Thursday, April 12, 2012

Would you spy on your kids?

I see there is some new technology out that allows you to ‘spy’ on what your kids are doing with their phones. I listened to some of the comments people made when they rang in to the TV station. One that got me was that—‘how would we feel if the kids spied on us?’ Doesn’t that beg the question as to who is the parent here? However we must look a little deeper than the emotive stuff.
Perhaps a more salient question would be--- what are the kids using their phones for? Are they just talking to their friends, chatting about the vast array of interests they have? Working on a daily basis with the said kids lets me into their world and get to see the results of some of their ‘conversations.’
The communication is not face-to-face; meaning that they are able to interact in a far less caring manner. I know they are not alone in ‘dumping’ their friends without feeling the result; there is plenty of evidence to suggest that their adult counterparts are getting with the programme too.  They are also about to start a new ‘relationship’ without even seeing their new friend. Gone are the days of writing letters for many weeks, before deciding to meet. There is a sense of ‘instant everything,’ in the world of teenage interactions. It is all too easy to connect and to disconnect, with very little in the middle re relationship building. By relationship, in teenage terms, such a state is anything from a few days to--- well whatever.
Today’s cell phones are far more than means of talking and texting. There are too many functions for me to name, never mind understanding or using. The result is that our kids have a secret world that if we only knew, we would probably throw away the little monsters--- no the phones, not the kids.
Now we hear that there is a way of spying on the kids. Great---- isn’t that like reading your kids diary in the days when they used to be able to write cohesive sentences? That brought up questions of trust between teenager and parent. It was always risky delving into the world of your teenagers’ ‘thoughts’ as they expressed themselves in diary form. I suspect that we are predominantly talking about the girls here; unfortunately we have never discovered the ‘auto turn-on’ to engage the boys in literary matters.
Are you going to be brave enough to enter this espionage world; that is if you are able to manage to stay more than a step ahead of your ‘techno-savvy teenager? Are you up for what you read or see? Are you going to over react when you see something that is way beyond your carefully negotiated or imposed boundaries? There is a plethora of minefields out there and there is a way of avoiding them.
Teenagers always have and always will be’ different’ animals, and the only way to come anywhere near understanding them is to give them that special gift---- time and talking to them. If you haven’t and make excuses that you are too busy, then you will miss the signals. I know it is hard to understand the grunts that pass for communication with teenagers, but giving in because it’s all too much will lead to them finding solace even more in the latest techy fad.
Who said it was going to be easy watching your much loved cute, kind, loving boy or girl trans morph into this moody, argumentative being? Hell--- if they didn’t press your buttons and challenge you at every step, they would be even more vulnerable in this crazy new world. They are going to make mistakes; what’s so new about that? I think it is the instant manner in which they make them and the secretive way in which they are able to achieve this. Try to stay in touch with them. Leave the ‘door’ open and if you are lucky--- they may knock. One last point--- they may even become reasonable again----eventually, so think carefully about spying on them.