Big Mother Is Watching

What is it like to grow up with constant parental supervision?

GizmoWatch devices from Verizon are used to monitor young children at an age before phones were invented. Parents get an alert if their child goes beyond what they set. At that point, they can dial and say “I see you!”

Life360, an app that allows you to monitor your older children’s safety via their smartphones with a variety of features such as “allowing them to be safe at all time,” as an App Reviewer on YouTube explained.

It may seem uncontroversial and even calm, so pause to consider your childhood. Is it possible that your parents would have known where you were all the time? It would have made a huge difference in your childhood.

A year ago The New York Times ran an article on kid trackers and asked kids themselves to respond. Over a thousand responded. Many people said that they felt safe and secure knowing their parents. Some said that they were fine with being followed, as their parents did not check up on them often. There were many who stated things such as “Rather than being tracked, they didn’t mind it,” because their parents weren’t checking on them much.[My parents]Although it is for my safety, I feel that I don’t have any freedom. I am constantly being monitored.”

The only thing that really makes an iPhone different from an ankle bracelet is its size [monitor]”It is that one you have in your pocket,” states Oregon psychiatrist David Rettew. Parents, it’s not easy (Oxford University Press). The tracker is a way for parents to send a message to their children that they need adult electronic eyes. Children may think the world is dangerous and they can’t trust anyone without it.

This is a dangerous message. There are very few chances of your child being abducted.

Even worse, these apps could undermine your child’s independence. Carli Sussman is a Vancouver mother who says that she used to say, “I was going on a bicycle ride, but I went to the grocery store instead.” She lets her son, 10, ride his bike without any tracking because she believes that eventually you will be in adulthood and need to be able make choices. Sometimes you make bad decisions, but sometimes good ones.

Passivity is all that you can learn when someone else takes the wheel. However, many parents do not see this as such. A mother of teenagers wrote me via Facebook, “It’s a tool that reduces nagging or hovering.” I do not need to contact them or send them a text reminder/confirmation if they are on their way.

She monitors her children’s actions from far away to make sure they do what she expects. She can intervene if they don’t do the right thing and she does. This is the exact opposite of trusting their actions or to accept the consequences for any mistakes they make.

The Facebook mom added that “it’s rare we’ve used location surveillance to catch them somewhere they shouldn’t be—though they’re likely deterred from ‘sneaking out’ knowing we can see their location.” She isn’t talking about being in a position to. Reach Her children. Instead, she will place them in something similar to the panopticon. This is a circular prison that has an invisible guard at its center. Prisoners cannot see where they are. Not being watched.

A teenager responded to the Times article managed to wrest free. His mom placed a tracking device in his car and he felt betrayed. He wrote that he was a teenager and needed to have his freedoms. “I need to learn how to protect myself.” His mom was convinced by him. The tracker was removed and he now writes that he feels our relationship has strengthened because his mom trusts him to make sound decisions and share honest information with her. I feel more free and responsible.

It’s a terrible idea to deny our children freedom and responsibility if we want them to be free to do what they choose.