Friday, 20 May 2016

More spying on kids

There are some very worrying online resources about how to spy on your kids.  Many of them assume that spying on your kids is the right thing to do.

Some, like this one, purport to ask whether it's OK to spy on your kids but also include statements about the alleged tactics kids use when they find out you're spying on them.  Almost as if they answer to the question is self-evidently "yes".

That particular link contains the following on when you shouldn't spy on your kids:
Image result for spying on your kidsIf you have a teenager who meets her responsibilities, comes home on curfew, is where she says she’ll be when she said she’d be there, is hanging out with the people with whom she said she would be hanging out, and you have no reason to be suspicious about anything, I suggest you stay out of her room. And I think you should tell her that, too. You can say something like, “I’m not going to interfere with your privacy, because you’re doing so well. I have no reason not to trust you.” That way, she knows she’s being rewarded for her behavior—your lack of interference in her personal space is a direct result of her actions.
Yeah, that's.... creepy.  And nonsensical. Threatening to invade your kids' privacy if they don't behave exactly according to your standards isn't going to develop trust and likely is going to foster risky behaviour.
So when you spy on your otherwise responsible child, the message you’re sending is, “I don’t trust you, even when you haven’t done anything wrong.”
Way to miss the point.  Kids are going to make mistakes.  The way to deal with that is to talk about it and then let it go, not to invade their privacy in a doomed attempt to prevent them making further mistakes.  Mistakes are how we learn.
To be honest, I don’t like talking about rights; the word is just too overused in our culture. But here’s the deal: I believe that whoever’s name is on the mortgage has a right to look anywhere in their house. In my opinion, that’s your right because you own the house. 
Yeah, the thing here is that kids are people and you don't own them.  It's not like they even have much of a choice about where to live.  After all the rhapsodising about how it's a parent's responsibility to keep their children safe, we get this:
Many parents will ask, “Why should I tell him I’m going to [search his room]? He’ll only hide it outside of the house.” But that’s not your problem as a parent.
Yeah, as long as presumably dangerous activity isn't happening under your own, mortgaged, roof, there's nothing to worry about.

Here is a (hilariously inept) instruction manual for how to spy on your kids. That's it's actual title - "how to spy on your kids online". This isn't beating about the bush.  But to be fair, there's some good advice in that article, hidden amongst the bullshit.

This is sort of sweet:
And be warned: Kids can learn how to delete the history to cover their tracks, so ask questions if you discover that the history was cleared by someone other than you.
Yeah, if your kids aren't smarter than that, you probably have more problems than you think.  Especially if you're not smarter than that either.
With most issues of safety -- climbing a tree, riding a bike, crossing the street -- we progressively give kids more freedom. But in the digital world, new and different risks come up as they grow. Your instinct might be to back off as they approach the tween years, but that's when to get even more involved.
This is not a clear thinker.  There is a considerable difference in risk between a four-year-old climbing a tree and a 14-year-old climbing a tree. They're climbing different trees.  There are 'nImage result for spying on your kidsew and different risks [in tree climbing] as they grow'.  The last sentence is worrying on every level.

The article ends with a very telling 'decoding' of some common abbreviations.  The author seems at least as concerned with figurative use of the word "fuck" as about actual safety.  As I said, telling.

 Abbreviations and code words speed up instant messaging and texting, but they also mask what people are saying! Brace yourself. Here are some commonly used terms:
ADIH: Another day in hell
A/S/L: Age, sex, location
BTDT: Been there done that
CULTR: See you later
GTFO: Get the f-ck out (expression of surprise)
H8: Hate
ILY or 143 or <3: br="" i="" love="" you="">JK or J/K: Just kidding
KWIM: Know what I mean?
LLS: Laughing like sh-t
LMIRL: Let's meet in real life
LYLAS (B): Love you like a sister (brother)
NIFOC: Naked in front of computer
PAW or PIR or P911: Parents are watching or Parent in room (drop the subject)
POS: Parent over shoulder (can also mean "piece of sh-t," used as insult)
Pr0n: Intentional misspelling of "porn"
STFU: Shut the f-ck up (expression of surprise rather than reprimand)
TMI: Too much information
TTFN: Ta ta, for now (goodbye)
WTF: What the f-ck?

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