13 votes

I'm stuck and could use some help, please

First, I understand that I acted badly on this platform which got me temp-banned for a while. Please, forgive me and try to look past this.

To explain, my oldest son (now 12 going on 13) has been using Discord for about 3 months now. I've had about 3 talks with him about online behavior like bullying and the like. I believe that he understands what I'm talking about.

To add to a potential problem, I signed a document from his school that agreed that he would not use his school issued laptop for anything else except school work. However, he's been using it to chat with friends on Discord. I've, also, spoken to him about this and the possible ramifications for me and his mother. Again, I believe that he understands.

However, I'm feeling a bit worried that he could cross a line and potentially get all of us in serious trouble.

What would you recommend?

43 comments

  1. [2]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    It's likely the school's guideline is unenforceable but they're doing it as a CYA tactic. It reads to me like groundwork for when a student does something objectionable with their device. The...

    It's likely the school's guideline is unenforceable but they're doing it as a CYA tactic. It reads to me like groundwork for when a student does something objectionable with their device. The school can plausibly deny responsibility and push it entirely onto the students/parents, saying that the device was being used outside the agreed-upon parameters.

    Also, I can assure you that your son is not alone in using his school device for personal use. Nearly all of my students do despite my best efforts to encourage them otherwise. If he's just chatting with friends that's probably mostly harmless. Even so, getting in the habit of separating that out is, I think, good digital and workplace hygiene.

    I remind my students constantly that they should want to keep their personal stuff off of school devices, as we have access to a lot of information about them. My school uses a program called GoGuardian that, when active, lets me see their screens and all open tabs, as well as recording a timeline of everything they visit. I'm transparent with students about this and let them know that they have full choice of what I see by what they choose to pull up, so they should save the personal stuff for another device and only stick to academics on their school device.

    If a session is not active I don't see anything on their computers, but I do know there is still some form of continuous monitoring because our district IT staff get pings for certain flagged behaviors (e.g. searches regarding self harm or suicidal ideation).

    I don't know if your son's school uses monitoring software (though the likelihood is high), but one thing you might want to talk to him about is that he can control where he goes online on his school device, but he can't control what other people post in Discord. If he's on it on his school device and someone posts something offensive/harmful, it's possible that his device could get flagged and he might face consequences for it, especially if he chooses to respond to it or get involved with it.

    24 votes
  2. [2]
    Adys
    Link
    As @lou said, you’re giving very little information which at face value is meaningless imo. You are also implying some things without outright saying them - it sounds like your son has been...

    As @lou said, you’re giving very little information which at face value is meaningless imo. You are also implying some things without outright saying them - it sounds like your son has been cyberbullying other kids, but without knowing more context, I don’t think there is much we can do to help.

    What I will say is that talking about the consequences for you and his mother is most likely unhelpful. You need to talk about the consequences for him, while explaining what drives those (rather than have them feel arbitrary).

    But if this is all driven by bullying like behaviour then there is probably a lot more that needs to be uprooted. Understanding why he behaves the way he does, why he does the things he does, is what is important. And without concrete examples, I’m as stuck as you are.

    At any rate, you talking to him won’t uproot any of that. He needs to talk to you. He needs to feel safe telling you what might be things he doesn’t want to share with anyone. I don’t know your relationship with him but gaining such levels of trust may take years, so if you don’t already have that this might be the job for someone else, or an neutral third party (a psychotherapist for example).

    8 votes
    1. suspended
      Link Parent
      We, his parents, have always been involved with his understanding of emotional intelligence. I do not have any evidence that he has ever wronged another person. I'm almost certain that he trusts...

      it sounds like your son has been cyberbullying other kids, but without knowing more context...

      We, his parents, have always been involved with his understanding of emotional intelligence. I do not have any evidence that he has ever wronged another person.

      I'm almost certain that he trusts me, his mother, friends, teachers, etc with his emotions.

      4 votes
  3. [6]
    cloud_loud
    Link
    When I was 13 I would use 9gag and was beginning to use Reddit, I had a snapchat and everything. Discord is just the modern version of that. I also used the school computer (never had a laptop...

    When I was 13 I would use 9gag and was beginning to use Reddit, I had a snapchat and everything. Discord is just the modern version of that. I also used the school computer (never had a laptop issued because I didn’t go to a fancy school) to go on Reddit while class was going on.

    It’s what teenagers do. This is not a problem at all.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I believe that the only potential problem, right now, is that he is using his school-issued computer to interact with Discord. I signed an agreement, from his school, that he wouldn't use his...

      I believe that the only potential problem, right now, is that he is using his school-issued computer to interact with Discord. I signed an agreement, from his school, that he wouldn't use his school-issued computer for anything else besides school work.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        cloud_loud
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I deleted this comment and copy pasted it here instead: Unless this is some strict private school, they won’t care that he’s going on Discord sometimes. My mom signed similar paperwork every year,...

        I deleted this comment and copy pasted it here instead:

        Unless this is some strict private school, they won’t care that he’s going on Discord sometimes. My mom signed similar paperwork every year, and every year I would use Reddit, play flash games, and watch YouTube videos. In fact, teachers caught me messing around during class and there were almost no consequences other than “hey, pay attention.”

        It’s not like he’s gonna be expelled and they’re gonna press charges against you.

        Edit: And just so you’re reassured, that paper work is more a formality rather than a legal document. As long as he’s not watching porn on it or torrenting (and unless he’s really dumb he won’t) he should be fine.

        10 votes
      2. [2]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        Does he have another device where he can use discord?

        Does he have another device where he can use discord?

        2 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          He has two other device choices, yes.

          He has two other device choices, yes.

          2 votes
  4. [2]
    Don_Camillo
    Link
    I'm going to go in a bit different direction than you migth want to, but as a lot of you are talking about school surveilance, maybe it is time to give him a copy of Little Brother by Cory...

    I'm going to go in a bit different direction than you migth want to, but as a lot of you are talking about school surveilance, maybe it is time to give him a copy of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and encourage him to read up about Linux on a Stick and don't normalize this kind of toxic relationship to technology.

    6 votes
  5. [8]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [7]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I signed a document, provided by his public school, agreeing that he would not use his school-issued computer for anything else than school work.

      I signed a document, provided by his public school, agreeing that he would not use his school-issued computer for anything else than school work.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        How the fuck do they expect to have this enforced? Sounds like CYA. You don't need to take further action imo. As long as you trust your son not to do shit he shouldn't do in the first place...

        How the fuck do they expect to have this enforced?

        Sounds like CYA. You don't need to take further action imo. As long as you trust your son not to do shit he shouldn't do in the first place (school property or not).

        8 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure and it's, probably CYA. I trust him, yes.

          How the fuck do they expect to have this enforced?

          I'm not sure and it's, probably CYA. I trust him, yes.

          2 votes
      2. [2]
        vord
        Link Parent
        Pretty sure if those types of docments were enforced for any scope other than CYA, there would be something like 80% unemployment in the USA. I'd wager that they'd just take away their school...

        Pretty sure if those types of docments were enforced for any scope other than CYA, there would be something like 80% unemployment in the USA.

        I'd wager that they'd just take away their school laptop before anything else.

        5 votes
      3. [2]
        frostycakes
        Link Parent
        From what you described, it sounds the same as the technology usage contracts both I and my parents had to sign as part of agreeing to the school district's Code of Conduct each year, and that was...

        From what you described, it sounds the same as the technology usage contracts both I and my parents had to sign as part of agreeing to the school district's Code of Conduct each year, and that was in the late 90s and 00s, when we didn't get school issued devices to take home even.

        Didn't stop us from doing things like bringing flash drives with Portable Firefox, games that people would hide in the NAS, and the sites that acted as workarounds to play games on the school computers. If it's something they're actively concerned about, the district IT department would just block access to these sites and apps entirely, regardless of the contract. (happened to our workarounds every single year, from what I remember)

        Impressing upon them the whole aspect of it all being visible to their teachers or at least school IT that can easily forward messages on to teachers/administration is a good idea, but short of them bullying other students on Discord, or downloading illegal content or porn on the school issued computer, nothing much will come of it, unless they have other issues with your child and are looking for any grounds to punish them.

        4 votes
  6. [4]
    nukeman
    (edited )
    Link
    You got temp-banned? For what? More on topic: I doubt you’ll get in trouble for your son’s computer misuse, but he might: I’m assuming you’ve mentioned about that if this was a job, he could get...

    You got temp-banned? For what?

    More on topic: I doubt you’ll get in trouble for your son’s computer misuse, but he might:

    • I’m assuming you’ve mentioned about that if this was a job, he could get fired for this?
    • Does the Acceptable Use Policy have a de minimis exemption?
    • You might try a privacy argument; “The school can monitor anything you do or say on this laptop, and you have no expectation of privacy.”
    • Does your son have a personal computer? Why isn’t he using that?
    4 votes
    1. [3]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I accused another Tildes user, very rudely. I said something like (and I don't remember precisely): "so and so doesn't give a @#$% about..." Yes. No idea. It's Discord and I haven't read their...

      You got temp-banned? For what?

      I accused another Tildes user, very rudely. I said something like (and I don't remember precisely): "so and so doesn't give a @#$% about..."

      I’m assuming you’ve mentioned about that if this was a job, he could get fired for this?

      Yes.

      Does the Acceptable Use Policy has a de minimis exemption?

      No idea. It's Discord and I haven't read their policy.

      Does your son have a personal computer? Why isn’t he using that?

      He's already agreed to use one of the other two iPads instead of his school-issued laptop.

      Thank you for responding.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        nukeman
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I meant the acceptable use policy for the school district. The document you signed probably outlines any potential exemptions. I know for my work computers we have a de...

        No idea. It's Discord and I haven't read their policy.

        Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I meant the acceptable use policy for the school district. The document you signed probably outlines any potential exemptions. I know for my work computers we have a de minimis exemption (i.e., occasional Reddit or Tildes browsing good, Spotify or YouTube bad).

        Glad he is installing on the iPad.

        2 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          Thanks for clearing that up. I'd have to investigate that through his school to be sure and I'll do that. Thanks again :)

          Thanks for clearing that up. I'd have to investigate that through his school to be sure and I'll do that. Thanks again :)

          2 votes
  7. [3]
    HotPants
    Link
    I disagree with most commenters on here. Today, when even five year olds are accessing zoom on school computers, parents are expected to monitor what happens on the internet. And there is no one...

    I disagree with most commenters on here.

    Today, when even five year olds are accessing zoom on school computers, parents are expected to monitor what happens on the internet.

    And there is no one age fits all, for when restrictions are relaxed.

    12 years old does not automatically mean you are mature enough for unsupervised access to the internet.

    @suspended, perhaps you could think back to how you treated the schools code of conduct you likely signed, and treat the computer agreement in a similar manner.

    Your child wants to socially interact with his peers over a digital device. It's cool now. But any communications he makes on a school device can be monitored. Much like playground activities, internet communications are inherently not private and can be monitored by his teacher & the school. But the internet can also be monitored by any internet provider and any federal authority and any parent.

    And there are new rules on the internet. While a 12 year old can play doctor and nurse with another similarly aged child, a 12 year old is not allowed any pictures of a naked 12 year old.

    And that includes naked selfies. You are not allowed to take naked selfies of yourself unless you are over 18.

    I'm married to a federal defense attorney, so I always hear about the worst case scenario.

    I have to remind myself of the stupidly fun shit I pulled when I was 12.

    There is no right answer. Good luck in this brave new world.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Thank you for pointing this out. I am slightly concerned. However, I am very close to my son and I trust that he will not misbehave and will tell me if he witnesses others doing so.

      Thank you for pointing this out. I am slightly concerned. However, I am very close to my son and I trust that he will not misbehave and will tell me if he witnesses others doing so.

      3 votes
      1. HotPants
        Link Parent
        Thank you for thinking so carefully about your sons welfare.

        Thank you for thinking so carefully about your sons welfare.

        2 votes
  8. [3]
    NoblePath
    Link
    Please stop this. A kid, even that one old, can’t and shouldn’t care about the impact their behavior has on parents. This is especially true if there is a compulsive element to the behavior....

    I've, also, spoken to him about this and the possible ramifications for me and his mother.

    Please stop this. A kid, even that one old, can’t and shouldn’t care about the impact their behavior has on parents. This is especially true if there is a compulsive element to the behavior. Communicating blame to our kids for our stuff builds shame and is an emotionally devastating blow. Our children look to us to love and affirm them, which this kind of thing is the opposite of that.

    Please find a way to affirm good behavior, set healthy boundaries. And possibly consider therapy for your kid if the behavior is way put of line. Although on that point, I’m kinda like what’s the harm for a 13 year old, assuming lifestyle is otherwise healthy?

    3 votes
    1. DrStone
      Link Parent
      Perhaps you're imagining parents using blame, shame, and guilt as all-purpose tools to simply get behavior they (the parents) would like. A kid, especially one that old, can and should start to...

      A kid, even that one old, can’t and shouldn’t care about the impact their behavior has on parents.

      Perhaps you're imagining parents using blame, shame, and guilt as all-purpose tools to simply get behavior they (the parents) would like. A kid, especially one that old, can and should start to care about the impact their behavior has on others though, parents included. It can be done tactfully, and it can be done "objectively", focused on the clearly connected external consequences and their tangible effects, omitting things like potential feelings/disappointment/etc. This is especially important if the consequences for the kid are much more unlikely or insignificant than the consequences for others; many kids will brush off the concern as overbearing parents if the former is all they're made aware of.

      13 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      You must have taken this the wrong way. We do not communicate blame to our children. We always affirm good behavior, use active listening, talk about their feelings, etc. My eldest son simply...

      You must have taken this the wrong way. We do not communicate blame to our children. We always affirm good behavior, use active listening, talk about their feelings, etc.

      My eldest son simply asked if it was possible that one of the parents could get into hot water over the computer issue. We stated, at the time, that it was possible. However, when I found out it was not a huge issue (see the other comments in the thread and 'Cover Your Ass' references) I let him know that everything was fine and not to worry about it any more.

      4 votes
  9. [15]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [13]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      Probably not a good idea. Teenagers deserve at least some level of freedom and being an over-bearing parent like that isn’t gonna do any good. I know I’d be embarrassed and angry at that age if my...

      I'd probably monitor his online activity

      Probably not a good idea. Teenagers deserve at least some level of freedom and being an over-bearing parent like that isn’t gonna do any good. I know I’d be embarrassed and angry at that age if my parents knew that I was looking at porn and googling private things.

      You can’t shield your children from the world forever, and all you’ll be doing is blocking their curiosity.

      9 votes
      1. [4]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [2]
          Adys
          Link Parent
          These things can be prevented by talking beforehand about the risks, red flags, etc. As a kid, ever been told something like "Don't get into a car with a stranger" by your parents? Then you can be...

          These things can be prevented by talking beforehand about the risks, red flags, etc.

          As a kid, ever been told something like "Don't get into a car with a stranger" by your parents? Then you can be thankful they chose to go the route of talking to you, and didn't instead put a gps tracker on you with a constant video feed of where you were all the time.

          5 votes
          1. cloud_loud
            Link Parent
            Yeah I agree with this. The best thing to do is to give them warnings and advice, but this is a time in their life where they have to figure things out on their own. So that they can also grow...

            Yeah I agree with this. The best thing to do is to give them warnings and advice, but this is a time in their life where they have to figure things out on their own. So that they can also grow into adults. Being on top of them 24/7 like they’re still five years old isn’t going to be doing anybody any favors, and they’ll probably resent you for it.

            3 votes
        2. cloud_loud
          Link Parent
          Yeah and children get kidnapped walking home from school. My mom barred me from using the internet and playing online games because she thought that someone would kidnap me, a parents paranoia...

          Yeah and children get kidnapped walking home from school. My mom barred me from using the internet and playing online games because she thought that someone would kidnap me, a parents paranoia knows no bounds. That was until school starting requiring an internet connection.

          And pedophiles have always been a thing. They didn’t just pop up through chat boards. In middle school one of my friends was “dating” a college student that she met irl.

          Again, just because bad things happen doesn’t mean that teenagers should be stripped of their freedoms and that parents should be constantly monitoring and babying them.

          2 votes
      2. suspended
        Link Parent
        Yeah, as far as exploring I'm not wanting to restrict him in any way. My worries are more from his school (using his school-issued computer outside of compliance), predators, him being involved in...

        Yeah, as far as exploring I'm not wanting to restrict him in any way. My worries are more from his school (using his school-issued computer outside of compliance), predators, him being involved in any way with online bullying, etc.

      3. [8]
        HotPants
        Link Parent
        Alternate point of view: Billie Eilish says porn exposure while young caused nightmares

        Alternate point of view:

        Billie Eilish says porn exposure while young caused nightmares

        The view is echoed by experts focusing on child welfare, including Unicef, who say exposure to pornography at a young age can be harmful.

        1. [7]
          cloud_loud
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Well she says that she was 11 and that she watched “abusive” porn. Which to me means that she might have been watching some more extreme stuff. Either way 11 and 13 may only be two years apart...

          Well she says that she was 11 and that she watched “abusive” porn. Which to me means that she might have been watching some more extreme stuff. Either way 11 and 13 may only be two years apart (which funnily enough I’m only two years older than Eilish), but it makes a world of difference.

          Also, this isn’t about porn or keeping your children away from porn. It’s about giving your teenager privacy as they grow into adulthood. I mentioned porn because I watched porn for the first time at around that age. Kind of a weird time to interject with that point.

          4 votes
          1. [6]
            HotPants
            Link Parent
            Yes, privacy is important. But internet privacy is not a childhood right. You might feel different when you have children of your own.

            Yes, privacy is important.

            But internet privacy is not a childhood right.

            You might feel different when you have children of your own.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              cloud_loud
              Link Parent
              I think when people get older they forget what it’s like to be a teenager. They get this infantilized idea of what a 13 year old is like. And then they think that that gives them the right to...

              I think when people get older they forget what it’s like to be a teenager. They get this infantilized idea of what a 13 year old is like. And then they think that that gives them the right to monitor their phone and to keep them under surveillance 24/7. But all you’ll be doing is making them resent you. You’re not keeping them safe, if anything you’re harming their ability to learn and explore.

              And don’t condescend with that “you’ll understand when you’re a parent” BS. First off, I’m not gonna be a parent. Secondly, I don’t have to be a parent to know that when I was an adolescent I needed privacy so that I could Jack off in peace.

              4 votes
              1. HotPants
                Link Parent
                cloud_loud, this discussion was in the context of a school computer for a 13 year old. As I said elsewhere, a school computer is inherently not private. And freedom is more than freedom to do...
                • Exemplary

                cloud_loud,
                this discussion was in the context of a school computer for a 13 year old. As I said elsewhere, a school computer is inherently not private.

                And freedom is more than freedom to do things in private on the internet. Freedom includes the ability to interact with the real world. To feel empowered that you can make anything, or fix anything, or do anything. To challenge anything calmly with reasons. To stand up for what you believe in. To be who you want.

                But being a parent also means forcing your child to do things they dont want to do. Get dressed. Go to school. Respect the teachers. Learn. Eat healthy. Exercise. Try things that are hard. Try things that are scary. Try things that will help you learn. But don't try things that are harmful. It's a tricky balance.

                I agree that giving a 13 year old a phone opens up a wonderful world, and that it entitles children to privacy. The generally accepted parental wisdom is to be the last one to give your child a phone in the classroom. But most parents decide to trust their children at around 12-13, and decide that the reward outweighs the risks.

                Curiously Apple is recognizing the need for children to have privacy on mobile devices, while also recognizing that parents might want to be notified of potentially illegal images being texted, much like the FBI has the ability to be notified if potentially illegal images are emailed or texted or shared via most social media services.

                I think when people get older they forget what it’s like to be a teenager.

                It's possible. But most parents remember this frustration. Most parents remember how frustrating it is to live with your parents after the age of 13. Most parents remember how good or bad their parents were, as parents. But there is often a reason why most parents act a certain way, and you first have to understand why something is there, before you tear it down.

                As with most parents, I have tried to studiously avoid some of my parents mistakes. I have also realized that there was a reason for some of my parents behavior that I disliked at the time. Mostly, I realized that my father wasn't a shitty parent, he was a disinterested parent. While I will make mistakes, and have made mistakes, I will never make that one.

                You’re not keeping them safe, if anything you’re harming their ability to learn and explore.

                Only exploration. Of the internet. In a private manner. And only because my wife is a defense attorney, who has defended people charged with child porn, and is extremely risk averse in this area. So I find myself more risk averse as well in my parenting choices. Once my child is old enough to talk about the harm of hardcore pornography with me, then he can have a digital device.

                And don’t condescend with that “you’ll understand when you’re a parent” BS. First off, I’m not gonna be a parent.

                Don't misquote me and then call it bullshit. That is the worse form of hypocrisy.

                I said you might feel different when you have children of your own.

                Being a parent is a life altering event. I have moved countries. I have leaped out of a perfectly good airplane and lost mobility in the arm that would pull my rip cord. I have presented to hundreds of people, and that frankly was more scary to me. None of that even comes close to how becoming a parent changed me. It's not condescending. It's an experience you won't understand until you have gone through it, because nothing compares to it, and because frankly it makes some people a better parent and some unfortunately not.

                Secondly, I don’t have to be a parent to know that when I was an adolescent I needed privacy so that I could Jack off in peace.

                I support everyones right to jack off in peace. I just don't support a child's right to jack off to whatever porn they happen to find on the internet. As the above link shows, you can learn harmful things from that.

                I would like to challenge you on why you have such strong opinions on this. Did your parents over step some bound? Do you often have strong opinions on things?

                2 votes
            2. [3]
              Adys
              Link Parent
              You realise this is an admission of bias? Commenters can think based on their experiences as children; all being a parent would change is how motivated they are in using drastic measures for the...

              You might feel different when you have children of your own.

              You realise this is an admission of bias? Commenters can think based on their experiences as children; all being a parent would change is how motivated they are in using drastic measures for the protection of their kid.

              “You disagree with me because I can no longer be logical about this; having a child has completely broken my ability to reason about this and I can only think in terms of extremes now. When you’ll be a parent, this might happen to you too.”

              Listen to the people who remember what it’s like to be a child: You are making your children resent you. And this isn’t just my own experience, I see this with some of the kids at the rink and I’m constantly reminded of the radical differences between my two parents approach to privacy and independence, and which of the two of them I now resent.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                HotPants
                Link Parent
                Adys, Have you read my other comment in this thread? Please do so. https://tildes.net/~talk/zit/im_stuck_and_could_use_some_help_please#comment-6yye I suspect you know nothing of my parenting...
                • Exemplary

                Adys,
                Have you read my other comment in this thread? Please do so.

                https://tildes.net/~talk/zit/im_stuck_and_could_use_some_help_please#comment-6yye

                You are making your children resent you.

                I suspect you know nothing of my parenting style, outside of this one very narrow issue, and even then I suspect you misunderstood my comments intent.

                It sounds like you are projecting your own parents faults onto me. Which is fine.

                I am sorry if you had parents who made mistakes.

                You realise this is an admission of bias?

                No, it's an admission that having a child should be a humbling experience where you are learning on the fly, and that parents who don't change their parenting style based on the uniqueness of their child are likely to be suboptimal parents. And it's a recognition that you sometimes partner someone who is more risk averse than yourself, and even if you think they are wrong, you respect their concerns. And it's a recognition that I don't know when the right age will be for my child to have internet privacy is, but it's not now, and it will never be on a school computer, which is inherently not private.

                3 votes
                1. Adys
                  Link Parent
                  I’m done with this discussion, sorry. This is unhelpful to OP and we’re talking about different things. And on top of the whole thing grossing me out, someone is abusing the exemplary label as...

                  I’m done with this discussion, sorry. This is unhelpful to OP and we’re talking about different things. And on top of the whole thing grossing me out, someone is abusing the exemplary label as supervote which is the sign to me it cannot be salvaged.

                  3 votes
    2. Adys
      Link Parent
      I hate to dogpile but seeing your edit i just want to add to what @cloud_loud is saying. You won't be here to micromanage your kids forever. Your role as a parent is to give them the tools to...

      I hate to dogpile but seeing your edit i just want to add to what @cloud_loud is saying.

      You won't be here to micromanage your kids forever. Your role as a parent is to give them the tools to protect themselves, give them the assurance that they can ask you for help, and give them the knowledge on how to be their best own person in life over time.

      Yes when they're very young you should keep an eye on what they do. But that should be somewhat from afar and your knowledge of their private life should be driven not by what you spy, but by what they themselves feel comfortable telling you. If you build a good rapport with your kids, and you have specific concerns, you can always ask questions or give stern warnings about actual dangers.

      Stripping them of a private life altogether is a sure fire way to have them not trust you. What that means is they won't come to you when they are in danger. They won't talk to you when they have doubts.

      Depressed kid? They won't tell you. Suicidal thoughts? They won't reach out. Good things happen in their life? You won't know.

      And you can be certain that they will find a way to get rid of the surveillance anyway, because they're talking to other kids who have parents who are just as overbearing if not worse and they know all the tricks amongst them.

      And one day, you won't be there to keep an eye on them all the time anymore. If by then you haven't taught them how to deal with threats, because you were always there to make sure those threats weren't part of their life ... Then life is really going to suck for them.

      9 votes