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It's a parent's right to spy
Jason Perlow: To protect their children in an increasingly dangerous world, parents need to be able to monitor their use of the Internet and social networks and to restrict the use of their children's devices electronically.
In short, I think they need to be able to spy on them.
Sounds extreme? Let me put it this way: I don't believe children and teens have rights per se, because they aren't yet adults. They are afforded privileges by their parents, who nurture them, provide them with a home, clothe and feed them, and pay the bills. They also have a right to be protected by law. Period.
Parents or legal guardians should be able to observe the full data feeds of what their children post and receive via Facebook, text, email, and any other application or service used on their devices. It is a parent's right to "violate" their child's notion of "privacy".
Just like enterprises can and should dictate with BYOD policies which apps and services can be installed on devices used on their networks, parents should be able to control which applications and services can be installed on their children's mobile devices, and when as well as how they can be used.
Educate your children, don't spy on them
No. Surveillance may be part-and-parcel of the modern world, but there are other ways to keep kids safe and make sure trust between a child and parent stays intact.
Trust matters. If you feel the need to spy on your children's activities when they use a smartphone or tablet, perhaps it would be more prudent to ask yourself why you don't trust them -- or whether you believe they are old enough or not to own a device.
If you're going to monitor their emails, social media messages and onine activity, why not read their diary too?
The core issues are safety and respect. Eyes over the shoulder aren't the way to keep your children safe, especially as they are often more tech-savvy than their parents and often able to conceal activity. In addition, by spying, you demonstrate a lack of trust as a parent -- which could make a child less likely to turn to you when they really need it.
It is more important to educate your children in responsible use than track their every move. Just as you'd explain why a child shouldn't speak to strangers, it is a parent's duty to explain the dangers of the Web. If a child respects you and follows the rules, they keep the device. They don't? Take a tip from the guy that blew his daughter's laptop to pieces.