Track Your Child’s Every Text, Photo, Phone Call and Web Site Visit!

Hi Readers — I got this the other day and, as you can see, the company WANTS me to share this info with you, you so I am. Verbatim. It assumes all of you are A) Moms and B) “Struggling” with the fear that your child is in constant danger of bad behavior and/or kidnapping. 

Now you can act just like the FBI with a warrant to track a dangerous criminal — your child!  Because trusting and talking is sooo 2012. — L. 

P.S. Boldface is mine. As are the remarks in brackets.

Dear Free-Range Kids:

I would very much appreciate your help in distributing this information to your readers – this should be of great value to mom’s struggling with how to best protect their kids from cyberbullying and worse! We are asking people to help us test our product for free.

Thanks for your help!!

LoJack® your kid’s cell phone to keep them safe!

Las Vegas, NV – January 4, 2013 – Rush Software, Inc. announces the immediate availability of KidTrack™ , the preeminent software on the market today for allowing parents to monitor their children’s cell phone usage. KidTrack monitors text messages, incoming and outgoing phone log, each web site visited, location and media (pictures, audio and video).

While there is controversy about such monitoring software, it is undisputed that parents have the legal, ethical and moral responsibility for the privacy and safety of their children. [LENORE COMMENT: UH, IF WE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR PRIVACY, WHY ARE WE COMPLETELY TAKING IT AWAY?] Rush Software is committed to providing parents the tools that they need to help keep their children safe from cyber bullying, predators, etc. “We see this as being no different than a parent examining the contents of a backpack and merely are aiding the parents in giving them the means to do so,” said Ernie Rush of Rush Software. [LENORE HERE: NO DIFFERENT FROM LOOKING IN A BACKPACK OR NO DIFFERENT FROM CONSTANT SPYING?] “People put LoJack® on their vehicles to protect the vehicles; surely protection of children is far more important!” [LENORE: IF OUR KIDS ARE JUST LIKE CARS, DO WE EVENTUALLY JUNK THEM AND BUY NEW ONES?]

“I was blown away by the information that KidTrack reported to me,” said Rebecca Quesada. [ANYONE BELIEVE SHE EXISTS?] “As a mother, I feel much safer knowing that I have access to every single text message my daughter sends and receives, including attached pictures. When you add to this that I can know where she is at all times, know who she is calling and who she is being called by and have access to every picture that she takes, as well as every single web site that she visits, I feel much safer that I can monitor her in this wired world of ours. Before KidTrack I felt like I was giving her this incredibly powerful and potentially dangerous tool. As a busy mom, I especially appreciate that the information comes to me automatically via my email. The convenience of this feature alone is amazing.” [I’LL BET YOU”RE A BUSY MOM. YOU ARE LEADING TWO LIVES AT ONCE — YOURS AND YOUR DAUGHTER’S. WONDER HOW SHE FEELS ABOUT SHARING?]

KidTrack silently captures this information and periodically uploads it to the KidTrack servers where it can be viewed by the parent via a web browser as well as automatically sent to the parent on a regular basis via email (initially daily).

Effective immediately, KidTrack is available as a free download and it will remain free throughout the beta testing period. At the end of the beta-testing period it will be available as a subscription for $7.95 a month, though a free month’s worth of service will be made available to everyone that helps to test the software.

KidTrack is available for Android phones initially, though versions are under development for both IPhone and Blackberry. For more information and to sign up for service, visit. [NAME AND ADDRESS REDACTED. BY LENORE. SEE HOW FUN IT IS TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE CONTROLLING YOUR MESSAGES?] 

Rush Software can be reached at [HA HA! TOOK IT OUT AGAIN!

Big Mother is watching you!

101 Responses to Track Your Child’s Every Text, Photo, Phone Call and Web Site Visit!

  1. Barbara January 8, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Lenore,
    I generally agree with you on getting rid of our worst first thinking. That being said, I have a 9 y.o. and 12 y.o. girl. We have told them from the first time they got on the internet that we were tracking everything they do and that anything they put out there is there forever. In this particular instance, the world is very different than when we were young and stupid.

    My husband said recently that he was glad the internet didn’t exist when he was young, because there would be some pretty scary pictures out there.

    The way we look at it, we are tightly controlling what they do and say on line and on cell phones now, so they learn how to use these tools responsibly. This way, when they are teens, they will know (hopefully) that sexting and fighting publicly on line are really really dumb.

    So, while I think this product is overkill, my husband and I are tech savvy enough that we don’t need someone else to monitor our kids, we can do it ourselves. I consider it no different than monitoring what movies or t.v. shows they watch when they are young.

    On the flip side, we let them walk to the store and the park by themselves. I figure the risk of a predator on the street are a lot less than the risk of them doing something undoable on line.

  2. Tamara January 8, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Excellent, Lenore! Thank you so much for posting this exactly as they requested. I am sure some helpful ad writers could make this product actually look and sound helpful. Fortunately, left to their own resources, it comes across as very Rapunzel and I certainly think most moms and dads (or uncles, aunts, siblings,”friends” anyone could use this on any kid’s phone yes?) will see it for what it is. But you absolutely know that some folks out there will actually buy it.

  3. Tamara January 8, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    @Barbara

    The world is different of course, no one can even argue that, but different doesn’t mean worse. When i was young, no there wasn’t an Internet. We used to call our own telephone number, and it would beep a busy signal. Other people would do the same and then somehow ( I never really did figure out how it worked, but this was much before digital technology) we could talk to each other in between the beeps. It was an unofficial chat party line. Sometimes we would even give people our real phone numbers or make arrangements to meet. Not smart, I realize that now, but these types of situations have always been there in one form or another .

  4. Maria January 8, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    I’m a parent of a 17 yr old girl and a 14 yr old boy. This is wrong, oh, so wrong. Kids are HUMAN, with some rights to privacy. This is absolutely crazy and upsetting, and no, I’d never do this to my kids or to anyone else :/

  5. Beth January 8, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Lenore, you mean that the ad assumes we are all “mom’s.”

  6. Carolyn January 8, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    This tool definitely has the potential to be overused, and the quote about “lowjacking” your children is horrible. But I can see using a similar tool with my daughter when she gets her first cell phone. The key is that the tool should not be used in secret. I would tell my daughter that the condition of using the phone is getting KidTrack put on it until she can show that she can use the phone properly. When the bill comes, we’d sit down and compare the charges on the bill to the records on KidTrack. If after six months she is using her phone appropriately, both in the amount of minutes and in the types of messages and photos sent, then I’d have KidTrack removed on the understanding that if she starts indulging in unsafe behavior then it goes back on. These types of surveillance tools should be used like training wheels – not like a strait jacket.

    I wonder how these kids would react if their parent said, “I’m bored, while we are waiting for (whatever appointment) do you have any pictures on your phone that you can show me?” Most kids love to show off their pictures, if you react to the in the right way. If you do this a few times, soon your child will be showing you pictures as they come in, especially if you do the same.

  7. Bose in St. Peter MN January 8, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I’m trying to imagine how it would have felt if, when I was a kid, my parents said: We’re going to track every step you take when you go to the library. The title of every book you pull off a shelf, even for a second, is going on a master list. We’ll also be tracking which drawers you open in the card catalog, and every word you look up in a dictionary.

    Yikes! Sounds awful…

  8. Susan January 8, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    I guess they didn’t check to see what FreeRangeKids is. I have a 12 years with a phone. I have full access when I chose. I rarely have to because we have a great talking relationship. She has been bullied by so called friends on her own she deleted them from her accounts without me having to tell her. Proud to give my kids the respect they deserve they know how to respect others.

  9. Snow January 8, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Tamara, I remember talking through the beeps back in the 80s! That was so cool. BEEP 7 BEEP 9 BEEP 7….I actually met up with some guy at the local rollerskating rink by doing that. So yeah, it was just as dangerous then, just in a different way.

  10. maggie January 8, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Call me old fashioned, but I’m not letting my kids use technology like this, on a consistent basis, until they are old enough to use it the correct way. And if they make a mistake, so be it. That’s how they learn.

  11. Maria January 8, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    …now that I’m done being outraged, is this app even LEGAL? Yes, if you’re a parent, you have the right to pull something like this on your kid (and probably lose their trust forever). Can your spouse do it to you? Can you do it to your spouse? What if your kids do it to you?

  12. Anon January 8, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    I subscribed to you because I thought your blog would give me a nudge about letting my children run around in the backyard unsupervised more and maybe have more freedom in a toy store, but you are just too political and your tone is so defensive and argumentative. Since Newtown, I’ve been really put out with you and I’m going to quit reading..

  13. Tsu Dho Nimh January 8, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    If you don’t want your child visiting web sites on their phone … don’t give them a phone that does that! Put the computer in the family room, too, and set the router to allow it only when you want it to allow access.

    If you don’t want them texting, same thing: don’t pay for that service for their phone. Harder with the cameras, because every phone seems to have them, but you can block the sending of pictures by not paying for that service.

    If you want to know who they are calling … look at your bill. I also think that there are phones that can be locked into only receiving calls from certain numbers (white-list capability)

  14. RobynHeud January 8, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    So, how do I get this amazing app if I won’t give my kids a phone?

  15. Kim January 8, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Of the people we know whose kids have cell phones everyone of them has had a problem. Sexting, bullying, buying apps and the same with computers. One friend found out her son’s best friend spent hours in his room surfing porn sites and had to tell the kids parents who had of course NO IDEA.

    I look at the cell phone the way I look at PlayStations and Wii. If I were to get one for my oldest (and he’s too young anyway) it would be one more thing for me to keep up with in monitoring. Limit access, etc. I’m too much of a slacker parent to be bothered. And hell yeah, I’d be checking up on his phone. Every one of the parents I mentioned who had problems – they all had the talk with their kidsbefore handing over the phone. Here’s what you don’t do, here’s the consequences. Didn’t matter. And unfortunately in the case of the sexting which was pictures – a young girl now has to live with that mistake that was sent to a whole lot of school mates. When you screw up now, it’s not like when we were kids, your mistakes can be instant, for all to see and forever.

    On a different note – anybody see Diary of A Wimpy kid where they give him the big Ladybug cell phone for his birthday/ It has three buttons. Because he only needs to call three people. Whenever my oldest starts up about a cell phone I offer him a Ladybug.

  16. denise January 8, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    @beth: you probably shouldn’t correct someone’s grammar unless you’re correcting it correctly. lenore’s is plural, yours is possessive. she is correct.

    now, to the article: i can’t believe they sent this to you. have they any idea what free-range even IS? i can’t believe there is even a product like this. it’s SO invasive! plus, what if yours is a popular child? i don’t want my inbox full of teenage drama. and i agree with monitoring your kids online – i don’t want them wandering the internet alone. but i don’t hover over every keystroke or mouse click. i set rules and if i catch them breaking those rules, they’ve lost internet privileges. wow. i simply cannot believe this kind of invasion of privacy is legal at all. :(

  17. Amanda Matthews January 8, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    @Maria My thought was, is it legal to not remove it once your “child” turns 18? Is the company going to take measures to ensure this is removed once people turn 18?

    I’m thinking back to that college woman that was being stalked by her parents. I’m thinking about the fact that parents can label an adult as “missing” if they choose to not answer the phone for awhile. That a parent can order a “wellness check” on an adult that is perfectly healthy, whose neighbors see them daily, if they choose to not answer the phone – basically calling the cops and having them tell the adult to answer their phone when their parents call. I’m thinking back to the 18 – 19 year olds I knew that “ran away” to live with a boyfriend/girlfriend or relative that the parents didn’t get along with, were found by the police and forced to return “home” (and I put those in quotation marks because IMO once someone turns 18 it is moving out rather than running away).

    When a spouse does these things, they are abusive. But when a parent does these things to an adult, many people are accepting it – because the tracking and controlling of a child/teen is accepted, and the age this is acceptable keeps creeping higher and higher.

    It’s disturbing to me that parents are being given access to all these tools, and to police backup, to track/control their offspring. Why are these tools that should be used for the rare cases when a CHILD is actually missing, or to allow disabled people to lead more independent lives, being used on people that aren’t missing or disabled?

  18. pentamom January 8, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    This is the kind of thing that could be useful if you have a very serious problem with a child. There’s a situation in my extended family that ended tragically, where something like this *might have* actually been good to have, to know what the girl was up to (after it was already known that she was out of control and at great risk) and be able to intervene before she got herself in as deep as she did. Even in that situation, though, things started spinning out of control partially because a friend gave her access to a phone that her guardians didn’t give her, so how would LoJacking the phone mommy gives you help there?

    And after all, that’s not how it’s being marketed here. The idea that the typical parent should feel the need to have this kind of control over the typical kid is abhorrent. Even as some have suggested, as a “starter” phone — if you can’t trust your child to communicate with you about what’s going on if there are any actual problems, you can’t trust the child to have a phone. Just make it all part of the deal — no honesty, no phone.

  19. Maria January 8, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    @Amanda, yes! When do you stop? Also, if you’re lowjacking your own kid, then you’re also lowjacking her friends; the app will give you access to all sorts of personal info about them. I feel profoundly uncomfortable with this situation.

  20. Beth January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Come on, Denise. Lenore was responding to the sentence *in the ad* that said “this should be of great value to mom’s struggling with how to best protect their kids from cyberbullying and worse!” when she said “It assumes all of you are A) Moms”.

    If I was correcting anyone’s grammar it was that of the ad, in which “mom’s” is NOT correct. I was sarcastically and I thought jokingly commenting to Lenore that she should have used *their* terminology, not the correct form.

  21. Kelly January 8, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Eih. I think it’s a much better plan to just tell your kid the consequences of what can happen when they make bad decisions. Show them the news articles of the people who have been victims of sexting or the people who end up with child pornography records. It’s better to teach them how to figure out whether to do things or not instead of just telling them what the rules are. They’re going to need to make their own decisions at some point.

  22. Paul January 8, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Tracking your kids like this just breeds distrust. How about taking the time to actually parent your children and teach them right from wrong on the internet?

  23. Christina January 8, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    @Beth – I must confess I had to read your response twice, then went back up to the ad and lol’d. Nice catch!

  24. CrazyCatLady January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Looks like it isn’t available for TracFones. Which means my kids will never have to worry, because that is all they ever will have access to. If it is good enough for me, that same $14 version should be good enough for them. And they can pay the minutes.

  25. Yan Seiner January 8, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    And hey, when the KidTrack servers are hacked, all those pedophiles will know *exactly* where your kids at every moment, perfect for grooming and snatching.

    Control freaks should not be parents.

  26. Irene January 8, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Note that ALL of YOUR CHILD’S INFORMATION is uploaded to THEIR SERVERS!!!

    How long will it be before their servers are hacked? And once they’re hacked, then all of your children’s information will be for sale to the highest bidder. Or will be given away to whoever wants it, for whatever purpose they choose.
    Now how safe is your kid?

    They are consolidating vast amounts of extremely personal information about your children, everything that a villain could need to target or exploit them, and they are posting it to some server, somewhere, out of your control or even awareness. That information would be VERY valuable to exactly the kind of people you’re trying to avoid… and now it’s neatly consolidated for them!

    Make no mistake. They WILL be hacked. Banks, governments, even security companies get hacked by professional criminals all the time. A small, startup company like this, which does not even specialize in privacy or security? They’ll be hacked by the time I finish writing this comment.

    Horrendous risk. Much better to just trust your child.

  27. Lollipoplover January 8, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    This is stalking.
    Just because they are your own children doesn’t make it right. They have rights to privacy. And if they are “mature” enough to use today’s technology, there should be some element of trust involved as well as consequences beyond “I always feel like somebody’s watching me” anxiety.
    Sheesh, this would be exhausting! Can’t parents just discuss what junior did that day over dinner like most normal families?

  28. KLY January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    My daughter’s best friend’s parents already track her pretty much just like this, including getting copies of all of her emails and such. The girls are in Junior High and have reached a point where they want some privacy (sometimes just to have it, sometimes so they can talk about how horribly unfair their lives and their parents are, heh), and my kiddo tells me constantly that her friend “is bound to snap, sooner or later. Probably sooner.”

    Of course, the first thing they do, when the friend spends the night with her, is fire up the computer and revel in freedom a bit. The form this willful rebellion takes? Watching silly videos on youtube, because her friend isn’t allowed on the site at all, at home. They are good kids, the both of them, and even when they *can* get away with more, they don’t push it.

    When my daughter started using the computer when she was quite a bit younger, she had to ask me before getting on a new site (she started out with her own bookmark folder of approved sites), let me look things over before she signed up for any membership sites, and I had the passwords for all of her accounts (just in case I needed them, though the only reason this ever came in handy was when she forgot her password yet again). At first she didn’t even want to bother with her own email account, anyways, so everything was set up through mine. As she “learned the ropes” a bit (we’re talking by time she was 10), all she had to do was let me know she was signing up for something. The computer was kept in the common space, so I was on hand if she needed me. When she got a cell phone, it came with the understanding that I have the right to look at it anytime I think I need to, though I have never actually done it. That same rule applies for her new laptop, though with the understanding that this is only in case of dire emergency or some drastic situation. Because I’ve never pushed her privacy boundaries and have been fair, she tends to tell me more about what she’s been doing than I actually care to know (seriously, the early-teen soap opera thing is just exhausting to listen to), and she comes to me anytime she is in doubt about anything. Thanks to some rather generous gifts from my mother, who is apparently determined to spoil my child like there is no tomorrow, my daughter has not only a new laptop, but has had a tablet for a year now… she’s able to get online pretty much no matter where she is. I feel confident about her ability to police herself, though, because the trust I have placed in her has led to her still being willing (and usually eager) to tell me all about what she’s been up to. And now, I don’t even expect her to tell me about every account she’s got, because telling her she *has* to let me know would be the fastest way to get her to run out and start secretly signing up for god-only-knows-what. She knows I *can* find out what she’s been doing, because I’ve been around the internet and computers for a lot longer than she has, but she trusts me not to snoop. She still ends up telling me about all the places she hangs out around the ‘net, though she sometimes requests I not poke at *all* of them. (Heh. She’s got one account I know exists but don’t look at, because she asked if she could have one place where she could vent about me if she got mad, and I think that’s totally reasonable.)

    People who think forcibly invading their children’s privacy like this is a good idea *would* be absolutely correct in believing it will help them gain independence, probably much sooner than they would like… because those kids are going to rather independently come up with ways to thwart them. They are going to find a way to get a hold of a phone their parents don’t know about. They are going to set up web email accounts their parents don’t know about and only check them from computers their parents can’t track. They are going to take every opportunity to visit ALL kinds of sites they know their parents wouldn’t approve of.
    And… they are probably going to make some pretty stupid choices just to prove that nobody is going to control them.

  29. Stacey January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Speaking of grammar,
    Y’all-singular to a collective group(noun)
    All Y’all -Plural to scattered crowd of individuals
    All Y’alls -Plural Possessive

    That is all.

  30. Puzzled January 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    This is to deal with non-problems and problems created by helicopter parenting. Sexting is not a problem; it is an invention of the justice system. It used to be called experimenting. Bullying in many cases is overdrawn, but some instances are real problems needing adult input – those cases are caused, or at least encouraged, by the absurd social controls we put on kids that lead to such behavior.

    Regarding the stupid pictures people can put out there – I’m sick of it, really. We are expected to devote so much energy to keeping our online lives ‘clean’ when it’s, ultimately, an impossible task, totally outside of our control. We should just give it up.

    I hope that the world will change when the current generation grows up, with every single person having a messy, cluttered online life – just like real life. How can you discriminate against people with dumb pictures floating around once everyone has them?

  31. Shadowofadoubt January 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I’m a late twenties woman with three children now, but during my teens my mother and her husband put this same type of program on the home computer. I didn’t know it at the time, but they told me later. I have never forgiven her for it. Think about the consequences of doing this carefully before you go ahead. You may end up destroying any fragile trusting feelings a teenager has for her parents.

  32. KarenW January 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Lenore, the company sent this to you? Are you freaking kidding me? If they had looked at your blog for one minute, or googled you for that matter, they would know that this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you stand for! Are you sure that the whole thing isn’t a joke (yeah, I know, I wish it was. Very likely is real). Here I am, 42 years old, and while reading the ad I felt like a rebellious teenager again. Had my parents used tactics like that with me, there would have been hell to pay. I would have taken it as a huge insult and a challenge to fight back against such oppression.

  33. Lollipoplover January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    “Control freaks should not be parents.”

    Yes, but there is no control over that. Practically anyone can populate. Parents shouldn’t be encouraged to OCP- Obessessive Compulsive Parent. And that’s what this behavior (STALKING) is-, it’s obsessive. There’s a book “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” by Liane Moriarty which depicts the obsessive nature of stalking so brilliantly. Parents should never, ever assume the worst of their child by tracking them and obsessing over them. They are taking control when they need to be relinquishing it.

    Unless they prove you wrong. How this product should REALLY be marketed is for the small fraction of the population that abuses their privileges:

    “Is your kid acting like a little F@#k? Do you actually need to follow his/her EVERY move because he’s so out of control? Is your home life so dysfunctional that you need to receive daily emails of his online communications? IF so, try LOJACK. Also try therapy. They kind of go hand in hand.”

    TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

  34. Judy January 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I have LoJack on my car and it doesn’t work that way. If my car goes missing, I have to call the police to report my car missing, and then the police call LoJack with my info and a valid police report to find the location of my car. I can’t just call Lojack and find out where my car is.

    This is fear marketed expensive Spyware for your kids phone, not LoJack.

  35. mollie January 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    My 11-year-old got an iPod Touch for himself at his dad’s house (50-50 custody). At my house, he was forbidden to purchase this item, or any sort of cell phone that could access the internet. I just didn’t want him to be carrying the internet around in his pocket as a young kid. Everything about that seemed out of line with my values of encouraging him to have face-to-face, rather than “facetime,” look at the world through your own eyes rather than a camera that can broadcast your snapshots to everyone, read a book in your room at night rather than watching youtube or texting friends until God-knows-when o’clock.

    Recently, I started researching the phenomenon of internet porn, and how boys, especially, who habitually masturbate to increasingly “heavy-duty” video imagery in order to up the dopamine ante (there is some pretty strong brain chemistry involved here), end up “sexually retarded” when in comes to actual, physically loving relationships in their late teens and 20s. I also noted that young girls are “altering” themselves, with everything from waxing to labial surgery, in order to “prepare” for their first sexual encounters, now that they, too, have habituated around online porn imagery and take their cues from that fare (“I guess this is what boys like, so my first sex will be anal sex”).

    Sex is really, really important to me. You could say I’m very “sex-positive.” I had curiosity as a kid; when I was my son’s age, I started sneaking peeks at my mother’s copy of “The Joy of Sex” and found the whole thing disgusting, thrilling, confusing, and exciting. Those pencil drawings were graphic enough, thanks. Once, I recall seeing a minute or two of a porno on a neighbour’s “naughty channel” and it left me feeling pretty hollow and disturbed, even though the images were more bizarre than pornographic.

    High-speed internet carries some pretty high stakes along with it. My son has heard about porn, that it’s not good for him, but I don’t really believe an 11-year-old, surrounded by boys his own age in some hidey-hole with internet access isn’t going to override the blah-blah-blah from his Mommy and Daddy isn’t going to just dive right in.

    Is this about trust? Of my child? I guess it’s more a lack of trust of the hard-wired part of the brain related to reproduction, and how profound the damage is to young boys and men when the imagery they saturate themselves with, and orgasm to, are unrelated to human interaction (and increasingly violent, since this, too, increases the excitement).

    I don’t mean to say there isn’t an emerging problem for girls, too, but it’s more obvious with men, who cannot have erections with an actual partner after becoming habituated around broadband porn.

    I talked it over with my son and his dad and I decided to disable his browser. I offered to put a filtered one on there, and yes, it would be the McGruff one that would alert me if he started to circumvent the porn filters, but he chose to simply not have internet on his phone. I was grateful we could agree on this, but sad all over again that he has this f*cking iPod in the first place.

    It’s not a children’s toy. Neither is a phone. Do I support surveillance on children? No. Truth is, I don’t support technology for children. I think it turns them away from things that will help them develop, like asking directions when they’re turned around instead of hunching over Mapquest. Like meeting up with friends to play somewhere instead of texting and sending photos. And, yes, masturbating to their own fantasies instead of ones provided by pornographers in high-resolution video imagery.

    This post touches something very tender inside of me. I value privacy, and I value well-being. Technology is making it very hard for me to support both with my kids.

  36. A somewhat irate teenager January 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    When I was a child, I had a friend who’s parents would check his backpack every day after school, “just in case.” After a while, he noticed the recurring theme with this, and started figuring out ingenious ways to conceal “illicit” objects from his parents. Back then it was little mildly dangerous knick-knacks like bb guns, slingshots and the occasional firecracker. (We would play with these things endlessly and eventually learned to treat them with care and common sense.) Nowadays, he uses the same smuggling techniques on much less inane objects like liquor for parties (We’re in high school). No matter how hard on tries to invade the privacy of their child they’ll always find a way to get around it. Not only that, but it also harbors resentment, and makes them more likely to lie to avoid trouble. My mum has always understood this, and when she asks if there will be drinking at the party, I tell the truth. Then she warns me not to overdo it, and lets me know that if I’m in trouble, she can always help me out of it. I’ve taken her up on that offer several times in fact, and have learned from those experiences. My friend, however, just sneaks out after his parents say no, and goes anyway. He then proceeds to get totally smashed, get taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning and get grounded by his parents. So he sneaks out again. And again. And again. He often gets in trouble that I’ve learned to avoid, and has no way out. Because if he tells his parents, they won’t help. They’ll take away his xbox, or they’ll ground him, or they’ll send him to live with his aunt etc.

    What I’m getting at is that kids will always find a way around products like these, which ultimately does more harm than good. If one treats their children with respect and dignity, they will generally reciprocate with honesty, and will be better prepared for life. Help, don’t hinder.
    I’m a seventeen year old, in case you’re wondering. And (in my humble opinion) a mature one at that.

    I love this site by the way. I look forward to having free range kids of my own.

  37. Hels January 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    If it were done to me, it would have completely destroyed my relationship with my parents. If you have to resort to such measures, I think you already have failed as a parent.

  38. Yan Seiner January 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    @Hels: Exactly. I went to a management training course a while back; much of what they covered they tied back to raising kids.

    One thing they said that stuck with me:

    “You get the behavior you recognize.” Not praise, not reward, not encourage, but recognize.

    So if you recognize “bad” behavior in your kids that’s what you get. I am convinced that these monitoring programs make kids bad in that you’re expecting your child will do bad things unless you watch them every second. So they do, as soon as they’re out of your vision.

    My kids have friends who are not allowed on facebook, or who’s parents monitor their email – so they use the school or library computers, and have “secret” email accounts that mom and dad don’t know about.

    We do limit access to “bad” sites at home but that’s for everyone, not just my kids, and I don’t really check anyone’s logs. Mostly we tell our kids to just hit the back button if they find something offensive and move on.

    The more you recognize it, the more you get it.

  39. Crystal January 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    What a great way to get kids used to constant tracking by a higher power. That way, it will be a piece of cake if the government decides to go completely 1984. No resistance. After all, mom and dad have been doing it for years!

  40. Donna January 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    I took one Christmas present to New Zealand with me. It was my present to my child (she was required to wait until we got home last night for the stuff from Santa and did so admirably well for a little kid waiting for Santa for an extra two weeks). She knew the present was in my suitcase for the week before Christmas that we were gone and saw it a few times. I think even held it. She tried to guess what it was and asked at one point if it were an i-phone. My first reaction was WTF; you’re 7. I simply laughed at her and told her that under no circumstances will I ever be buying her an i-phone and she will need to buy that herself with her own money.

    My point is, why exactly are you buying these things for your children if you don’t trust them to use them? I will certainly buy my child a cell phone when she starts monopolizing mine (I don’t use landlines), but it won’t be an i-phone. That’s her money to spend, not mine. This strikes as parents who simply don’t want to say no to their children then putting measures in place to secretly control what they are unwilling to control on their own.

    I will be able to easily look at the phone bill and tell how many calls she is making and to what numbers and how many texts she is sending and to what numbers. Any issues and I can, oh, I don’t know … ask her about them and engage in a dialogue. No fancy equipment and stalking needed.

  41. AW13 January 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    @Mollie: Agree here, a thousand times.

    As for finding out what your children are doing, try asking them. What makes this difficult is that you have to start doing this (and listening to the answers) from the beginning. You can’t wait until age 13 to start talking to them.

    “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them, all of it has always been big stuff.” Catherine M. Wallace

  42. Warren January 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Yeah, what Donna said.

    Question for Donna.
    Could the users of such software be in legal trouble? Not from their child, but from the child’s friends that have a reasonable expectation of privacy, in their communications. I was thinking of this because the testimonial says they have access to incoming communications, as well. The law may side with a parent spying on his or her own child, but what about the access to communications by another’s child?

  43. Seamus [Impetus Engagement] January 8, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Donna and Warren both bring up interesting points. Here is my own reach to this article:

    What do parents think would happen if they discovered something didn’t like, then confronted their children with it later? Surprise is the most powerful psychological tool, and what is surprising will have a deep and profound impact.

    Research from Freakonomics shows that the ONLY effect parents have on children is how much the children believe that their parents loved them, and whether they smoke/drink.

    So parenting is all about relationships. Think of all the past relationships you have been in when someone surprised you with something negative like this? It literally destroyed the relationship and you were not able to look at that person the same way again.

    Why would parents destroy their relationship to their children like this?

  44. vas January 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Look like these parents have nothing else to do. There was a Soviet-era joke: “If you want to monitor the phone calls of the whole population of the Soviet Union, you would have to hire the whole population of China”.

  45. Jenna K. January 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Checking a backpack isn’t the same thing as monitoring everything your child does 24-7.

  46. Warren January 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    @Jenna,

    So invasion of privacy, snooping, and mistrust are okay in small doses? So if a cop just wanted to search your home, with out a warrant, it would be okay, as long as it isn’t a regular occurance?

    Some things are just personal space. For me it’s my wallet. My wife her purse. I extend this respect to my kids.

    Sorry, if you do not trust your kid with tech then just do not get them for them. If they buy it themselves, then you just have to suck it up. Because even though they may be your kid, if they are paying for the phone, and the service, I do not think a parent could legally lojack it.

    The whole idea of spying on your kids, whether it be lojacking their tech devices, snooping in their backpack, or tossing their room like a prison guard……..it is all wrong, and teaches so many wrong lessons.

    As for the drinking under age topic, that is a judgement call. My parents new I drank underage, and instead of punishing, and dictating, and yelling……..they opted for teaching. They would, with my money, purchase the beer for me, and in turn we had the deal. I would stick with what I brought, not drive, and call if I needed help. I learned respect for booze, and also how to be a responsible drinker. Those friends of mine that had to sneak around, were not responsible drinkers, and many of them ended up on the wrong side of the law, for DUI, public disturbance, and assaults.
    When it comes to booze, each family is different. Each culture is different, and each person is different.

  47. m January 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    I find this a hideous and insulting invasion of privacy. Parents who need to resort to this kind of spying have destroyed any relationship they ever had with their children.

    It’s not okay for your spouse or significant other to do this.
    It’s not okay for your boss to do this.
    It’s not okay for the government to do this.
    It’s not okay for the police to do this.

    Why oh why would it be okay for parents to do this? And if a person can possibly justify this behavior to themselves, at what age does it stop? 18? 21? Out of college?

    Oh wait, it stops when your son or daughter refuses all contact with you a gets a restraining order against you.

  48. Donna January 9, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    @ Warren – Once you send an email, you no longer have any reasonable expectation of privacy in it. The other person can read it obviously, and the other person can legally disseminate them to whomever s/he choses, even the evening news, without your consent or knowledge. In essence, the email becomes the recipient’s to do with as s/he wishes.

    So it is very clear that there is no legal ramification if the wiretapping parent’s own child knows about the wiretapping – ie a condition of getting the iphone or computer was that it would be monitored. The child essentially consents by using the device and the other person need not know.

    It becomes more tricky if neither child knows, but I still don’t think there would any legal consequences. You really only need justification to search one participant’s emails to get emails. Cops don’t need to justify a warrant for both people communicating to get access to emails, just one’s. They don’t need to say “we believe Steve drug dealer is talking to Don Druggie about crack sales and we want access to both person’s email communications with each other, ” they simply need to say “we think Steve drug dealer is dealing drugs via email give us all his emails” and a warrant will give them access to everything Steve has sent and received.

  49. NJ Mom January 9, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    @Mollie–very, very well said. Thank you so much for putting that out there. I have a teenage boy and girl (13, 14) and that is my biggest worry–a gut wrenching fear actually–about the internet. Children are interested in sexuality early on, and that’s normal, but the internet puts adult sexuality in their face instantly. KidTrack would do nothing to prevent this–all my son would have to do is watch at a friends house. Duh. So it goes back to having a discussion…over and over and over again. And when the kids come from school, that’s what we’ll do again. And then I have to let go… PS I did just read somewhere that the brain is very, very “plastic” and many things we think are hardwired can indeed change–even needing hard core porn…?

  50. Yan Seiner January 9, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    @NJ Mom: Don’t sweat it. I think of the whole porn issue as another “stranger danger” thing that’s overblown. It’s interesting because it’s forbidden; just accept the fact that kids will come across it, tell them how to deal with it, and move on.

  51. K January 9, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    @Yan – I think that you have something there. I am a scientist and study reproductive behavior, so my kids have heard about reproduction, in various forms, all along. I use the proper clinical terms,and make no big deal about reproduction… but, make a huge deal about relationships, responsibilities, caring and nurturing of family, and so on. I happen to study non-humans, but the facts of life are just that here.

    Our three boys show less interest in sex than most of their peers – the details are no secret. They find it a bit gross, but mostly uninteresting.

    I think that the key learning points are that sex is normal and should be shared by committed, responsible adults – but, it is the relationship that is the key to the any such act in humans.

    And, this software – way creepy and I think would acclimate kids to a high level of governmental monitoring later on.

  52. Warren January 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    @Donna
    Thank you.

  53. NJ Mom January 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    @Yan and K–Thanks! You both did make me feel better about this issue. I will bring it up, but much more lightly than I was planning–and emphasize relationships and sexuality…as time goes on and the opportunities arise. I see now that my intensity would have just made it much worse…thanks again!

  54. mollie January 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    NJ Mom,

    Yes, the brain is plastic, and it’s interesting to review the work of this guy, Gary Wilson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

    Interesting to note that with the introduction of broadband, a different kind of “challenge” arises than did with print or even static digital photos. Of course pornography has been around forever. Now, though, is it becoming a feature of nearly every child’s life, directly or indirectly, and this first wave of boys who habituated around broadband porn are experiencing impotence and relationship problems in epidemic numbers.

    I’ve just gotten two sex-themed books: “It’s Perfectly Normal” and “It’s So Amazing” to keep out in the open as reference for the four kids in this house. I realized that constructively offering something positive, educational and fun is more helpful than forbidding something “unhealthy.”

  55. Rebecca Quesada January 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Sorry to burst the bubble….I exist. I do like the availability of KidTrack and I like that I do not have to wait for the cell phone bill to come in because by then it can be too late. We are extremely open in my home and we discuss everything and as a parent I chose to have this on her phone, but with that said I was completely honest with her about it. It is your choice as a parent to tell them about it or not. I chose too and so far it has worked for us…

  56. Warren January 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    @Rebecca
    Okay, so if your family is open and honest, then why do you find a need for KidTrack?
    Telling your child to their face, “I trust you, but I am going to keep tabs on you at all times.”, just tells them you don’t trust them, and basically you have no problem lying about it.
    Please explain, how you can say you have an open home, filled with honesty,” We are extremely open in my home and we discuss everything”, and yet find the need to spy on your kids.

    The only thing I can see coming from telling them you have KidTrack on their phone, is a way to control them when they are out of your sight. Is that it?

  57. Yan Seiner January 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Wasn’t “Trust but Verify” one of the slogans of the Cold War?

    In other words, trust on the surface, spy like h*ll, and be ready for mutually assured destruction?

    Not a really good basis for a relationship.

    Rebecca, you say that you “do not have to wait for the cell phone bill to come in because by then it can be too late”.

    Isn’t that pretty much the basis of worst first thinking?

  58. mollie January 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Where does my responsibility begin and end as a parent?

    Do I tell my kid, “If you earn the money, you can buy anything you want, and I don’t have a say in it”?

    The rule in my house was, “You may not have in your possession any device that accesses the internet or broadcast TV.” The rule in Dad’s house was, “You have to wait until you’ve earned the money.” I’m doing my best to raise my kid in a way that honours choice, trust, care and respect. I just don’t think uncensored internet belongs in the hands of a child that age.

    I realized that my relationship with my son was compromised by my zero-tolerance rules around the iPod Touch, so he can have it here, with some agreements. Most recently, that includes disabling the browser software. He has supervised access to the internet in the kitchen, on the computer.

    When I was first exploring options about screening out porn on the iPod Touch, I found out that I cannot filter Safari like I can on the computer: it was all or nothing. “All” is just waaaaaaaay too much responsibility for my son at this point, in my opinion. Fine to say “free range,” no one is more passionate about it than I, but in my town, kids under a certain age are not able to access “adult” videos in a retail environment, so even if I let him loose, I know there are some checks and balances in place. With the internet, there is no such community agreement.

    I’ve never seen the internet, or a cell phone, as a gateway to predators. I see it as a tragic development that young children have such unfettered access to this technology because it takes focus off of other kinds of play, connection, learning, and relationship-building. I won’t mince words: I hate these hand-helds. I’m absolutely bewildered by what I perceive as a laissez-faire approach to bestowing these things on children without much thought to what they’re doing with them, and how that activity affects them and their development.

    Is there a single person in North America who wouldn’t allow their kid, age 10+, to have an iPod Touch, or is it just me? Taking the browser software off of the thing was, I felt, the least I could do to show some semblance of parental responsibility in this situation.

    I feel sad, imagining that I am quite alone in this.

  59. Rebecca Quesada January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Well, wow! I am not concerned about my daughters decisions that it isn’t why I put it on there.

    I am more worried about people sending her things and she finding herself in a place where she can’t handle it. I am not spying on her. She had a choice between having a phone with KidTrack or not having a phone. Life is about making decisions. Having a phone is a luxury in my home, not a necessity. It comes with rules.

    Again if you are curious about the product, you try it out and if you don’t, then it isn’t for you. There isn’t a correct way to parent, if you are doing the best job that you can, you do what works for you.

    For now based on my experiences in life, this works for us. The great thing is that we live somewhere where there is choice.

  60. Tsu Dho Nimh January 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    @NJMom … A while back, when the Internet was young and I had a early teens nephew (13 or 14), I turned him loose with my browser and computer to research a term paper for school. I showed him how to use a search engine. I also had nothing more sophisticated than the ability to record which websites he visited in the browser history.

    As I thought he would, he alternated research with casual browsing … but after a token visit to playboy.com and hustler.com (for the bragging rights?) he searched for some of his favorite musicians and hit the mother lode of jazz and blues sites and links at Tulane and was lost down the music rabbit hole for the rest of the weekend. He also turned in a KILLER paper with references his history teacher had never heard of, properly cited.

    The key is – if you don’t want your kids surfing the net looking for trouble and porn – make sure they have something better to look for.

  61. Yan Seiner January 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    @Mollie: the internet is a tool, it’s an access to a world that was not possible when I was a kid. I grew up in a society that was bathed in fear of the secret police, of associates betraying you to the authorities, of political officers being more powerful than anyone else.

    The internet is our best defense against that. You choose to limit your kids’ access to a wealth of information because of your fear of porn?

    Newsflash: if your kids want to see porn, they’re seeing it. On their friends’ ipods, on laptops, on tablets. They already have access to it. Worse, they have access to it in a public way, surrounded by friends who egg them on and show them the “best parts” – assuming that they have friends like that.

    My kids use their ipods to keep relationships with friends from around the world, to stay in touch with friends when they’re travelling, and to update us when they’re away from us.

    Do they surf for porn? I sincerely doubt it in my house as I block lots of “unsavory” sites, but more for convenience than from a fear of exposure. I really don’t want to see S&M sites when researching “Madagascar palms”. (Really. Apparently candles made from palm oil are used for S&M wax stuff…. Go figure. Try it one day. Not at work.)

    But if my kids surf for porn, so what. I don’t care. I hope they will talk to me about it and I hope to be able to point them to age appropriate material regarding sexuality and relationships, and explain why this particular form of entertainment is so popular.

    Today in America, we are bathed in fear of child molesters, rapists, pornographers. We’ve come a full circle; all we need is a Politburo of Pornography and we can hang the iron curtain on our side of the border.

  62. Warren January 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    @Rebecca

    Oh my good gravy, do you actually think that was a choice for your kid? No phone or a spy phone? For a kid that isn’t a choice, that is extortion. WOW is right.

    Having a phone is a luxury in my home as well. Then again so is chocolate, air conditioning, video games, movies, pizza, chinese food and so on. But I do not put conditions on any of them.

    You say you are worried about what other’s are sending her. If you truly trust you kid, then you trust her choice in friends. I know I do.

    You can spin this anyway you want. This is nothing more than spying and controlling. Pure and simple.

  63. Yan Seiner January 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    @Rebecca: “I am not spying on her”

    This so reminds me of Inigo Montoya….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

  64. AW13 January 9, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    When I was a kid, I had a great relationship with my parents. I could come to them with anything, and although I certainly didn’t tell them everything (what teenager does), I always felt comfortable going to them and asking for advice if I was uncomfortable with something that my friends were doing. I trusted them not to freak out and to give me good advice. (Whether or not I heeded said advice is a different story and I’m sure it is difficult to watch your kid do something you advised them against, or to attempt to handle a situation on their own and fail when you could have helped them. It is very, very difficult to see your child get hurt. But try and fail they must – this is part of growing up.)

    Anyway, if you put spyware on your kid’s phone, it means that you don’t trust them, either to avoid trouble on their own, or to seek out your advice if trouble comes to them. If my husband had a cell phone and I put this kind of spyware on his phone, what would that say about our relationship? Nothing good. Certainly not that there was a foundation of trust and love in our marriage. If it works for you, that’s your call. But I personally find it creepy.

  65. mollie January 10, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    It’s fine with me if my kid researches stuff on the internet. He’s obsessed with martial arts right now, and that’s what he’s really after. Porn is, I don’t believe, a hot-button item for him right this moment. He did, however, search for porn a couple of years ago, unbeknownst to me, and both he and my younger daughter, ages 5 and 8 at the time, saw enough to get the littler one talking to their Dad (not to me, I guess since they’d used my computer, they were worried about my reaction) about it at the other house, and at that point, I put the filter on the browser, and talked to them about why I wanted them to steer clear of that kind of imagery (I want you to really enjoy sex, and get your information about it from me, not the internet, since I will give you better and more accurate information).

    It didn’t mean an end to internet use for them. It was the start of a conversation, and one I didn’t think I’d be having so early, but then again, by the time they’re 10, a vast majority of boys have already sought out and found porn on the internet.

    This is not Playboy or Hustler, folks. It’s waaaaay more intense than anything we had access to when we were kids, or what people had access to even 11 or 12 years ago. That’s why a lot of people are going “pfft!” and acting like it’s no big deal.

    I’m no prude, I’m just imagining that allowing a kid to have unsupervised, unfettered access to the whole wide weird internet at age 11, given the stakes around sexual development, is not a parenting choice I want to make here. I’m torn, though. I know that forbidding something, walling kids off from it, makes it more attractive. Then again, would I leave the Windex or Comet on the floor if my baby were crawling around? No, I put that crap on a high shelf, because babies don’t know any better.

    I guess what I’m saying is that sexually, and in terms of impulse control, pre-teen boys might need a little less access to the heavy-duty sh*t on the internet, i.e. put it on a high shelf.

    By the time my kid’s 16 or 17, I will figure my job that way is done; if he doesn’t understand what is healthy for himself, I can’t stop his self-destruction. But we’re on the front end here, and the longer the delay in seeing that crap, the less difficult it is to find your way back to getting turned on by a flesh-and-blood girl who’s right there in front of you.

    I feel icky that we’re even having this conversation about spying on kids, locking down their research on the web for fear of “bad influences” — I am so NOT that paranoid person when it comes to boogeymen, “predators,” and, hell, disappointments for my kids! I want them to live fully. But I want to keep them away from stuff that would harm them as they’re growing, whether it’s household chemicals as babies, alcohol and drugs as they gain maturity but their brains are still developing… I guess I see broadband hard-core porn that way. I can’t control whether my son sees it with his friends on their computers, their iPods, but does that mean I throw up my hands and pave the way for him to privately access it on a handheld at MY house?

    Between the paranoid culture that surrounds us as we try to encourage our kids to develop independent decision-making, and the freaky-deaky hyper-sexualized and hyper-materialistic empire that is North America, I’m longing for a refuge, where things are pared down to the essentials, and community is the stuff of life.

  66. Lisa January 10, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    PERIDOCALLY uploads it to the servers?? Pfft! What good is that?! I want something that notifies me the moment my child makes a move with her phone. Heck! I want something that notifies me when she is THINKING of using her phone so I can coach her on what to say or write.

  67. Rebecca Quesada January 10, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Again it is a parenting tool that is available. Do I look at the reports everyday? No, I don’t because we are doing things together every day and communicating with each other and when she is home she uses the land line.

    I am not worried about internet porn, or her altering her appearance for sex or whatever. My daughter plays sports, works on her art and lives a balanced life from what I can see.

    So you ask why do you put this on her phone? Don’t you trust her? Yes, I do, but with that said I don’t necessarily trust everyone out there. I am an adult and I have had some pretty interesting experiences online with people. I have also experienced quite a bit of tragedy that in some ways could have been avoided or solved sooner with existing technology had it been available while I was growing up. And yes I get that I can’t control anything, but it is about having another tool, not the end all be all tool to help me. KidTrack isn’t supposed to replace conversation or me as a parent. It is just a tool that is available for parents if they choose to use it and then it is up to the parent to use it how they see fit in their lives.

  68. Rebecca Quesada January 10, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    And one other thing, before everyone continues the debate based on partial facts, perhaps you should have a better understanding of how the product works:
    http://www.rushsoftware.com/KidTrackTech.aspx
    or take a look at the FAQ page
    http://www.rushsoftware.com/FAQ.aspx

  69. normal parent January 10, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    I don’t know why all you parents have your panties and boxers in a bunch. what it sounds like to me is most of you people have never lived in the ghetto, never been lured by men or have been followed, or been suppressed, oppressed or controlled by someone else or hurt by someone else, even when you have been a strong child with an open relationship with your parents. Oh, those kids are the exception? How many ppl come out later in life to talk about experiences like this?? Way too many. The fact is Children are children and no matter how strong, open, and talked to they are, they are still vulnerable. I’m all about the privacy but it is OTHER ppl i am weary of no matter how normal things seem. I’m not saying live in this state of paranoia, but what i’m saying is that i wont sacrifice the safety of my flesh and blood especially in this new technological age just so i can go around and talk to my friends about how cool of a parent i am by not putting a harmless app like this on the phone of the person i love the most in this world. I get we are here to Parent, to guide etc so that our kids know how to navigate this world on their own, but if kids didn’t need any protection, a concerned parent, or anything like that, then they would pop out ready to go. The core idea of guiding, being open, parent, advise, our kids is great and i believe its the write way to be. but i’m not going to gamble on the well being of my kids just so i can say that i’m giving them privacy and independence.

  70. Katie January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I look at it this way. When kids are old enough to pay for their own devices, then they can have their privacy. Until they are making enough money to do so then they aren’t their devices and a parent can put on them what they want.

  71. K January 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    @normal parent:

    I have been followed by unsavory characters. I have taken the wrong bus and ended up in sketchy neighborhoods. I traveled to NYC at 15 and (before I found my friend) was approached by more than one pimp. I have these stories… but, I came through all of those experiences unscathed because my parents had incrementally allowed freedoms. I developed some savvy that let me deal with these experiences with smarts, not panic. I allow the “gift of fear” that de Becker talks about in his books.

    I was raised in rural New England, but we traveled a lot. My parents didn’t hide unsavory things to me, but pointed them out (I am not sure why that person is standing over there near, we should probably leave – this doesn’t feel right, or this person came to our door – we don’t need to let them in – we can offer to call the police for them through the door).

    That adult sensibility of response to situations that are suspicious doesn’t magically happen when you turn 18, it develops with experience. Kids are smarter than many give them credit for.

  72. Warren January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    @Rebecca
    You still have not answered my questions.
    1. Telling your daughter that she either has a phone with your spyware on it, or no phone at all, is not a choice, it is an ultimatium. How can you honestly say that is a fair choice?
    2. How can you tell your daughter you trust her, but I will be monitoring your every move? That isn’t trust. If you honestly trust your daughter, then doesn’t that mean you trust her choice in friends, and whom she communicates with?
    3. Are you not sending mixed messages, we trust you but we are watching?

    @normal parent
    Sorry but you say not to live in a paranoid state, but your speech, words, tone and attitude says you do. I would bet that you went thru some traumatic event as a child, just by the way you are talking. Please deal with your issues, without putting them onto to your child.

    And no offense, do not preach about living in the ghetto. That excuse has been used far too often over the years to be relevant, to anything. No matter where you live, we all have the same choices to make and live with them afterward.

  73. normal parent January 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    @ you

    You’re right those responses dont magically happen when you turn 18. I dont discredit children at all. but im sorry. despite all of the talks and what to look for and follow by examples.. How many children have still been lured by “help me find my dog” or “im your moms friend” etc etc.. even with those talks those kids had with their children…or the practice screaming if something happens..and no screams came. I dont discredit the smarts of children. but don’t discredit the smarts of unsavory characters.
    And again, why play roulette with the safety of my child and maybe stop something that could have been prevented. ..beats me.

  74. Yan Seiner January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    @normal parent: How does spyware on your kid’s phone prevent them from living in a ghetto? I’m confused.

  75. normal parent January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    @you too
    It doesnt prevent them from living in the ghetto. i never said it did. does that statement even sound right to you? that spyware prevents ppl from living in a ghetto? Not sure what the confusion is about

  76. Warren January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    @normal parent
    First off, you could have picked a better screen name, but that is just an opinion.

    How is spyware going to prevent your child from being abducted? Do you think the abductor is going to call and arrange a convenient time, for the abduction? Your GPS is worthless, because you know they will dump, and smash the phone immediately.
    All this stuff does is give you a false sense of security. That and telling your kid you don’t trust them.

  77. normal parent January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    @warrenG
    Sorry, but i’m only cautious. i think confusing it as being paranoia. So since when has cautiousness and taking preventative measures to keep your children safe been associated with bad parenting? and better yet when did someone set the guidelines to reflect the cautious parent to be the intruder??
    What it sounds like from the majority of ppl on here is something to this effect. Teach your kids how to walk up and down the street safely, once you do that let them walk up and down the street the rest of the day, and DONT look out the window periodically to make sure they are ok. right?? because you should have faith everything will be ok since you taught well and gave them the tools. and your little 7 year old will be just fine …..no thanks, im still going to look sometimes. and i dont see any difference between that and this software, just for peace of mind once in awhile
    -Honestly thank goodness nothing has ever happend to me directly. So im sorry i dont have any issues. And i do realize no matter where you live anything can happen. but obviously you dont know statistically crimes are usually higher in the ghetto. its not the hollywoodized place you see on tv. just saying..

  78. normal parent January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    @warrenG
    Sorry. you’re right the software will not prevent anything from happening to them just as what youre preaching…and in this case we should probably do away with the police department too..because ppl can be taught to handle their own. Nobody needs any layer of protection anymore in fact. right?? And if this prevented one child from something bad happening to them? maybe the text from a teacher who was molesting your child?? (and yes i do know of one) its still not worth it because it doesnt garauntee anyones safety. the fact is nothing garauntee’s any ones safety. But If i think it can somehow help my own child, in addition to the kind of parenting you guys are talking about, then im freaking doing it. without feeling bad about it.

  79. Rebecca Quesada January 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    @Warren

    1. Life is not fair. Although, I would love it to be. She did have a choice and she made it. Maybe because she is open with me and has nothing to hide.

    2. I don’t monitor her every move. Do you even read what I have written? I barely look at the daily emails. Let me define barely, I look once a week or so. And I definitely look when she seems moody.

    And I will tell you why. Someone close to me took their life and according to research given to Survivors of Suicide, a person in this group is 4 times more likely to take their own life. My daughter was close to this person and even though we talk about everything, I would like to do my best to protect her from being a part of this statistic. Any clue that I can get that there is something up, I will take it to talk to her, not to punish her. You can judge me all you want based on your life, but until you have felt the level of grief that I have……..

    3. Did I say that to my daughter? No, I did not. You are putting words in my mouth.

  80. Warren January 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    @Rebecca
    You can sugar coat it all you want, justify it all you want. When you give someone anything but it comes with conditions, it is about fear and control.

    Same as the so called normal parent, both of you are operating out of fear, and control.

    You are the ones with issues that need addressing, not your kids. Living in fear, is no way to live.

  81. Donna January 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    “Teach your kids how to walk up and down the street safely, once you do that let them walk up and down the street the rest of the day, and DONT look out the window periodically to make sure they are ok. right?? because you should have faith everything will be ok since you taught well and gave them the tools. and your little 7 year old will be just fine …..no thanks, im still going to look sometimes. and i dont see any difference between that and this software”

    Wow, that is the most irrational statement that I have ever read in my whole life. That there is no difference between glancing at your child walking on the public street and reading her personal email. It boggles the mind. That is insane and proves that you are not even worth trying to discuss anything with in a rational way.

  82. Donna (the other one) January 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    My 11 and 9 year olds share a cell phone (we don’t have a home phone). I read them the info on this, and their first reaction was, “Mom, if you were that paranoid, we’d leave the phone at home.”

    I don’t monitor their phone. I told them what they were and were not allowed to use their phone for, and (wonder of wonders) they limit their phone usage to what they are expected to use it for. We had a hiccup or two when they first got it, and after a few talks, they use it for its intended use.

    I don’t freak out about websites. We discussed Internet safety some time ago. They’re not interested in doing anything but schoolwork and watching Disney on it.

    It’s amazing how much they learn about handling themselves when they know how I expect them to behave. Oddly enough, that’s how they end up behaving. My 11 year old cleaned my oven today, on a volunteer basis, using toxic oven cleaner and everything. And she did it correctly.

    When, oh when, are people going to stop infantilizing young people and recognize them as intelligent and capable? As long as kids get the message that they are stupid and irresponsible, that’s how they’re going to act!

  83. Warren January 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I am convinced that Rebecca for sure, and possible normal parent are on the payroll of the software company. Let’s not forget, the company sent Lenore the info in the first place.

  84. Rachel January 11, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Sure, you can refuse to buy a cell phone for your kid – but that doesn’t stop the kid from buying a cell phone themselves.
    I knew a kid who did that with her Christmas and babysitting money. Buying a burner cell-phone with pre-paid minutes from the corner store is easy and inexpensive.
    and don’t think you can “protect” your kids from the internet. Keyloggers are easily overcome with projected keyboards (free software). Or your kid will boot into a live CD like Tails which allows browsing with no trace (https://tails.boum.org/). Maybe you think you can keep your kid from using the computer at the local library, but if you or your kid’s friends have laptops, no bother – every cafe in town has free wi-fi.
    But you could avoid the hassle of monitoring your kid’s every move and just have a honest conversation about the world.

  85. mollie January 11, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Just saw the movie “Chasing Ice” and have to say it puts all of this into jarring perspective.

    I no longer feel any urgency whatsoever about what my son may or may not masturbate to.

    We’ve got far, far, far bigger challenges ahead.

  86. normal parent January 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    Actually i think Warren is on the payroll of this website.
    and that’s why he feels as strongly as he does.

  87. Warren January 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Lenore, where’s my cheque? LOL

    No, I just believe that spying on your kids, no matter what motive you have is absolutely the wrong way to go.

    And I do not care how you justify it, by saying you are worried about what other people send your kid. It is still spying and telling your kid you do not trust them. Black is black, blue is blue, red is red. Spying is spying.

    normal parent, if you child has things sent to them that they shouldn’t, or that bothers them, and they do not come to tell you, it is probably because you have told them by actions, that you do not trust them. Funny how that works.

  88. Rebecca Quesada January 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Warren

    I am tired of your personal attacks. Is this not a forum for discussion and debate? I am an adult, are you? I bring up REAL points and your way of answering is “Rebecca MUST work for the software company.” Well, I do not. I am a baker, if you MUST know. Part of parenting is being flexible, which I am and open to discussion which I also am. It is okay to disagree, I am big fan of attachment parenting, and guess what many of my friends are not, but by attacking them personally is not a way for me to get my points across nor is it a way for me to have friends. You exhaust me.

  89. Warren January 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    @Rebecca
    We tried to have a discussion, but you refused to answer my questions. Baker maybe, politician most likely. Just kidding.

  90. Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    @Warren

    No, not so much. @Rebecca answered your questions (just read above), while you attributed all sorts of behavior to her that she refuted.

    From this exchange I’m supposed to infer that you show great flexibility to your child(ren) and allow for divergent opinions from them.

    Why would I infer that?

  91. Warren January 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    @Anon

    Sorry, but I usually have little time for those that refuse to stand up and be counted, or hide behind Anon.

    My kids and I regularly negotiate fairly.

    I trust my kids, they have been taught well, and have good heads on their shoulders. And yes, they have had idiots text them things. Guess what, they came and showed me, asked for my guidance and then proceeded how they felt best.
    My kids do not need me looking over their shoulder, and spyware on their phones is just that. I don’t care if you look at the emails everyday, or once a year……….it is still spying.

  92. Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    @Warren,

    Yes, of course. I’m sure that you have taught them well. And I’m also sure that you negotiate fairly. After all, I’ve seen how you debate fairly with others. You attack people for who you presume them to be and don’t address what they have to say.

    I’m much more interested in what your kids have to say about you, but I’m afraid that you probably have them on your payroll and that we wouldn’t get a fair representation of who you really are.

    You’re a bully Warren and I’m afraid that you might be cyber-stalking Rebecca, Normal Parent and anyone else that disagrees with you.

    There’s hope for you, however. You can join cyber-stalkers anonymous and please remember – just one day at a time.

    Best of luck.

  93. Warren January 14, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    I’m a bully for calling a spade a spade, and a spy a spy……..very well.

  94. Anonymous January 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    You are a bully in that you can’t seem to listen to people that disagree with you and ramrod your opinions down their throats.

    I have no idea why you are a bully. Problems potty training perhaps?

  95. Jodie February 1, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    If my kid is a teen and suddenly deciding that I’m the enemy, this could make the enmity even worse. I guess that’s OK with some parents, but not me, but I would use it to track where the money for the cell phone bill is going. :)

  96. Rodney C. Davis February 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    I’ve told my teenagers that I reserve the right to invade their privacy at any time if I think its necessary to protect them. But I had to hasten to add that it would take some pretty dire circumstances to make such an extreme thing necessary. I EXPECT them to act responsibly, TELL them in explicit, detailed and clear language what “responsible behavior” looks like. In the beginning they were a bit anxious I’d do resort to the sort of thing in this post, but over the years they’ve learned that reserving the right to do something only means its not out of the question. They’ve gone out of their way to show us how responsible they are. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t work for all kids, but I suspect it would work for most.

  97. internet cafe May 7, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    It really is an incredible in addition to useful section of facts. I am just satisfied you provided this useful information and facts with us. Please stop us informed in this way. Thanks for giving.

  98. jk May 18, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    I came across this site because last night a mother called me and told me that my tween age son had sent her (by mistake; it was for her son) a horrible text with foul words in it that I am sure he thought was a joke but that could be construed as threatening.

    I have an old style phone for him without internet or the ability to take photos. I was not concerned about text messages because I stupidly thought what trouble can he get in without being able to go on the Internet? In effect, I was trying to be a free range parent.

    Now I am researching ways that I can look at the content of his text messages. Obviously, by using language that could get an adult charged with something, he has shown he is irresponsible and can’t be trusted at this age to send appropriate texts.

    Perhaps the most free range and responsible thing to do would be to pull the plug on the cell phone altogether. But I like for him to be able to talk to friends and also for him to have it in emergencies. So I think a monitoring device is more humane. Sorry if I am not being free range in my thinking.

  99. jk May 18, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    If anyone has better ideas about what to do with my son, please post.

    My older children want me to take away the phone. They think he is too immature.

    And, yes, they have free access to Internet, etc., on their phones. I never go on their phones, but I see no need to.
    They are older. We have had no problems with them.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Free Range Kids » What It’s Like to Have Parents Electronically Monitor Your Every Move - January 8, 2013

    […] Readers — This came in as one of the comments on the post below this one, about a device that lets parents track their child’s every text, photo, phone […]

  2. That Was the Week That Was (#132) « The Honest Courtesan - January 13, 2013

    […] Intra-family spying gets ever more intrusive: […]