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Scout, one of several new temperature trackers, is right: When your kid is sick, you do feel bad. But the idea that “dragging things across their forehead” — i.e., using a non-invasive, swipe the forehead thermometer — is insanely cruel, and that doing this at night can feel like “torture,” well, there’s your definition of a First World Problem.
But beyond my personal gripe with exaggerating inconvenience is a deeper issue: The notion that we should continually monitor our peaked children’s temperatures is just another sign that at some point in the near future, we will be exhorted to monitor our kids for everything, all the time: Their whereabouts (via GPS), their in-class behavior (via EdLine and such), their texts and downloads (via a panoply of computer software), what they ate for lunch (an online service offered at some schools) and, now, their vital statistics.
The implications are twofold: First, that parents will be expected to devote themselves to tracking their kids the way Seal Team Six tracked Osama.
And Second, that children will come to understand that everything they do carries such a threat of calamity — illness, abduction, a B-minus — that their parents simply MUST supervise their every outing, ice cream, pop quiz, cold symptom and key stroke.
Free-Range Kids fights for the rights of kids to some unsupervised time, and the rights of parents to give it to them. One way to fight is to resist the offer of absolute knowledge being proffered by the tech world, not unlike the serpent offering the same thing to Eve. – L