Spy on your kids: show them how much you trust them
Well, schools are breaking up (American schools, that is; Brit schools will have to wait another six or so weeks). That used to mean cuckoos and swallows and cricket on the village green. But now it’s just another excuse to sell you monitoring software so you can spy on your kids while they’re at home and you’re at work. The latest to cross my desk is Pandora 6.
Parents need a solution that will effectively keep their kids safe on the Internet while the parent is outside the home. Ideally, it’s going to be something that removes any doubt and shows the parent exactly what their child is doing, while also being something they can check from work. That is exactly what our PC Pandora 6.0 monitoring software was created for.
Jamie Leasure, co-founder of Pandora Corp
Well, I beg to differ. There’s only one thing that will keep kids safe on the internet, and that’s knowledge. And there’s only one thing that will keep you sure of what they’re doing, and that’s trust. Without knowledge and trust, no amount of software will be a substitute. With genuine knowledge and trust, no amount of software is necessary. And if you spy on your kids you’re going to drive a wedge that will undermine any lingering trust you might have.
That’s my standard response to legal spyware. But the waters are now muddied by increasingly draconian laws from increasingly draconian governments. Possibly the strongest reason to monitor home computers is the growing use of 3 Strikes laws, and the way in which the entertainment industry can bypass judicial oversight by private arrangements with the ISPs.
Bullying is wrong. Kids can understand that. Being bullied is wrong. Kids can be taught what to do about that. Visiting porn sites is, well, not welcomed by most parents. But downloading free music and videos? Even many adults have difficulty in simply accepting that as illegal. And when people are at home and bored, what’s really so wrong with that?
What’s wrong is that the entertainment industry can now come down on you like a ton of bricks. And if your kids repeatedly download illegal material over the summer months, then you might find the whole family’s internet connection disconnected. That’s a heavy price for something you didn’t do. So I’m finding that I have to modify my position.
If you have, or even hope to have, a half decent relationship with your kids, don’t spy on them. Talk to them.
But if your relationship is already shot to pieces and you don’t really have much hope of repairing it, then you may need to get some monitoring software: as much for you as for them.