An children is one that has the capacity
An increasingly common theme presented in dystopian fiction showcases the dangers of ever-advancing technology. On the popular Netflix series, Black Mirror they focus on the relationship between a mother and her child, who had a tracker implanted in her that allowed her mother to oversee all aspects of her child’s life, even able to censor what may be she presumes to be potential dangers. The effects of this were devastating. From a young age, the daughter developed, lacking an understanding of the world around her, going as far as to stab her hand with a pencil to see blood, only to have it blurred out. Her mother becomes so disillusioned and obsessed with protecting her child that she shelters her, facing her daughter’s problems instead of confronting her about it. In the end, her child leaves her to have independence and does what every parent fears: she gets into a stranger’s car and rides off, severing all ties with her mother completely. While this episode was intended to be an exaggeration to exemplify the issue, with today’s technology, the terrifying reality is that it is a very possible future. Parents in the modern age have access to everything their child does on the internet and everywhere they go. Phone carriers provide parents with the ability to censor certain content or even shut off their phone during certain hours. The power they have over their child is exceeding healthy limitations, straining the sacred relationship between parent and child. However, while parents may have this authority, executing it would not be wise. While parents will always fear what may be occuring in their child’s personal life, parents should not invade their child’s privacy and monitor what they are doing because it damages trust and hinders a child’s development.The bond between a parent and their children is one that has the capacity to impact the rest of a child’s life and parental monitoring sabotages this relationship, decimating any trust or respect built. In the article, “Should You Spy On Your Kids?”, Nick Wingfield, a journalist who focuses on technology’s impact on aspects of society, such as the economy, provides input from opposing viewpoints about parental monitoring and concludes that it can only be beneficial if trust and respect are made. However, parental monitoring is a slippery slope that can turn into an unhealthy obsession where a child’s independence is suppressed. Wingfield acknowledges the dangers that come with the power of monitoring. He uses input from the founder of Data & Society, Danah Boyd, who explains that surveillance can be “viewed as a sign of trust and respect between people with close relationships, but it can be easily twisted into an abuse of power” (Wingfield, 2016). The imbalance of power when it comes to the family dynamic exploits the risk of giving one side complete control over what the other can do. It becomes an unhealthy parallel where trust is ruined and, instead of respected, the parent is feared to the point the child would do anything to rebel or keep secrets, no matter how consequential. In this scenario, nothing is sacred between the parent and the child, therefore parents choose to throw away their child’s trust in order to satisfy their need to spy on their children when they choose to invade their child’s privacy.In the same fashion, the risks of surveillance goes beyond destroyed relationships and extends into the child’s development and future. Ellen Goodman, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who writes about the social changes in America and a mother, compares tracking a child to stalking their every move because of the fear that has been indoctrinated into both parents and children. Her article, “Big Brother Meets Big Mother”, compares the authoritarian and invasive ‘Big Brother’ from the novel 1984 to the culture of ‘helicopter-parenting’ that is prominent today. There is a new danger that presents itself as parents eavesdrop on their children because now “Teens are never really on their own. We may be protecting them right out of the ability to make their own decisions” (Goodman, 2007). Parental monitoring inevitably warps parents into controlling their children and the decisions they make, hindering how the child grows and develops independence. Adulthood will be eminently foreign and frightening for the child since they were taught to be over dependent on their parents, believing that they will be there to make the tough choices when the time comes. If they are never exposed to sensitive topics, they will never be ready to react to them as adults. Children must experience stressful situations at times to understand how to overcome them. Furthermore, without the explicit freedom or trust, children will go out of their way to rebel and be like other children who are independent. Considering this, by using technology to keep their children under constant surveillance, parents put their child’s growth into maturity in jeopardy.Despite the perils that lurk, many still argue that a child’s online activity should be monitored and that children should not be able to keep anything private from their parents. Harlan Coben, an author of mystery and thriller novels, argues that parents should implement a form of monitoring on their children’s computer and phone to make sure that they are not engaging in risky situations and that not doing it can be negligent. In his article, “The Undercover Parent”, Coben attempts to reassure the audience that monitoring is not there for the parent to analyze everything their child does or says online, but to prevent danger. The author states that, “Parents are there to start conversations and be a safety net…They are listening for dangerous chatter” (Coben, 2008). When parents monitor their child’s actions, they can feel as though they are ruthless dictators, but instead, parents believe monitoring keeps their child safe. It is their conviction that, to be a good parent, they have to be their child’s guardian angel, always watching over them to keep them out of trouble. It is undeniable that it is hard to trust a child and choose to allow them true privacy, unaware of what may be happening online. However, any invasion of privacy is adverse and detrimental for both parties. By stealing away a child’s privacy, parents cannot ensure the safety of their relationship. Today’s society conditions parents to fear the worst when it comes to their children, forcing them to believe that they are only good parents when they track down each and every move their child makes. Parental monitoring perpetuates the idea that children are not trustworthy or competent in their own right. Markedly, they decide that their preconceived notions about children are more important than building a strong relationship with their child. Instead of teaching through experience, parents are telling their kids they cannot learn on their own and that they do not deserve privacy by using parental monitoring. If parents give their children independence when they deserve it, they not only make stronger connections with their children, they also raise intelligent and independent adults.Although parents are led to believe that they cannot trust their children and they must monitor them, parental monitoring is not a viable option when raising children because it leaves the relationship between parent and child vulnerable and inhibits how children accept independence. In particular, parents sacrifice their child’s trust in order to essentially stalk what their child does online, even if they prove they have not committed any wrongdoing. Moreover, children begin to depend on their parents to choose the right path for them, impeding on their growth from child to adult. Under these circumstances, parents cannot continue to try and spy on their children or else children will grow up without having developed a mind for their own when all their life, their parents have chosen what they have seen. It is without a doubt, that the repercussions parents will have to face outweigh the questionable benefits of invading their child’s privacy. Technology cannot be allowed to come in between the unique kinship a parent has with their child and instead of monitoring their child, parents should be connecting with them.