Thursday, 29 January 2015

Don’t spy on your kids

A BBC article about parents using apps to spy on their kids.  Parents, don’t do that.

Some of these apps report on texts, calls, social media posts, sites visited etc. Some send push notifications when the phone user breaks the speed limit or goes outside a pre-determined boundary.  Some can be used covertly.  Some disable the phone if the child doesn’t call back or switches their phone off.

There are all sorts of problems with this aside from it being plain creepy.  For one thing, of course, all this data could be misused by a parent, spouse or boss.  It could be abused by a hacker.  It could be abused by the companies selling these apps.  It also seems likely to cause children to engage in risky behaviour such as leaving their phone with a friend if they want to go somewhere they’re not supposed to.  Besides, spying on people is just as dodgy as hell.

We have to be both more frank and more trusting with our kids than we used to.  There really are dangers out there and children must be able to recognise, avoid and confront them.  They need to know they can go to parents if they encounter a problem without those parents overreacting.  They also need to be able to communicate in secret.  They will find ways to do that regardless of any technical restrictions placed on them and will likely put themselves at more risk in doing so than if we simply trusted them.

I know that this is a lot more difficult than it sounds, but spying on kids, overtly or covertly, is definitely not the answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment