The latest technology helps parents keep a close eye on every step their children make, from what they’re doing, how fast they drive, what they watch and even if they’ve brushed their teeth. But are these devices invasive and damaging of trust or great parenting tools?
We can track our kids, but should we?
With technology that can help us track our children from when they’re infants until they grow up and go off to college, we are easily able to monitor their every move.
How to track them through the years
It all starts with our desire to keep our children safe from harm. When they’re infants, we rely on audio and video monitors to peek in on our new babies to be sure that they’re sleeping peacefully. That desire to protect our children doesn’t lessen over time.
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Once they’re teenagers, we can monitor nearly everything they do, from their physical whereabouts with Where the Flock, their internet chats with Discover It to their driving habits with tiwi, a product marketed as a driver mentoring solution.
But should we be tracking them in the first place?
This ability to track their every move begs the question, just because we can track them, does that necessarily mean that we should?
Are these helpful tools for parents or will they ultimately destroy the trust that we work so hard to build with our children?
Some words of caution
Massachusetts General Hospital child psychiatrist Steve Shlozman warns parents to proceed with caution. “When kids feel crowded, they tend to do things that they otherwise would not do,” he explains. “They take even greater risk because they have a desire to prove their independence and their individuality. There is something they need to get away with.”
Shlozman explains that tracking our children undermines the trust that allows them to develop on track. They need to learn to make good choices because they’re the right choices, not because they know they’ll be caught.
At some point, parents will have to trust their children to make safe choices without fear that they’re being watched. Instilling in them a sense of right and wrong from a young age and allowing them more freedom to make good decisions over time can help to build mutual trust along the way.