Do You Spy on Your Children?

A thread over on Geeks caught my attention earlier. The original poster is asking for recommendations to help spy on some children while they are using a computer. The user says that he is setting up a computer for a foster child living in his sister’s home. He also explains that it’s not really “spying” they need to do. Rather, they are looking to set up content filters and parental blocks. These, to me, are more than acceptable. You definitely want to block young children from accessing adult-themed websites. However, some of the answers from our community raised my hackles. They literally want to spy on everything a child is doing.

I’m sure many of you will loudly disagree with me. I may even get flamed for my opinions, and that’s fine. I’ve developed quite a thick skin over the years. But – I am absolutely against spying on your children. There is a huge difference between blocking questionable content and outright reading everything they type or do. That is an invasion of privacy, and I don’t give a crud if they are your children… it’s still wrong, in my book.

I can already hear it: “How am I supposed to be SURE my child isn’t doing anything wrong online?” Well, perhaps you should talk to them about what they’re doing. Communication between a parent and child is critical, including discussions about Internet usage. At some point, you have to learn to trust your own parenting skills, and cut your kid some slack.

These days, the chances are that your little angel knows far more about how computers work than you do. I have read articles and comments from too many youngsters who bragged about the exact methods they use to get around every one of those blocks and restrictions you place. The harder you try to contain them, the harder they will work to bust free. It makes sense to me to give them a bit of freedom to begin with.

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