Openly Spying

by Lorraine Esposito on February 8, 2013

in You as a parent,Your kids

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

Well-intentioned adults may access a child’s secrets to offer aid or to identify a problem early enough to prevent tragedy. As tempting and prudent as it may sound, it could be a mistake.

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.

Hidden Agendas

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.

Trust 350

Related Articles:  Decisions and the People Who Pay the Price

Related Tip of the Week:  Asking the Right Questions

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  • Dale Rogerson

    I don’t like this type of thing… It reminds me of a friend’s mother who did not hesitate to go through her daughter’s personal effects to “find stuff out”.
    My mother would take any folded notes left in pockets (at laundry time) and place them on our desks, unopened. She totally respected us and our privacy. Knowing this made it even easier for us to actually share with her face to face!
    I think today’s parents take the easy way out in too many ways and this is another one. It takes way more effort to actually build a relationship of trust that it does to just snoop.

    • Lorraine Esposito

      To respect a kids privacy takes belief in the nature of your kids. It’s tricky to let go on faith unless you’ve spent enough time // face to face with your kids // to get to know who they really are. Thanks for the comment Dale. It’s(nice to hear from you again :)

      • Dale Rogerson

        It has been a while, hasn’t it? I may not always comment but I pretty much always read your posts!

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