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Am I the only person that has a real big problem with software like this?

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Ah yes, other peoples kids...Eek! As it's obvious that you really do care, I'm quite sure yours are just fine. I just think the usage of this technology sends a bad message to the masses. As I mentioned before, if a child doesn't step over the line because they don't want to that's a good thing. But if the don't step over the line because they are afraid to...the end result is destined to fail. I've seen it happen many times when kids get out of a repressive culture and then just go bat shit crazy when they finally realize nobody is watching ... Too many of my childhood friends died that way.
-Stoic Joker (October 05, 2013, 08:27 AM)
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Just like anything else.  It's all related to the use and the foundation of respect.  I trust my kids.  But I verify... not because of a lack of trust, but because I don't necessarily trust everyone else in the world, nor their perceptions of the situation.

And here we get to the true crux of the matter. Because in still do not know. Because all you can truly confirm is that if there was an accident...the phone wasn't damaged.

Now, if the tracking was normally off...and a child had the option of turning it on (or it was/could be auto activated by an accelerometer) ... that would be an acceptable compromise. Because it gives them a send up a flair safety net, and a modicum of trust/control of the situation. While also giving you some level of true assurance that all is truly well (e.g. no news really is good news).
-Stoic Joker (October 05, 2013, 08:27 AM)
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It gives an idea that they're in the area, so that even after he was late getting back, the panic button wasn't raised.  I talked with him about the fact that even though he didn't have reception, he could have (and should in other situation) look for another phone (which is what I had to do before the age of cell phones).  There was also the matter of being late.  But the tenor of not knowing at all was removed.

It's been well proven that the first few hours after anything happens with kids are the most important.  So in the case that something untoward happens, I want to not be waiting thinking everything is ok, but to give every advantage I can.

Even if it is "your kids" (insert strongly worded language what one might do to protect "your kids"), I still think that's beginning to slide down the wrong path. Particularly for Teenagers is where it all gets fuzzy.

I think that if there is a meta-theme where the parents have to have Always On monitoring, that resentment will simmer "nice and fine" until it blows up like a volcano. Then in the resulting emotional explosion is when it gets really dangerous because the kid will be in Rebellion Mode!

Plus these monitoring solutions are "lazy" - "I do nothing, I know every step you make". The whole country isn't one gang war zone. And as that resentment builds, the kid will actively try to break the app himself.

Rob Malda of Slashdot fame posted an anecdote once that his parents tried to reprimand something he did as a child, and took away his computer, so he logged into his friend's computer or something.

Then what happens when the kid turns 18? That's why college sees a lot of bumpy stuff, because suddenly after living in a virtual walled room, all that goes away and then the kid has had no practice taking his baby steps to live a real life.

-TaoPhoenix (October 05, 2013, 10:18 AM)
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You're missing the whole thing about respect.  Just like anything else, it can be used in the wrong way.  And there are slopes all around us, so that's no excuse either.  We talk about things.  And I make sure that they understand the purpose behind things, and can have a safe environment to express themselves and what they feel.  And they have.  And when they do, I take that into account.  That's respect.  And that's the big difference between altruistic and non-altruistic monitoring- respect.

I wish you guys would distinguish in your arguments between the case for monitoring a child's cellphone/gps with vs without their knowledge.  To me this is the critical factor distinguishing appropriate from inappropriate.
-mouser (October 05, 2013, 09:38 AM)
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Good point, but it's kind of moot for young kids. Age plays a very important part here. Not many 5-year olds would understand GPS or keylogging, much less whether it's appropriate or not.

I politely disagree. To monitor is to send a message you don't trust the person being monitored. And that is corrosive to a relationship regardless of whether the distrust is open or covert. And doing whats "legal" (i.e. what you can get away with) is not the necessarily the same thing as doing what's right.
-40hz (October 05, 2013, 10:09 AM)
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For kids? Or cheating spouses, etc?

For kids, I think you're off base there as age is still important. Monitoring your kids location is entirely appropriate for 8-year olds, and very far from "corrosive". But what's appropriate for an 8-year old isn't the same as for a 16-year old.

Particularly for Teenagers is where it all gets fuzzy.
-TaoPhoenix (October 05, 2013, 10:18 AM)
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Exactly. That's where kids start to make more meaningful decisions.

Monitoring your kids location is entirely appropriate for 8-year olds, and very far from "corrosive".
-Renegade (October 05, 2013, 10:48 AM)
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The responsibility for knowing where your 8-year old is one thing. But I completely reject the notion that some smartphone equivalent of a home-arrest ankle monitor is either appropriate or necessary to accomplish that.

Additionally, how can you ever be sure you, as the parent, are the only person with access to the information that software provides? It's closed source - so you only have the developer's word who has access. And developers have happily lied about such things before. Look at what we've since learned about how far you can trust a privacy policy from Google, Microsoft, and most of the other biggies in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

This is a dangerous product in that it teaches people, at a very young age, that it is somehow perfectly acceptable for you (or others) to electronically monitor another human being purely for your own peace of mind. doesn't get more corrosive than that.

But that's ok. I'm sure Uncle Sam is all for it. So that should be assurance enough (for those who are still concerned) that it's completely "ok" to hang an electronic snoop on your kids. That will go a long way towards soothing any anxiety they may have when the government starts doing it to them as adults about twenty years from now.

This is a dangerous product in that it teaches people, at a very young age, that it is somehow perfectly acceptable for you (or others) to electronically monitor another human being purely for your own peace of mind.
-40hz (October 05, 2013, 11:25 AM)
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How is it purely for your peace of mind?  It's been very much proven that the hours immediately after any abduction are the most important.  Being able to know where your child is at the moment that something is wrong and little timmy is somehow just gone can save a life and has been shown to, not just in anecdotal situations.  And if you do so, I think the parent also takes on the responsibility to explain it to the child, and the differences, and (more importantly) listen to the child and answer questions truthfully.

^Granting the horror story (albeit real) scenarios you're offering, why not simply avail yourself of virtually every smartphone's "find device" feature? And also let the ubiquitious "Timmy" simply call home of there's a problem? Why do we need a keystroke recorder, a websites visited logger, and all the other things that come with this product if our only real intent is to know where a child is and provide them with a mechanism to phone home or call for help?

Of course, you could just watch your kid and not farm it out to a device. But I suppose that wouldn't work with the lifestyle many parents choose to pursue for themselves (and impose on their children) these days.

FWIW, last I heard, FBI statistics indicate that the overwhelming bulk of the abductions, along with the murder, physical abuse and sexual assault against minors, are carried out by immediate family members, relatives, and "trusted non-family members (i.e. close friends/lovers of the parent(s), their doctors, school employees, and members of the clergy) rather than that legion of roving nameless predators "we all know" are out there everywhere you turn.

So if you grant the FBI isn't making things up here, perhaps what most needs to be monitored (for Timmy's protection mind you) isn't Timmy himself, but rather his parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, siblings, and the family's close personal friends and (unfortunately) their doctors, educators and clergy?

Yes there are the Ambers who are snatched off the street. And that's certainly something to be upset about. But the single biggest potential threat to a child's safety and physical well-being seems to be his own family circle rather than strangers. Talk to any child protective agency in any state you'd care to pick if you don't believe it. And that's very important to keep in mind. Because if the goal is to protect children, we're looking for threats in the least likely places while ignoring the documented danger right under our own noses. Apparently because the actual reality is far too disturbing for most people to contemplate.

Depressing thought isn't it? :'(


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