Hey Readers! ALCATRAZ PARENTING. Let’s popularize that term, okay? We need it, because we’re getting to the point when children are monitored by GPS, cell phone and camera in ways prison wardens can only dream of! Check out this ad:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkLi2HM0KAg]
The mom says she has cameras “in the playroom, the living room, the kitchen. And from my mobile phone and computer I can check in on them any time and it just gives me some added peace of mind.”
Great. And just what does it give the children? That added sense that Big Mother is watching. That sense that they are never safe without her electronic eye upon them. (It doesn’t MAKE them any safer, of course. It just reassures the mom.) It also tells them they are never free and never completely to be trusted. Just like prisoners, except with refrigerator privileges.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Just as I was going to end my post,I got this letter in my email:
Dear Free-Range Kids:
I just got two tickets for child abuse because my 7 yo and her friend were playing in the complex when 2 older girls tried to hit them with sticks. They ran away and my daughter, being frantic, got lost. The police found her and brought her home. They then gave me a ticket for both girls but not the other girls parents! One officer said I could not let her out to play at all without me. The other said she could but needs to stay close and tell me where she will be, which she always does. There are many children in this complex who play outside alone! They said children under 16 must be supervised.
How are these topics — the cameras in home and the tickets for unsupervised kids — related? They both start with the assumption that children are never safe without an adult by their side, either physically (if they’re outside) or electronically (if they’re inside).
That is a RADICALLY NEW, DYSTOPIAN VISION OF CHILDHOOD! It is not based on reality, as the reality is our children are safer today than at almost any time in history. It is based on FEAR.
The result? Alcatraz Parenting, either by choice, if you buy into it, or by force if you don’t…but the authorities do. – L