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Links of the Day:

– Parents are buying surveillance tools to monitor their kids’ computer and phone use. What are the parents afraid of? The New York Times mentions sexual predators in passing, but focuses more on everyday kid stuff:

…the anxieties of parenting in the digital age have spawned a mini-industry, as start-ups and established companies market new tools to track where children go online, who they meet there and what they do. Because children are glued to smartphones, the technology can allow parents to track their physical whereabouts and even monitor their driving speed.


A text message application for the iPhone called textPlus allows Kyle Reed of Golden, Colo., to be copied on every text message his teenage son sends his girlfriend. “I feel torn a little bit. It’s kind of an invasion of privacy,” he said. “But he’s 13. I want to protect him.”


Does (Dan Sherman) worry that his daughters think he does not trust them? Mr. Sherman says they should learn that they will be monitored throughout their lives: “It’s not any different from any employer.”

Reading text messages your son sends to his girlfriend is way different than the behavior a future boss. That’s just snooping. Kids deserve privacy and space to grow up. They need room to make mistakes, get their hearts broken and build trust with their parents. I can’t imagine my parents listening in on my phone conversations or reading the notes I passed in class. It would have felt terribly violating.

This is baby-monitors-gone-wild.

By the way, the belief that the Internet is filled with online predators who want to harm your child is a myth.

– Two Buffalo area state senators have a way to get Bills fans to behave more responsiblysell beer an hour earlier at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

– Even though Albany’s district attorney said he wouldn’t prosecute arrests of Occupy Albany protesters, state police racked up $91,000 in overtime patrolling the encampment and protests.

– You might not want to book a hotel room on Orbitz if you’re a Mac user.

– Five years ago today, five recent Fairport High School graduates were killed in a crash in Ontario County.

8 Responses to Parents, Back Off

  1. “It’s not any different from any employer.”

    I am sorry, I got a little queasy reading that. Have we become that comfortable with constant intrusion into our lives? From employers monitoring Facebook statuses to teachers monitoring students’ tweets we have become such a society of snoops. We allow anyone with any authority to invade our private thoughts and to deal with us how they choose when they do not like what we have to say. Aldous Huxley is laughing his backside off somewhere right now.

  2. Well said, Christine.

  3. June 26, 2012 at 9:16 am Joy Rebstein responds:

    It’s a very different world out there thanks to this electronic age. One foolish text and suddenly the kid is hit with pornography charges. I never snooped and read my kids messages, but I can understand why parents might.

  4. June 26, 2012 at 11:40 am theodore kumlander responds:

    i think reading your teens text messages say alot about the sick state of the parents mental health.

  5. June 26, 2012 at 11:46 am Filipe responds:

    Having had my then 15 year old sister run away from home with someone she knew from only the Internet, I understand the desire for vigilance, yet I get the idea of privacy. Myth or not, it happens, and it can happen to anyone.

  6. I can agree with that sentiment Theodore, though how much of that is because we live in a culture where that kind of snooping is not just OK, but considered a moral obligation?
    Leaving aside my previous stated concerns, we seem to have no ability to reach a middle ground (from a cultural narrative standpoint, I know plenty of parents who do manage this) between being an overbearing parent or being a completely permissive parent. Also, we seem to be unable to not foist our own ideas about parenting on others. Not every family’s situation is the same.

  7. If you don’t trust your child perhaps you should not be giving them access to these electronics in the first place. My kids have limits and I hope they follow them when online. They don’t have cell phones yet, because I can’t figure out why a young teen/pre-teen would need one. Except for the obvious “everyone else has one” reasoning.

  8. June 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm lynn e responds:

    When do people teach a right to privacy? By example and respect for others.

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