Friday, March 25, 2011

Stalking? Or Just Caring?

Launched this week in NZ - a homegrown product that lets parents monitor their childrens' mobile phones.
Sally Rae and Steve Herstell have launched MyFone, which allows parents to see all activity on their kids' phones, via a protected website. Yeup, all numbers in and out, and all texts too!
They say it's designed to help parents save their kids from becoming victims of bullying, sexting and grooming. But NZ Council of Civil Liberties spokesman Batch Hales calls it worrying: "A lot of parents are very controlling, and I can imagine they'll really control their kids by listening in to their conversations." Ms Rae says she knows this is going to be controversial "but what's more important - our children's civil rights, or their safety and protection?"
To me it's a no-brainer: safety first. That is part of a parent's job description. If you talk to your kids about why you're doing this, there shouldn't be a problem...unless they're doing things that they don't want their parents to know about. And if parents are that concerned, then taking away kids' cell phones certainly decreases the opportunities to misbehave. I may sound, like, old-fashioned but, like, many kids today, y'know, have forgotten how to talk like face-to-face...? Gay. Totally. Bogus. What??!!
Mind you, these products are not new. There's one in USA called Trustbust which secretly takes photos of anyone snooping through your phone... although setting a trap like that almost feels like it would be a false admission of guilt. Another to be wary of is FlexiSpy which captures call logs, text messages and mobile Internet activity, among other things. Some security firms have labeled it a malicious Trojan program which may be able to ring up phone charges to your cell. A Pro version also lets the user call a target cell phone and listen in on what's going on in the background.
The danger is that parents using these sorts of programs, with the best of thoughts, unintentially become the phone-stalkers they've warned their children about!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I gave my daughter a mobile for safety purposes, but I do worry whether that very phone could compromise her safety. I don't believe in phone programmes such as this or spying on my daughter. I hope that the standards I've instilled into her are good enough.