In this age of intelligent phones, it is too bad that parents are not as intelligent with respect to monitoring their children and their use of the machines.
Back to 1970 … there is one phone in the house. If I want to phone a friend, I will ask my parents’ permission first. And the call is there for everyone to hear, except that my parents were kind enough to let me talk unheard when talking to my girlfriend.
The home phone or a letter were the only means of contact. It was monitored and safe.
Reel forward to 2014 … children have been given, by their parents, their own personal phones. They can go into their bedrooms and access the Internet and all sorts of sites, completely unsupervised. Indeed, the use of social sites is considered a personal freedom, a right. In spite of the evil means to which it can be used … the cyber-bullying, the anonymous sending of hurtful emails and suchlike, the accessing of inappropriate sites showing all sorts of things.
It’s simply bad parenting if the use of personal cellphone devices by underage children is not supervised.
Unfortunately, most kids see this as a right … their right to have private and unsupervised access to everything that they can access on their smartphones.
As a high school teacher, I have also seen the positive uses of the new phones. My students take photographs of labs and even down the microscope. They use cellphones to enhance their science presentations, send me their powerpoints and their access to the Internet is often more efficient using their personal devices. With these uses, I have no problem.
However, today I asked a student, aged 16, whether his parents ever supervised or checked his use of his personal cellphone. A device that they paid for and which has a facial recognition feature, so he can go into his room and access everything on the Internet in complete privacy without his parents ever having any knowledge.
His answer to me? “They better not!”
To be a good parent is to surely be on watch, as mine surely were when I was talking nervously to my girlfriend in 1970.
It’s sadly not a responsibility that many today are taking seriously.