Advisor on childhood to British Prime Minister David Cameron has surprised many with her assertion that parents should not treat their kids’ mobile exchanges (text messages, internet history) as private, but rather that it’s essential for parents to check up on their children, according to the Daily Mail.
Protection, not “privacy”
Citing the prevalence of online dangers and the risks children are exposed to when they communicate with strangers over the internet, childcare expert Claire Perry insists that it’s "bizarre" that parents still consider these exchanges as ‘private’.
She went on to say that kids are “sexting”, or sending
messages of a sexual nature, in almost every school in the UK, and commented
further that children are sitting on their phones or laptops until late at
night. She suggested turning off the router, or getting the child to hand over
her phone at a certain time. She also recommended that parents download software to their child's devices and set the filters.
The privacy issue has plagued parents for generations:
Personal diaries were considered by most families as out of bounds, as were
letters. I remember the father of one particular girlfriend I had as a teen
actually bugged the family phone in order to check up on his daughter. A social network is not a diary or a letter, though. Even sensible adults are sometimes caught out by fake online exchanges.
The difference with online exchanges, however, is that it is possible for a child to become exposed to all sorts of risks; the concept of “privacy” is negated by the parents’ duty to provide a safe, secure environment for their child. What do you think?
Is it rude to check your child’s phone?