Parent like an IT admin

Another great article from Lenore on her “Free Range Kids” blog:

Recently, I’ve seen a surge in articles and social media posts about the need to monitor teens’ behavior, especially online. A friend posted about the topic and her friends suggested everything from having all of her kids’ emails forwarded to her, to viewing all of their friend’s friend’s friend’s accounts on social media to see what kind of kids her kids they hang out with. One mom reads her teens’ texts every night. Another has software that monitors and tracks all internet usage.

via Why I Don’t Watch What My Kids are Doing Online : Free Range Kids.

My attitude about monitoring my kid’s growing online activity is similar to that adopted by most companies for their employees. In fact, I used to tell my own employees this: I don’t monitor everything you do on a computer, but you should conduct yourself with the knowledge that if I want to, I can.

Most computer systems today, especially Macs, give parents some very granular controls to fine tune the features to make available to the user. It’s not perfect, and the most determined kid is likely to find a way around it, but every computer keeps a log of its activity. Parents can and probably should consider themselves as IT administrators, but they should not exert dictatorial controls for exactly the reasons the writer cites.