The case for spying on your kids

There has been — and rightly so — plenty of observations about the change that Steve Jobs brought to the world through his products that allowed people to be connected in ways previously unimaginable.

But you have to take the good with the bad, especially if you’re a kid growing up today. Technology has made it easy for parents to invade the privacy of young people.

The Washington Post today profiles safetyweb.com, a $10 a month subscription service that is “a new way for parents to monitor their children’s online activity without spying!”

And by “not spying,” they actually mean… spying.

The firm provides an example of it on its website. Enter your child’s e-mail address and see what they’re posting online. Does it work? Not really, at least by my experience. I entered my own email address and it found a Facebook account that doesn’t exist, and a Flickr account I don’t use.

It missed my Twitter account (to which I post about every 45 seconds), my YouTube account, this blog, two other blogs I write, two other websites I’ve created and maintained, and a Picasa account where I upload pictures.

But that’s the “free” account meant to entice you to throwing down $10 a month.

It’s not very impressive but the Washington Post reporter doesn’t mind…


I can almost hear the collective gasp from a generation of parents for whom social life begins and ends at the Germantown Soccerplex; parents who rebelled against their parents’ strictures and who want nothing more than to be Little Johnny’s confidant and friend. “What about trust?” comes the collective cry.

In the words of onetime liberal Ronald Reagan: Trust but verify.

The words of P.T. Barnum would also work. You might just want to rifle through the underwear drawer and check under the mattress.

  • Tyler

    Bob, how many hits did you have when you put your email address into Google? More, I expect – and for $10 less!