it isn't Big Brother who's watching -- it's big Mother or Father - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-06-2005, 05:52 AM   #1
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,974
Local Time: 06:23 AM
it isn't Big Brother who's watching -- it's big Mother or Father

I can certainly understand someone who has lost a child being so fearful and wanting the comfort that something like this might bring them, but what about trust and communication? Something about it seems creepy to me..

CHICAGO --In this case, it isn't Big Brother who's watching -- it's Big Mother (or Father). Increasingly, parents are using high-tech methods to track everything from where their children are and how far they are driving to what they buy, what they eat and whether they've shown up for class.

Often, the gadget involved is a simple cell phone that transmits location data. The details get delivered by e-mail, cell phone text message or the Web.

Other times, the tech tool is a debit-like card used at a school lunch counter, or a device that lets parents know not only how far and fast the car is going, but also whether their child has been braking too hard or making jackrabbit starts.

Ted Schmidt, a father in suburban Burr Ridge, Ill., uses the cell phone method to track his four children, including two in college.

"Here's the story," Schmidt told them when he decided to begin tracking them about a year ago. "24/7, I can tell where your phone is, what speed it's going.... So (even) days later, I can look and see that 'Oh my gosh, you were going 80 miles an hour on the Interstate at 2 o'clock in the morning.'"

It might sound invasive, but Schmidt is convinced it's keeping his kids safer -- partly because they know they're being watched.

His 15-year-old son, Noah, who's been caught a few places he wasn't supposed to be, isn't nearly as pleased.

"It's annoying," the high school sophomore complains. "It gives the parents too much control."

The Schmidts' older daughters are, however, more accepting. Ciarra Schmidt, a New York University freshman, likes to know her parents could find her in an emergency.

"You never know what could happen," the 18-year-old says. "It's a nice kind of security blanket."

The Schmidts use a service called Teen Arrive Alive, one of a few companies that work with Nextel wireless phones and a tracking service from uLocate Communications Inc.

Other devices that track on-the-go kids include the Wherifone, a specialized locator phone that uses the Global Positioning System, and the CarChip, a device about the size of two nine-volt batteries stacked together that, installed in a vehicle, monitors speed, distance and driving habits.

Interest in the United States is growing quickly, as it already has in other countries -- Canada and the United Kingdom included. Teen Arrive Alive, which began offering its tracking service in May 2004, now has subscribers in every state and is particularly popular in the South and the East, company officials say.

These days, it's just one way technology is helping parents monitor their kids.

Georgia-based Mealpay.com began two years ago, for instance, as a way for parents to electronically prepay school lunches. Now -- at the request of some parents -- the service allows them to monitor what kids order in the cafeteria.

Meanwhile, Boston-based MobileLime allows teens to use a cell phone to buy items at fast-food restaurants, grocery stores and other participating retailers. The cell phone is linked to a credit or prepaid card, so parents can check.

Then there's "alerts" from U.K.-based Langtree SkillsCenter Ltd. Parents are notified by text message, e-mail or phone whether a student has shown up for class and can get progress reports (good and bad) on schoolwork. Just starting up, the company has signed about 10 U.K. schools so far and is expanding to the United States.

Parenting experts have mixed views on such techniques.

In general, monitoring a child -- knowing where they're going, who they're hanging out with -- is a good thing, says Christy Buchanan, an associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She also notes that some teens are more trustworthy and less likely to take risks than others.

"But parents have to strike some balance between knowing what their kids are up to without the adolescent feeling like they're having their every move controlled," says Buchanan, who is involved in a multiyear study of teens and parents. "Parents shouldn't fool themselves into thinking that they can keep their kids from making mistakes, which is part of growing up and learning."

Sometimes, young people find ways around technological monitoring. Buchanan knows students who simply leave their GPS-enabled cell phones under their dorm room beds or turn them off for extended periods of time.

Kate Kelly, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager," doesn't blame them.

"Normal spouses don't hire private detectives to track the whereabouts of their mates, and parents who have done their jobs in establishing good relationships with their teens shouldn't be using extraordinary high-tech devices to follow their teens," Kelly says. "You've got to create a relationship built on trust, not fear."

Some manufacturers of tracking products see the point -- to a point.

"It certainly is a fine line between care and overprotection -- and parents face this dilemma all the time," says Gavin Biggs, an "alerts" spokesman. "But is there any other time where your child is out of your control for seven, eight hours a day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year?"

Others make no apologies.

"Spying on kids is not the motive," says Teen Arrive Alive spokesman Jack Church, who lost a teenage son in a car crash. "To me, as a parent, this is peace of mind. It's saying, 'I want you to stay alive to see your graduation.'"

That's one reason Schmidt plans to continue using the service.

"As much as (my son) protests and hates it, we're the only parents who know what's going on," he says. "I think kids want to know their parents care."
__________________

__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 09-06-2005, 06:00 AM   #2
ONE
love, blood, life
 
FizzingWhizzbees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the choirgirl hotel
Posts: 12,614
Local Time: 11:23 AM
I can understand parents wanting to make sure their child is safe, but these devices go too far. There are many ways parents can keep a check on their child without this sort of invasion of privacy. If parents want to know their child made it to a destination safely, have them call home when they arrive. If they want to know their child is home safely at night then stay up and wait for them to get home. Especially now that many teenagers have mobile phones and can easily check in with their parents, I think the measures outlined in the article go too far and are unnecessary.
__________________

__________________
FizzingWhizzbees is offline  
Old 09-06-2005, 06:04 AM   #3
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,974
Local Time: 06:23 AM
it reminded me of this "helicopter parents" phenomenon I read about last week. I think maybe some parents are overly involved in their kids' lives to the point where it becomes very unhealthy. You have to try for a healthy balance I would think. Maybe the people here who are parents could give their opinions

Some Parents Add Themselves to College Packing List ; As Maine Students Start the Year, 'Helicopter Parents' Seem to Have a Hard Time Letting Go of Their Children.

Kim and David Lavallee of West Gardiner admit they are hoverers.

Installing their second and youngest daughter, Sarah, 18, in her freshman dorm at Saint Joseph's College in Standish on Friday, they said they would be talking to her often, at least once a day, but more likely two or three times daily.

"You worry about crime. There are a lot more demands and decisions," said Kim, who expected to be in almost daily contact with the student-affairs office as well - as she was for her first daughter - to work out the kinks.

The Lavallees are part of a new group dubbed "helicopter parents" by college and university administrators. They say the baby boom generation of parents are so involved in their children's college lives they risk preventing their children from growing up.

Today's college students are e-mailing their papers home for their parents' inspection before turning them in. Their parents in turn are stepping in to solve roommate problems, helping students pick out courses and demanding improvements to their rooms.

Michael Sullivan, 22, of Kennebunkport, a resident at Knox Hall at the University of Maine in Orono, said parents want to attend their children's adviser sessions.

"I would be embarrassed. Then again, it is kind of common," said Sullivan.

It was a different world when baby boomers went to college.

"When I went to college mom and dad dropped me off, said, `Great. See you later. Go ahead and put your room together and have a good time,' " said AnneMarie Reed, associate director for residence life and programs at UMaine.

Back then, dorms were equipped with a single pay phone at the end of the hall and the ritual weekly call home was made on Sunday nights when the long-distance rates were cheapest.

"We tried to keep some distance between us and our parents at college. Now they are connected," said Tedd Goundie, dean of students at Bates College in Lewiston.

ELABORATE ORIENTATIONS

Today, many colleges and universities stage elaborate orientation programs geared to helping parents detach. This week, motivational speaker Mike Weber of the Leadership Institute in Atkinson, N.H., made appearances at Colby College in Waterville and Bates. His subject: "Letting Go Without Saying Goodbye."

Weber said he tries to suggest parents use their children's college years to rediscover their own lives. He asks them how long they intend to run interference for their children with their academic or roommate problems.

"If you had someone in your office you didn't like, would you ask your mom to talk to them?" asked Weber.

The phenomenon is the subject of an article in the next issue of Colby Magazine. The past two conferences of the Maine Association of Student Affairs Practitioners focused on parental involvement in higher education. Participants grappled with such issues as how to educate a generation of college students who are used to having their lives organized for them, and understanding the fine boundary between emotionally connected parents and dependent parents.

The task of helping parents separate is a delicate undertaking, say college counselors. While some colleges have lavish three-day parent orientations and offices devoted to addressing parental concerns, others take a more blunt approach when asking parents to butt out.

"We have a pretty consistent approach," said Margaret Hazlett, dean of first-year students at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

There is no orientation for parents, and the first-day program for freshmen firmly states parents are to go home at 4:30 p.m., said Hazlett, who jokes she is not the dean of first-year students but the dean of first-year parents.

"Some years I get a call a day (from the same parent)," said Hazlett.

Colby College takes a middle-of-the-road approach to hovering parents.

"Our philosophy is, we don't mind the calls but we want students to make their own decisions," said Janice Kassman, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Colby.

At Bates, parents are told the college considers the student their client, not the parent.

"We say feel free to call us but don't expect to hear a lot of information back about your student," said Goundie.

Theories abound about why baby boomer parents as a group have such a hard time letting go.

"My personal theory has to do with the electronic age," said Patti Newmen, director of counseling for the past 18 years at Colby.

Newmen said cell phones, e-mail and instant messaging has made it almost too easy to stay in touch.

"They tell me they speak to their parents multiple times during the day," she said.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION?

With such frequent contact, parents learn about all of their children's frustrations, from a bad meal at the dining hall to roommate conflicts. Newmen said the urge is strong among baby boomer parents to smooth away the issues.

Robert Dana, dean of students at UMaine, credits sophisticated consumerism by parents who are paying out tens of thousands of dollars to educate their children.

Also, today's parents are much more likely to have gone to college themselves, compared with their own parents. So today's parents may be more savvy about what to demand.

Others speculate the reason baby boomer parents are so clingy is that they remember their own wild, flower-child college years. They want to spare their children similar experiences.

"It makes them anxious," said Hazlett.

Guilt on the part of working parents may also contribute to the trend, said Kassman at Colby. She said baby boomer parents worried they didn't have enough time with their kids growing up, so they tried hard to overcome that and find ways to show love and attention. Then, parents find it hard to turn off that urge when their children go off to college.

College counselors say too much closeness can backfire. Newmen said frequent parental contact can exacerbate a bad case of homesickness. Sometimes Newmen has to encourage students to wean themselves of the contact with home and engage in life at college. Some parents need to back off, she said.

"They are sitting there saying, `I wonder what Susie is doing now.' They need to be content to just wonder rather than call her," she said.

Back at Saint Joseph's, Seth and Debbie Bradstreet of Newport were helping their youngest child, Sarah, move into St. Joseph's Hall.

Debbie said she has been preparing for separation shock since last spring. Up until this year, she and her husband spent five or six nights a week at their children's sporting events.

"I've started quilting, knitting and scrap-booking," she said.
__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 09-06-2005, 08:02 AM   #4
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 03:23 AM
I would say these methods, while not my personal ideal, are perfectly acceptable if a parent deems them necessary for parenting their child.
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 09-06-2005, 08:19 AM   #5
Blue Crack Distributor
 
LarryMullen's POPAngel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: I'll be up with the sun, I'm not coming down...
Posts: 53,698
Local Time: 06:23 AM
This reminds me of those leashes you see parents walking their little kids on, on a bigger and more disturbing scale. As if walking your kid around the mall like an animal wasn't bad enough...

I think there needs to be more communication between parents and children, so that there's no need for any type of devices.
__________________
LarryMullen's POPAngel is offline  
Old 09-07-2005, 05:11 AM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,974
Local Time: 06:23 AM


anyone else?
__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 09-07-2005, 05:44 AM   #7
Blue Crack Distributor
 
LarryMullen's POPAngel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: I'll be up with the sun, I'm not coming down...
Posts: 53,698
Local Time: 06:23 AM
I'd be interested to see what parents think of this, since I'm obviously not one myself.
__________________
LarryMullen's POPAngel is offline  
Old 09-07-2005, 05:57 AM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 03:23 AM
As a parent, I think the best tool is simply to be available to listen to your children. Whether at the kitchen table or when putting them to bed, there should be a time when the children will simply talk about their day and you learn what is on their hearts.

Now, I realize this doesn't happen in all households. And the tools listed in the article may become more practical when a household has made different choices.
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 09-07-2005, 06:02 AM   #9
ONE
love, blood, life
 
FizzingWhizzbees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the choirgirl hotel
Posts: 12,614
Local Time: 11:23 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


anyone else?
I'll bite.

I think a potential problem resulting from parents who are over-involved in their childrens lives is that their children will grow up with no ability to make decisions or solve problems for themselves.

College is the perfect example -- if parents insist on getting involved in the simplest of problems (such as their child not liking their roommate or wanting to change classes) then the child doesn't get the chance to learn how to deal with those problems themself. They also don't get the chance to learn how to make decisions for themselves and deal with the consequences of a bad decision.

Obviously college is an important time in everyone's life, but I think we can all agree that making a mistake over say choosing the wrong class is relatively minor compared to decisions someone will make later in life. So I think it's a good idea for young people to get the opportunity to make their own decisions at a time when the consequences of a bad decision are relatively limited, so that they'll already have had those experiences by the time they need to make more important decisions, say about purchasing a house or choosing between job offers.

Not to mention, what happened to parents teaching their children about trust and responsibility? How can a child learn that if they behave responsibly then people will trust them when their parents are telling them that they're so untrustworthy they need to carry a device to let the parent know where they are twenty-four hours a day.

I dunno, I'm rambling, lol.
__________________

__________________
FizzingWhizzbees is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com