precisely what you get when you substitute feelings for thinking. It’s beginning to look to me like that whole ‘enlightenment’ thing was pretty much a waste of time. As a culture, we seem to be going back to a default setting of ‘if I feel it, it must be true’.

    . . . sigh.

  7. ChicagoDad August 10, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    My great-grandfather didn’t actually say that. What he actually said was “We eat lutefisk to remind us of the old country…and why we left…but you still can’t have any lefse until you finish your lutefisk” He was a hard man, and we’ve embellished his words over the years. It’s the priciple that matters, though.

  8. Workshop August 10, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    How very Orwellian.

    “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

    And privacy means being monitored all the time.

    As thatmum mentioned, there are good uses for this technology. I’m also okay with the government using tracking technology to spy on people who are planning on blowing us up, but there’s a large distance between “let’s monitor our children because that will keep them safe” and “let’s monitor this person who all evidence points to being a terrorist.”

    Our children can learn how to develop good online habits, and at early stages that means watching what they do as well as using teachable moments to delve deeper into the whys of our behavior. I have the computer in a main room in the house, because in my house we do not do things on the computer that require hiding in a bedroom. See how that works?

  9. theresa August 10, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    I think that while they are learning the basic of internet. Keeping an eye on them as they learn. Is not big deal. To its like holding your kid hand while they learn street safety.

  10. Coasterfreak August 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    I think I might have mentioned this on here before, but back when my youngest kid started driving (he’s the only one who got a drivers license before turning 18), my wife found an app that we could use to track him and make sure he’s where he’s supposed to be. I was against it, but lost the battle.

    Anyway, the problem is that this app is frequently wrong. Three times my wife left the house in a huff to go and bust him not being where he was supposed to be, only to find out when she got there that he was, in fact, exactly where he was supposed to be, and not where the app said he was.

    So all this app has ended up doing is making my wife more paranoid and less trusting. And has made nobody safer.

  11. MichaelF August 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    “I am no authority on the subject of parental care, but I feel that it is important to let them know that we are watching”

    When I hear the line “I’m not a….” its time to stop listening cause you know the rest is going to be verbal diarrhea.

    Just as in this case. I suppose its important for kids to know we are watching so they behave, and then later on learn how to get out from under the thumb of Mom & Dad the spy so the kids can go wild. Cause you know, and I am no expert, once the hormones kick in the kids will want their freedom, and will do anything to get it.

  12. Mom August 10, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    “Parents are off the hook if something tragic happens while they’re with or watching their kids.”

    Ummm…not really. Let’s see recent examples….the toddler in Disney who was taken by an alligator (that dad fought!)….the gorilla/zoo mishap mom was with her children she took her eyes off the oldest momentairily…
    Parents are never off the hook. We are NEVER to take our eyes off of our children and if we have multiples well then you just better be on your game! Because if you tether them to you (unless you are baby wearing) its abuse because you are treating them like a dog. If you help one child and the other child gets into trouble you are clearly not ready to be a parent of multiple children and/or you should have stopped breeding and/or apparently you should be sequestered in your home.

    I was at a church picnic and got the evil eye and called out that I should be watching my child better. She was running to ME and fell. She was getting herself back up and coming to me when a flock of “real moms” came to the “rescue” to investigate that she was ok. (For the record, she was fine–not even a skinned knee–just some dirt on her dress). Really! How could I just sit there. SMH.

  13. BL August 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    “Wow. It is mind-blowing that the writer believes that kids will learn to respect the concept of privacy while getting the opposite from their parents.”

    We could beat them to make them non-violent.

    We could scream swearwords at them to make them speak politely.

    Makes perfect sense.

  14. Jenni Stahlmann August 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Raising a generation of kids who have become accustomed to constant supervision feels so Orwellian. It’s as if we are conditioning the future population to feel at home with Big Brother — be their parents or one day the government.

  15. Caiti August 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    I wonder how much of this is related to feeling like we need to know all the information all the time. The internet gives us information at our fingertips, and as this became the norm maybe it started to seem vital to keep oneself current in all subjects, including our kids. Because in the comment the writer specifically mentions tracking a child’s location HISTORY. The writer wants to know where the kid went. Maybe this was an oversight but the writer never mentioned wanting to know where the kid is NOW. And anyway, knowing your child’s location doesn’t tell you if he or she is safe, but it does provide a way for you to find out– by driving to the most recent ping on the map, ostensibly you always have the ability to find the child at any time which would provide that information. So maybe the whole thing is less about safety (since, as stated, we don’t forbid lots of truly unsafe things) and more a reaction to the discomfort we’ve developed about lacking the means to get information. Ps sorry for the run-on sentences.

  16. Reziac August 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    @ChicagoDad — if I eat your lutefisk, do I get your lefse too? 😀

    Hey folks — if you want your kid to feel unloved, and like property rather than a person, track their every move and spy on their every action. TRUST is what tells a kid that they matter and are valued and are not just an object.

  17. Andrea August 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    One thing I have noticed among my parent peers who have elementary school aged kids that they are constantly monitoring is that they are NOT teaching them how to take care of themselves or how to handle situations — they don’t have to, because they are there. If anything I think this makes their children less safe because when something happens and mommy for once isn’t right there, the kid will have no idea what to do and may be more likely to do something that causes them harm.

  18. Andrea August 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    @Jenni Stahlmann

    That’s real talk right there. I’m scared for the future, TBH.

  19. Qute August 10, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    “I don’t think it is too controlling of me or any parent to use monitoring apps (e.g. xnspy) to track a child’s GPS location history to make sure that he/she is safe”

    1) If you’re tracking their history without there having been a crisis then you don’t have to check it to determine he or she is safe. Presumably that they are standing there in front of you is indication enough.

    2) I think it is misplaced security to presume that the device’s existence will “make sure” that the child is safe. Nothing under the sun and the moon and the stars can “make sure” that your child, or any person or creature, is safe.

    3) What will happen, inevitably, when the device is forgotten or the battery dies or gets lost? Does your child have the ability to function in the world without it? More importantly, do you know how to parent without it?

  20. lollpoplover August 10, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    “If anything I think this makes their children less safe because when something happens and mommy for once isn’t right there, the kid will have no idea what to do and may be more likely to do something that causes them harm.”

    When everything is scheduled, organized, and adult-controlled, children lose the ability to adapt to change and adversity and valuable coping skills. Anxiety and other negative emotions take over when mentally they are unequipped to handle basic activities of daily living. It’s the same with dementia patients- their quality of living goes down dramatically as they lose these abilities to function. It’s sad we are starting our youth, our future, from this sad position that we cannot trust them and must track them. But chipping all of our pets doesn’t guarantee that they won’t still run away.

  21. James Pollock August 10, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    Yes, it’s nice to have raised a child that I don’t have to worry about, and can fully trust to be where she says she’ll be, when she says she’ll be there.

    Not everyone has this. Some times they don’t have this because the kids are not fully trustworthy, and sometimes because the parents can’t see that they are.

    Shouldn’t we trust the parents to decide for themselves what’s best for THEIR kids?

  22. Beanie August 10, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    I agree with Caiti–we need to know everything instantly. I find myself getting agitated if I want an answer to something and I have to wait. During the school year, I have had the urge to text my son to share something funny or ask him a question, then I realize, he’s only ten and he doesn’t have a phone. And he’s busy anyway! I don’t even consider myself a high-tech person. We have no plans to get phones for our children any time soon. I would like my kids to get out independently more but they’re kind of homebodies and our neighborhood doesn’t have many kids. . . but I have this vision that at some point they will leave the house with a watch and they’ll have to check in every so often, either by finding a phone or coming by the house.

    I do get nervous when my younger son takes too long to bike around the block, but despite my anxiety, I know he’s okay and the most I’ll do is peer down the street from the driveway. It gets easier every time he goes. As I give them more freedom, I have to learn to let go and trust–it’s learning on both our parts.

  23. Beanie August 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    James, I like your point about letting parents decide. However, I think the problem is that these devices are marketed to parents not as ways to reign in kids who are behaving poorly, but as ways to keep all kids safe from the dangers they encounter outside the parental field of vision. We have been conditioned to jump on the bandwagon every time we hear the word “safety,” and that has a detrimental effect on society as a whole.

  24. ChicagoDad August 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    It is all just fun and games until your particular eccentricity becomes frowned upon (“Your toddler doesn’t have an ankle monitor!? You monster!”)…just like in the old country. That is why it is so important to ridicule things like this GPS monitor. Ridicule is like lefse for the soul, if you can only choke down the lutefisk first (I’m waching you Reziac). A little ridicule now will save thousands in legal defense funds and petition signature drives down the road.

  25. Warren August 10, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    I hope some kid gets wise to his parents tracking him/her then calls the cops to report being stalked.

    Hell I don’t even GPS track my company trucks. If I want to know where one is I call the driver.

    Besides all this app is good for is giving the cadaver dogs a starting point for the search.

  26. J.T. Wenting August 10, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    “We could scream swearwords at them to make them speak politely.”

    That’s what my mom did more often than not. Dad taught me to not take notice and behave like a civilised human being…
    Mom could have a foul mouth and temper to match, and then go about saying “I never swear” because she never used the names of God or Jesus (she probably had been taught herself as a child that “god damnit” is swearing but “durn” isn’t for example).

  27. JulieC August 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    I think it’s important to fight back against this notion that there is some almost full-proof way to keep your kid “safe”, especially when it involves some product someone is selling.

    One of my sons did something really stupid, as part of a small group of boys, when he was a freshman in high school (involving alcohol). We were mad at him of course, but we didn’t stalk him. We did let him know that any more slip-ups and he’d be grounded for a year. It was up to HIM to regulate his own behavior and choose his friends a little more wisely- and he did and learned a lot in the process. He’s a senior now, and a great kid. My point is that some kids will push the boundaries, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some kids learn the hard way!

    One problem I see now is that sometimes parents and adult authorities (at least in my area) almost overreact when a child (never their own child of course) does something “bad”. I know of a kid who was caught with pot brownies at a water polo tournament and a parent of another kid called the university where this kid had been admitted to advise them of this transgression. As if getting thrown out of the tournament wasn’t enough punishment, the other parent decided to see if he could screw up the kid’s future college career as well.

    If you ever hear yourself saying the words, “well my kid would NEVER …” stop yourself. The universe is listening and has a lesson for you.

  28. NY Mom August 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    What age children?

  29. James Pollock August 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    ” We have been conditioned to jump on the bandwagon every time we hear the word “safety,” and that has a detrimental effect on society as a whole.”

    Some of “we” are not readily conditioned.

    “I like your point about letting parents decide.”
    Some of the commentariat here tend to be a bit one-sided… it’s “let the parents decide!” if the parents are doing what they (the commenters) want to do or would have done, and “we have to put a stop to this!” if parents are not doing what they (still the commenters) want to do or would have done.

    Fact is, by the time your kids are faced with the really big decisions (sex, drugs, career, education) your ability to influence their decisions is nearly gone. You need to have prepared them for decision-making before you get there. If your answer to why they should or shouldn’t do things is “because I’m the parent, and I’m telling you what to do!”, you’ll probably have kids who’re doing stuff you don’t want them to do. (Of course, if you’re the opposite, you’ll ALSO probably have kids who’re doing stuff you don’t want them to do.)

  30. Donald Christensen August 10, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    If I manufacture a product, I want to sell it. I may have morals or I may be the most cutthroat person that ever lived that has no conscious. Over the years, people have gradually started to see themselves as powerless. They feel that they have no choice but to give into the guilt trip and peer pressure. If a company sells spy products, they have no choice but to swallow their shit hook, line, and sinker.

    While they’re ‘doing their duty of spying’, they’re teaching their children to be as gullible and helpless as they are.

  31. Steve August 10, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    From “The Circle” by Dave Eggers

    PRIVACY IS THEFT…
    SECRETS ARE LIES
    SHARING IS CARING

    The tracking is an outgrowth of the feeling that people should be connected and available at all times.

  32. Donald Christensen August 10, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    “ if you want your kid to feel unloved, and like property rather than a person, track their every move and spy on their every action. TRUST is what tells a kid that they matter and are valued and are not just an object. “

    That’s an excellent way to put it! I’d like to add to it.

    Anyone that’s learned anything about management has learned about the expectancy theory of motivation. In short, a person does something for a reward. If that reward is consistently withheld, it will have the opposite effect.

    When I was young, I wanted the trust of my father and I would NEVER lie to him. When I learned that he would NEVER trust me, I started lying all the time.

  33. theresa August 10, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    Your story about the pot brownies. Julia remind me of another save the kids from pot story. The kids tried it once school finds and as usual can’t just the mom handle it. Nope got to call CBS. Now the twins barely see each other and mental bugs which involve getting sick and CBS wants mom to pay for the costly treatment to help even though while CBS has charge of them they are who should pay according to the rules that they are to follow.

  34. Buffy August 10, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    Someone explain to me like I’m 5 how a tracking app keeps anyone safe. If I look on the app and find out my kid is on Main Street, does it also tell me where the kidnapper is hiding? Or something?

  35. Donald Christensen August 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

    “Someone explain to me like I’m 5 how a tracking app keeps anyone safe.”

    Whether or not it’s logical is irrelevant! Many people are controlled by emotion and will throw money at any product or ‘imprison’ their children for anything that will reduce their stress.

    This is an extract from my blog

    The internationally best selling book, Emotional Intelligence spent over one and a half years on the New York Times Best Selling List. Needless to say, it’s a good book. However the actual title of it is under criticism. That’s because it’s a contradiction in terms. Most neuroscientist agree that emotion has no intelligence!

    The intelligence comes from a different part of the brain. To say that intelligence comes from emotion is like saying that the engine in your car is what makes it change gears. The engine supplies the power but the transmission is what makes it change gears. Emotion doesn’t weigh up pros and cons or does any logical comparisons. A different part of the brain does that.

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/puppet

  36. James Pollock August 10, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    “Someone explain to me like I’m 5 how a tracking app keeps anyone safe. If I look on the app and find out my kid is on Main Street, does it also tell me where the kidnapper is hiding? Or something?”

    Are you familiar with the song “Fun, fun, fun”?

    A tracking app lets you check to see where your kids are (or at least, where their phone is) which can then be compared to where the kid SAYS he or she is. If little junior says he is at school or little Susie says she is at the library, but the phone is at the crackhouse, downtown hangout, at forbidden friend’s house, or whatever, Protective Mommy can swoop down and protect them from the dangerous influences.

    If you have kids who are where they say they are, or are allowed to go wherever they want, then this is not necessary. If you have kids who lie about where they are going and what they are going to do, you might need it.

    How many TV sitcom plots involve the kids sneaking out to go do something they were told not to do (or would have been told not to do, had they asked) but getting busted because the parents snuck out to the same venue? OK, with this app the parents don’t have to be so lucky.

  37. Ron Skurat August 10, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    So of course the commenter’s next step will be installing spy apps on their kids phone when they go off to college because safety. Right. “Well, honey we’re paying for it and we just want you to be safe. By the way, I really don’t think you should’ve stayed at that frat house until 1 in the morning, are you really sure they’re all nice boys like you?”

    Right. Any kid in their right mind would run away from home then & there. These parents are going to wonder why their kids have absolutely zero interest in staying in touch once they’re in their 20s and established.

  38. Art August 11, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    To hell with that, don’t these kids know a stray animal, dog, cat, horse, large predatory bird, some random other kid they could stick these things on?

    “Honey, why is our six year old somewhere over New Jersey?” :-p

  39. Caiti August 11, 2016 at 3:04 am #

    @James Pollock its been a number of years since I’ve watched tv, so maybe I’m out of touch with what sitcoms are like nowadays, but I’ve always laughed whenever I’ve stumbled upon an argument that cites a fictional show– a sitcom, no less!– as evidence to support a position. But before i laugh, I should ask, have sitcoms actually improved? The kids aren’t dumb any more and their problems last longer than 23 minutes? Are they considered credible sources nowadays?

    If my parents had tried to use a tracker I would have “lost” it in a basement with bad reception on a daily basis until they ran out of money for a new one. Or I would have paid another kid to carry it. Maybe parents would try to hide it in the kids stuff, but all the kids I knew would have found it pretty quick. At least we girls would have, as aware as we were about the tiniest details of our appearance.

  40. James Pollock August 11, 2016 at 3:42 am #

    “I’ve always laughed whenever I’ve stumbled upon an argument that cites a fictional show– a sitcom, no less!– as evidence to support a position.”

    Well, if that happens, laugh all you want.

    “If my parents had tried to use a tracker I would have “lost” it in a basement with bad reception on a daily basis until they ran out of money for a new one”
    OK. I’m old enough to not have had the whole “cellphone for kids” issue not apply in my youth, because I’m old enough that NOBODY had a cell phone back then, what with them not being a consumer product yet and I don’t carry one now. But my daughter would lock herself in a dungeon before she’d surrender her phone.

  41. lollpoplover August 11, 2016 at 5:25 am #

    @Caiti-

    My family has been watching the Olympics most nights and this Buick commercial is on quite a bit:

    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/A5R6/buick-remotelink-app-borrow-the-buick

    So GPS trackers for little kids and car apps that track your soon to be adults…and treat them like little children with no privacy. Perhaps mom and dad need a date night of their own instead of stalking and setting off the car alarm on their daughter’s date?

  42. BL August 11, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    @Ron Skurat

    ” By the way, I really don’t think you should’ve stayed at that frat house until 1 in the morning, are you really sure they’re all nice boys like you?””

    You mean Bluto and Otter?

    Of course they are.

  43. Papilio August 11, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    @Caiti: “the writer specifically mentions tracking a child’s location HISTORY.”
    That made me frown too!

    Buffy: “If I look on the app and find out my kid is on Main Street, does it also tell me where the kidnapper is hiding?”

    You mean which distracted driver is about to race around the corner without looking and righthook your kid…

    @Lollipoplover (with i): “Perhaps mom and dad need a date night of their own”

    …I feel like this is where Lenore comes in…

  44. Buffy August 11, 2016 at 6:27 am #

    I guess I was asking about the kid being “safe”, a word repeated a few times in the post above, and how knowing a kid’s location from the parent’s remote location does anything at all for safety. Breaking the rules and walking outside the allowable perimeter (because I’m sure there is such a thing), sure. But actual safety from harm, and peace of mind for parents, from a dot on a map? Not getting it.

  45. BL August 11, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    @lollpoplover
    “Perhaps mom and dad need a date night of their own instead of stalking and setting off the car alarm on their daughter’s date?”

    Not to mention that it’s not hard to think of scenarios in which suddenly blowing the horn could cause an accident.

  46. Becks August 11, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    I think Caiti has a point that the need to know everything right now adds to the impatience and paranoia. It’s not the whole reason tho. And I agree with Lenore that it does relate directly to punishing parents who leave kids in the car because the fear mongering argument is – why wouldn’t you do something /use something available to keep your kids even safer? And if you won’t do it then it’s abuse or a crime.

    They don’t want to hear sensible thought out reasons for not overprotecting and they really don’t want to hear that actually if something on a fairly low level does go wrong that’s ok with you coz it creates a learning opportunity.

  47. Coasterfreak August 11, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    I saw on our local news this morning a story about a mother who was horrified (as anybody would be) to discover that the surveillance camera she had installed in her daughter’s room had been hacked and had a live feed to a website where people could watch what was going on in the room all day and night. “I installed it for their safety!” she exclaimed.

    The report didn’t say how old the daughters were, but they had normal sized beds, and it was mentioned that they play a game online, so not toddlers. What made her think that having 24/7 surveillance in her kids room was going to make them safer? Is she staring at the video feed non-stop just in case a baddie breaks in?

    I hope she learned a lesson about this, since the item she installed for their “safety” ended up making it so that the whole world could see them sleeping, playing, changing clothes… But since the reporter announced that although the mother had changed her wireless password, she thought probably the hackers gained access through the online game the girls play. So my guess is that she’s banned them from playing the game and left the surveillance camera in place.

  48. Heather August 11, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    All that these apps teach kids is how to block the app. I’d say they might leave it at home, but I’m guessing that’s less likely given how much of a child’s life is on the phone.

    H

  49. C. S. P. Schofield August 11, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    Oh, yes! Wrap them in cotton wool until they leave for college and then wonder why they spend the next few years behaving like sailors on shore leave and end up flunking out.

  50. SteveS August 11, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    My great-grandfather didn’t actually say that. What he actually said was “We eat lutefisk to remind us of the old country…and why we left…but you still can’t have any lefse until you finish your lutefisk” He was a hard man, and we’ve embellished his words over the years. It’s the priciple that matters, though.

    Having eaten those things, I will say that your great grandfather was a wise man.

  51. EricS August 11, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    Past generations of children didn’t need any of this, and we all did just fine. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. And the only thing I’ve noticed that’s broken, are adults mentality in this day and age. They went from “Free-Range” to “Helicoptering”. Unless these parents are willing to literally keep an eye on their kids 24-7, and not one second away, all these little gadgets and apps are useless. It will actually do more harm (mentally and emotionally) in the long run for their children. All because the parents want to feel better. Selfishness is what it all boils down too. Selfishness and fear. Oh, not to mention these companies capitalizing on these fears, some corporations even perpetuate the fear so that parents can be suckered in to buying their products.

  52. EricS August 11, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    @Heather: “…but I’m guessing that’s less likely given how much of a child’s life is on the phone.”

    But it doesn’t have to be. Kids are only hooked on mobiles because their parents got them hooked. This is the ironic part about parents these days. They want to keep an eye on their kids constantly. But they give them a mobile device to keep them occupied while the parents do their thing. Which means they aren’t watching their kids. lol Bunch of oxyMorons. I know some kids (not a lot), that don’t have an iPad, iPhone, Galaxy Tab, or any other type of those devices. They do have cellphones. The plain old cellphone. Used only to make a call in emergencies. Because they didn’t get accustomed to those devices, they aren’t hooked on them. They have to wait to get to a computer to go onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Do they feel left out? Sure. But they also don’t hound their parents for those things. And the parents said, one day they will buy them those devices, but not before they get used to not having them. Probably in their later teens. Not during child development stages. And for those that say, these devices are good for child development, I say use the computer. You don’t need an smartdevice to educate your children. Again, for many parents, these devices are just to help them distract their kids. Which, again, is contradictory to wanting to keep an eye on them. lol

    So now you have kids who are hooked on mobiles (and all of the things related to it that parents hate), and parents who insist on keeping a constant eye on them, while bitching about not having time for themselves to relax. lol That’s the proverbial “shooting themselves in the foot”, because they kept their finger on the trigger of a loaded gun, with the safety off, pointing at their foot. This is the mentality of many parents today. And they don’t even realize it.

  53. Ravana August 11, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    I have to laugh when I hear that parents use the GPS on their kid’s devices to track where they go. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen one kid sitting at a library table monitoring with up 10 phones while the phones’ owners were off doing whatever with their friends. It is the modern version of the sleepover scam we ran as kids.

  54. BL August 11, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    “I saw on our local news this morning a story about a mother who was horrified (as anybody would be) to discover that the surveillance camera she had installed in her daughter’s room had been hacked and had a live feed to a website where people could watch what was going on in the room all day and night.”

    Reminds me of a story I read a few years ago about a mall that put cameras in their parking garage as a deterrent to thieves.

    It turned out that employees of the company which installed and operated the cameras were using them to see which cars had purchases worth stealing put into the trunk (this was at Christmas, so a lot of shoppers were putting expensive purchases into the trunk and going back to shop for more) and then stealing the merchandise.

  55. Papilio August 11, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Coasterfreak: “the whole world could see them sleeping, playing, changing clothes…”

    Not to mention other private activities, if this was a teen girl. Nice going, mom. That should land you on the SOR for distributing child porn…

  56. andy August 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    @EricS “Again, for many parents, these devices are just to help them distract their kids.”

    You talk about it as if it would be definitely bad thing …

    “Which, again, is contradictory to wanting to keep an eye on them. lol”

    Not really, no. Having kid occupied by something or distracted by device from whatever you want them not do is not contradictory to keeping eye on them.

  57. JLM August 12, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    I reluctantly gave my eldest (now 13yo) a mobile phone when she started travelling an hour each way to school aged 12. I have no interest in tracking her. All I want is for her to be able to let us know if something is disastrously wrong with the trains!

    Funnily enough, a couple of nights ago, I was chatting with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and our respective eldest children had both started high school in that time (Australia, high school starts in Year 7). She was excitedly showing me her new app called FindMe “so you can see where she is”.

    “I have no desire to know where she is every second of the day.”

    “Wow, I wish I could be like you. You’re so good.”

    Like I’m some ghost of another time, trusting my child to catch a train to and from school in daylight hours.

    I can tell you what, with 4 younger children, I don’t want 13yo calling me helpless to tell me the trains are not running in timetable order and “OhMyGodWhatShouldIDo?” Here’s what you can do – work out the best way to get home without your mother running to your aid 😉