In his article “The Undercover Parent” published on March 16, 2008 in The New York Times, Harlan Coben argues about installing spyware on home computers to let parents monitor their children, while they are using the internet. The author believes and tries to convince parents that monitoring children on the computer is an act of protection in defending them against danger, rather than an invasion of privacy. There are hazards that children may not be aware of when using the internet. For this reason, parents may download the software which will send them reports showing their children’s activity on the computer. For some parents this is not acceptable, but actually this is a good method of protection.
Those parents who are concerned about their children’s security should actually verify children’s activity online too, because family is important. There are unsafe environments on the internet that kids may face, such as pedophiles and cyber bullies. Parents may not always be able to prevent children contact with them by explaining them the risks. Once a parent realizes that their kid is involved in a dangerous activity, then they can have a talk with their child about the dangers they are facing. Children deserve privacy, but parents should surrender their parental responsibilities and protect them against potential hazards without relying on others.
There are such computer settings as parental blocks, but they don’t work well, because children know how to disable them. Another reason why a child should be spied is that everything your child posts on internet can be seen by everybody and this may affect child’s future. Children also can be affected by visiting pornographic sites. Coben says that it is not necessary to know every little thing children do on computer; all that parents have to know is what’s being said in e-mail and instant messages and in chat rooms. Spying on children is tough because parents many times find out unwanted activities their children are practicing, such as: drugs, sex and alcohol.
However, talking about the problem is important; in many cases the situation may be improved. America is all about having privacy, but when it comes to our children, it is not the case. The author believes that children should know that their parents may spy on them by using computer software.