Sunday, December 2, 2012

Do you snoop your kid's phone?

If your child or teen has a smartphone, tablet or iPod,  do you check it to see how they're using the internet?

It's a question raised by Kenny Lynch, the detective in charge of investigating computer crime and complaints for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools police department.  He's also the father of a fourth-grader who doesn't have a digital device yet.  But CMS is encouraging students to bring their own technology for classroom use,  and that means more and younger students will be heading off to school with gizmos that link them to the web.

"Be that nosy parent and go into that phone,"  Lynch advised.

Most parents have pondered the threat of online predators.  But our conversation came in the context of a new state law that creates criminal penalties for students who  "cyberbully"  school employees.  Something that might seem like a clever stunt to a student  --  say, creating a bogus Facebook page for the principal,  signing a teacher up for some kind of sleazy email list or snapping an unflattering cell-phone photo and sharing it on Instagram  -- can get your child in trouble with the police,  not to mention school authorities.

A personal tip:  Don't assume only  "bad kids"  would do this kind of stuff.  I vividly remember being part of a group of eighth-grade  "brains"  who decided we were smarter than our teachers.  Breaking rules and taking risks became an adventure.  Our IQs and grades may have been impressive,  but our judgment and empathy were not.

Fortunately,  most of our schemes to prank teachers fell apart when we had to decide who would risk humiliation and punishment to carry them out.  I shudder to think what might have happened if we could have huddled around an iPad,  convinced that our superior tech knowledge would let us anonymously razz those old fogeys online.

I'd love to hear how parents are handling this.  Have you found good technological safeguards?  Can you share strategies for old-fashioned human monitoring?

And if any teens are reading,  please weigh in.  You may not be smarter than your teachers, but you understand the digital world better than most of us old fogeys.


Wiley Coyote said...

Our policy is that as long as we're paying for the device and service, we have access to devices and Internet content at will.

However, we're also not naive to think that our child isn't smart enough to circumvent our authority and have anonymous email accounts or social media pages.

We drew the line on using tracking devices unless we were given a reason to go that route.

Our son was well aware of the rules and knew we were serious about breaking those rules.

Fortunately , we never had any issues.

It is inevitable that CMS will have some issues with cyber "crimes". Students know it is illegal to bring weapons and drugs to school, but some do each year.

Anonymous said...

I am wth WC on this one. Its the parents responsibilty to monitor the usage and places the kids go with the devices. I think CMS is way behind on this as far as devices. I am hearing that iPads are the best device with all the tools they need. CMS still does not know the "apps" they want parents to purchase yet. They have very little control or policies in place to secure the devices. In a few years once that is in place my kids will bring in the devices. I say thanks to Scott Murri for leaving them in a bad position. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

There's a great line in Transformers (an oxymoron I know)that goes something like this. "You know we have a no closed doors policy in this house."

The same needs to be true for kids and tech. All phones, facebook, twitter, instagram needs to be wide open to the parent who checks. I can't tell you how many times at my school kids would bring in Facebook postings about drugs and violence and bullying and the parents would be clueless. Bad parenting.

As has been said before, what is sadly inevitable is how many teachers are going to get in trouble because they did not 'adequately' supervise the use of tech at school.

The district needs to be make a good faith effort to use a filtering software on their wifi (like the YMCA does for example.) After that Tech needs to be 100% the parent's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

This, like all other "cultural" problems in our schools falls back on the parents to control.

Put up some reasonable filters on the internet traffic and let it be left up to personal responsibility.

I know this is a novel concept for gubmint authority, but there are bigger problems in the schools.

Most of these kids already know worse things than they're likely to see on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

What happens when CMS staff makes a fake student profile on Facebook or Twitter and then uses it to stalk/communicate with students? IT HAPPENS.

BolynMcClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BolynMcClung said...

TO: ANON 11:02AM

Gee Whiz!

Anonymous blogger accuses...

anonymous staff of spying with..

anonymous student via..

anonymous social profile to trap

anonymous children.

Only the late Joe McCarthy could have said it better.

Bolyn McClung

Sarah Kerman said...

As a student in high school, I can definitely understand that parents are concerned about cyber bullying and some of the risks involved with student use of social media.

Social media can be a wonderful tool for older students. Parents should have an open and honest conversation with their children setting expectations for using the sites in an appropriate way. Before posting, students must ask, am I okay with my name being attached to the statement I am releasing? Parents should model appropriate behavior in their usage of social media and talk to their kids about the new consequences associated with cyber bullying and harassment of teachers online. If they are having a problem, encouraging them to talk to you about it prevents them from feeling the urge to use social media as a place to vent.

Anonymous said...

You naughty girl.

My "gifted" son with 7th grade Algebraic 1 Psychological Stress Disorder would get together with his friends and come up with unsolvable math problems that they would then call into CMS TV's math homework show to answer. This became an after school activity - calling up the show's math host to recite Pi to the 347th digit.


Wiley Coyote said...

Pie are round. Cake are square.

Jeff Wise said...

Agreeing with Wiley - if parents develop the expectation with their children that their devices can and will be checked whenever for whatever, then odds are good they'll not do dumb stuff on that device.

Also, surveys have shown the majority of twentysomethings have said they'd rather have a smartphone than a car, or a driver's license, or other such luxuries. Parents can use that as a powerful incentive besides making sure they don't do dumb things with technology.

Anonymous said...

Parents snooping into electronic devices is a child's first reality check...that once you put something out there the whole world knows it and not everyone is your friend. That is today's reality. So a really good filter is would I be embaressed for my parents to see this?
A word to you them; do not trust them. I agree with Ann, even when your children are excellent students they are still kids. For many years I commuted to work via the city bus which put me in proximity with kids going to and fro. What I overheard was shocking; lying to parents, shop lifting, sexting, etc...mostly by female good students from affluent families. The body may be developing but the brain takes longer.

Rex from Ranlo said...

I don't snoop my kids devices. I ain't got time for that. But we do talk about news stories of folks getting into trouble doing stupid stuff on the web, and how that can affect them when looking for work or other academic opportunities. Occasionally I'll see something on the interwebs I know they didn't expect me to see and talk to them about that.

Anonymous said...

I found a college journal recently that I wrote while traveling abroad in the early 1980's. Praise Jesus I was able to burn it before my kids read it. It's going to be interesting when the Twitter generation have teens of their own. Holy moly.

Anonymous said...

A majority of parents and teachers arent nearly as smart as they think they are. I was a junior in high school when text messaging came out. A majority of the students used them to cheat and most teachers had never heard of them.

Now my generation is a little different than most, but we knew more about computers and technology than our parents or teachers ever could. It wasnt something taught to us, we just played around on them all day and learned trial and error. Your kids know how to fool you. Its called create additional emails and not sign in on your phone so your nosey parents dont see what you are emailing about

Anonymous said...

I'm a student at CMS and my parents reserve the right to check my cell phone whenever they want to, and I think that this is perfectly reasonable. Also, for those wondering, I'm pretty sure that the WiFi network that students will connect to will have the same filter that the local intranet has, but without access to local network files and printers. Because of this, it will be hard for students to do any online activities deemed unacceptable that they can't do already.

Anonymous said...

Students are cheating like crazy now. It will only get worse with CMeS policy of

Ready Fire Aim

Anonymous said...

The kids learn to cheat when they watch the board lie in meetings. Cant blame the kids for following the leaders.

Anonymous said...

As long as i live in my parents house, eat their food and play with their phones/devices(which in reality is a gift to me but payed for and owned by them) they have the right to check whatever they want to check on my phone and im fine with that. I have nothing to hide so if they want to look through a weeks worth of "ifunny" pictures and texts about girls i like then have at it.

Anonymous said...

^ Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Another CMS program with 0 guidance or program direction. Way to go Pete or I mean Heath silly me .

Anonymous said...

Snooping on a phone I paid for is costing me half my savings and $4000./ month.
But she is having a great time with her new found facebook friend.