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Can Of Worms: Is it ok to spy on your kids online?
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This poll series is inspired by a new TV series being aired in Australia called "Can Of Worms". In fact, it's not just inspired by, it's blatantly ripping it off, to some extent.
The premise of the show is that it's a comedy panel that discusses ethical issues (i.e. opening up a can of worms, figuratively). Each week, it brings up two 'big worms' for discussion. There's only one rule - no fence sitting!
And so, the first question in the series - is it ok to spy on your kids online?(##RESPBREAK##)8##DELIM##Squishalot##DELIM##
I clicked yes, but I am not sure that 'spying' as such is the right word.
Keeping an eye on what websites they are visiting, and who they are talking to, that I have no problem with. Especially for very young ones who may not understand the implications of key loggers and virus', or the nastiness of stalkers/child molesters etc.
A lot of families have communal computers that are used by multiple members of the family, and used for internet banking etc. The problems that could be caused by young ones unknowingly going to malicious websites, clikcing on dodgey links etc.
But for straight out spying, to see who your older kids are hanging out with, talking to, partying with, then no, I am not so much for that.
Literally spying, as in not telling them you're doing it, is pretty bad.
Literally getting on their accounts and looking through their stuff is way over the line.
As always with these kinds of 'you have to give a yes or a no!' questions, it's an oversimplification. It's remiss as a parent not to keep an eye on what your child does to the extent necessary to keep them safe. It's remiss as a parent to give them no privacy or freedom.
A parents first responsibility is to protect their kids.....period.
I have a 15 yr old, and a 10 yr old, and I have a crazy amount of surveilance in our home, including on all the computers. (It doesn't hurt that CCTV and security are what i do for a living). I have a total of 16 video cameras in and outside of our house. All the public areas of the house are covered by video, and the entire house is covered with audio. I also have keystoke loggers on every computer in the house. Now, that being said.....
I only am interested in activities or information that would be harmful to my kids. Drugs, alchohol, and violence are all I am really interested in. I dont care that my 15 year olds conversations with his girlfriend seem like they belong in Penthouse Forums, or what his friends are doing. But there are waaay to many stories about cyber-bullying, suicide, and teens doing stupid crap with drugs these days to not keep an eye on them. And the cameras are great since they know they are there, they know they cant get away with anything in or around the house, and their friends know they are there too. So far, the worst thing I have caught on video is the two of them fighting all day long while I am at work.
You can easily protect your children without going behind their backs and spying on them or watching every move they make.
As always with these kinds of 'you have to give a yes or a no!' questions, it's an oversimplification.
Definitely, and that's part of the point. We can argue that it's an oversimplification, but if you really dig down into it, all the shades of grey can essentially fall into one camp or another - black or white - when you compare them back to each other. At the end of the day, saying "it's right in this case, but it's wrong in that" is likely to lead you to inconsistencies and hypocrisy, or force you to identify 'yes/no' responses for a whole host of different circumstances.
It's remiss as a parent not to keep an eye on what your child does to the extent necessary to keep them safe. It's remiss as a parent to give them no privacy or freedom.
If your child demands privacy to do unsafe things, are you being remiss by revoking the privacy, or remiss by letting them do the unsafe things unsupervised? Is it different if they're above 18 / below 18? Is it different if they're living under your roof? Is it different if what they're doing occurs somewhere else, e.g. at the local park or something? At somebody else's house? What if you don't know where it's occurring?
In the broadest terms, you can give them privacy, or you can watch what they do when they're attempting to hide something from you. We're not really talking about watching your children and making sure they don't touch the stove.
Most of the embarresing moments that could probably happen still come from forgetting to delete browsing history, I remember this.
A lot of kids do that, so I don't think it's neccersary to spy on them...everyone deserves privacy.
Lol, deadlocked 50/50!
I voted yes - depending on the age and internet habits of the kids.
We're not really talking about watching your children and making sure they don't touch the stove.
I'm interpreting this (as well as the rest of this post based on this) as 'we're not talking about making sure they don't do stuff when they don't know any better, we're talking about when they are trying to actively hide their activities.'
I'd say most kids who are dumb enough to post their address, etc., in a chat room aren't smart enough to realize they shouldn't tell their parents what they're doing (unless the person they're talking to orders them to, but that's not likely to result in a very strong resolve in the face of an angry, immediate parent).
Maybe I'm just making wild generalizations, but I think the kids in most danger of serious safety concerns from the internet are the most naive. 'Of course this person is my age, they said so!' These kids aren't going to be wiping their histories (I doubt they know how), they aren't actively going to be attempting to conceal it from their parents (I can even hear kids saying 'mom! I made a new friend!'), where as kids with more common sense are going to know to avoid that sort of thing entirely. If they're taking pains to wipe histories, clear cookies, use private browsing, etc., they're probably looking at porn.
Touching the metaphorical stove is not something sneaky kids do. Think of the literal equivalent: no one
to touch the stove. The reason you're touching the stove in the first place is that you haven't got a clue what it'll do, so how can you possibly know you should hide it? It's something you do when you're too naive to try subterfuge. Hence it's barely even spying to notice they're doing that and to stop them. Most of the other transgressions you can do online (the ones the smarter kids might do) aren't as harmful and shouldn't be snooped around in.
Fair point. Having said that, the rest of the post still applies. At what point do you draw the line between kids being groomed by paedophiles, or kids chatting dirty with their friends?
Well, unless all of your kid's friends are in fact paedophiles I think your distinction kind of makes itself.
Edit: Okay to be fair I was only flippant because I'm not 100% sure I understand your point. But if it turns out your kid is having cybersex with someone I draw the line when they can't tell me they know the person IRL. And then obviously that person has to meet certain conditions i.e. not be 40.
If it's my son browsing, I will give him more freedom than my daughter. If it's my daughter, I'll be a COP!. If she has a problem, I'll turn off the internet.
I also do'nt want them to be exposed to porn too soon. So I'll restrict their online until their 15 or something.
While there are good things on the internet, there are also bad things. I need to filter the bad things.
And yes, if they do browse, they wouldn't know I am spying on them.
That is a huge double standard, Face...
But if it turns out your kid is having cybersex with someone I draw the line when they can't tell me they know the person IRL. And then obviously that person has to meet certain conditions i.e. not be 40.
But how would you ever know if you're not spying on them?
You think kids don't brag about cybersex?
Not to their parents, no.
That is why you let your kid have friends over. You'll hear everything because they yell super loud.
Is it ok to spy on your kids in real life? ;)
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