Article first published as Openly Spying on Technorati.
APG Mobile Applications just released an app for the iPhone. Kids Self-Evaluate (KSE) is a new empowerment tool that prompts kids to rate their experience of life by posing the question, “How is my life right now?” Tools like this give kids the opportunity to practice self-reflection and self-expression anytime throughout their day. These are vital skills for ultimately knowing how to make good decisions.
Much of the talk surrounding KSE’s usefulness is about the opportunity it gives parents.
For parents, KSE provides a “window” into their child’s perceptions. “How’s school going?” when asked by a parent usually receives some sort of mumbled response; KSE changes that – parents can see, exactly, where their child is challenged or where s/he thinks he’s doing well. By reading the child’s shares a parent can assess the quality of his or her child’s life. –PR Newswire
Two Potential Mistakes
Trust – A child unwilling to share his feelings with his parents may be signaling distrust. You’ll prove his distrust wise if you spy without permission.
Wait! I Don’t Have to Ask Permission!
You’re right, you don’t have to ask permission for anything—please use your good judgment. Demonstrate respect by being honest and upfront about the degree of control and privacy you’re granting with KSE. Secrets stolen electronically, even for the best intentions, may invalidate the usefulness of this tool, and if you get caught stealing a secret it could be the last secret you find out.
False Alarms — I have faith that kids who are ready to ask the question, “How is my life right now?” will be ready to hear the answer, but at first, they may not understand it. They’ll need time and practice before their answers can make sense and become useful. A kid practicing may unknowingly signal trouble if her translations of feelings are misunderstood or misinterpreted by adults.
It seems that fear has seeped into everything we do and think. From the economy to school violence, security is rapidly becoming the agenda of our culture. I understand why we are afraid and I understand the need to rethink the ways in which we interact, however, the desire for security may be overshadowing the basic need to belong and to be respected. I encourage kids to use this new app by APG just as I encourage parents and other adults to demonstrate respect for their kids by either telling them up front that you’ll look in on their shares, or by asking for permission before reading over their shoulders.
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Related Tip of the Week: Asking the Right Questions