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Software Tracks Kids At School 330

Carpediem55 writes: "The Associated Press is reporting here on school districts using software to let parents track the movements of their children at school. The scariest quote, 'I think the more we can control our kids, the better off in the long run they'll be.' Am I glad I'm out of high school." Seems like a natural extension to me of the webcams in institutional babysitting places so parents can watch their kids -- of course, what does that say about schools?
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Software Tracks Kids At School

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  • by mjwise ( 476 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @12:20PM (#205348) the US is really quite simple, and I agree with both of you. I feel that the widespread binge drinking at US universities is the result of a too-high drinking age (you can vote, but you can't drink! What the hell is that?), and kids who have been babied to death until they were 18. They get to college, and bam! tons of freedom, never having drunk responsibly in their life (for non-US readers, giving a child any quantity of alcohol, no matter how small, is considered a no-no most places in the US.) These students are presented with unlimited alcohol, of course they're going to drink as much as possible. This retarded program only intensifies the babying and its inevitable consequences.

    The teens who were trying to be controlled/babied the most by their parents at my high school were ALWAYS the ones going to keg parties and getting drunk night in and night out. Now, all this being said, of course you have to set some limits -- but setting limits that allow freedom and responsibility are essential. Limits that tie them up completely are going to come back to haunt you once they're broken.

    Do YOU have a 3-digit slashdot UID?
  • Of course, there is a varying scale of what you need to worry about as a parent.

    A two year old is generally not competent to make decisions regarding crossing the street. A fifteen year old can make these decisions, but is similarly unable to make intelligent decisions regarding sex.

    If you don't think you need to keep a close eye on a kid, you don't have to. On the other hand, if I have a kid who starts acting out to the point where it becomes dangerous, I want to have the ability to keep tabs on them at school, monitor how fast they drive, and even test for drugs if I have to.

    Parenting means getting your kid to adulthood by any means necessary. This doesn't mean you have to keep an eye on every kid, but it means you should be willing to if it becomes evident that it's necessary.


  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:42AM (#205350) Homepage
    Given the fact that parents are legally reponsible for making sure their kids are in school and not out getting into trouble (not to mention that this is also a basic part of good parenting), I'm not sure what the problem is here.

    I know that this isn't a popular concept with the Slashdot hivemind, but the fact is that certain kids demand constant monitoring -- these devices, from those that make sure they're not driving the car too fast to gadgets that check to be sure they're at school are simply means to this end.

    High school kids are not adults, despite what the criminal justice system seems to think lately (and what they've thought all along). Some are more mature than others, and some need closer attention than others. Hell, when I was in high school I saw a father have to recussitate his kid after an all-day boozefest on Senior Skip Day. That image is burned into my mind -- it was the first time I saw things from an adult rather than a high school viewpoint.


  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:08AM (#205351) Homepage
    The idea is to have a relationship with your kids based on trust, understanding, and friendship, not by controlling them or doing all you can to keep trakc of their every move.

    Of course, I should mention that no one parenting approach is appropriate for all kids, but...

    You are not your child's friend. You are your child's parent. As such, it is your responsibility to make sure they grow up, and you must be willing to use all the tools at your disposal if need be, even if it means you have to be the bad guy.

    Kids naturally explore their limits. This is normal and healthy, but they also will almost always go too far and require corrective action (what used to be called "punishment"). Some kids decide to catch air in the car, some skip school, some do drugs, etc. A good parent will put a stop to this behavior one way or the other -- that's just the way it has to work.

    Children, even high schoolers, are not miniature adults. They lack both the biological maturity and life experience to make intelligent decisions on certain subjects, and it's the basic role of a parent to persuade, convince, or force them to straighten out.


  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:23AM (#205352) Homepage
    *sigh* I feel like I have to keep restating the obvious.

    Not all parenting tools are appropriate for all children. It is, and always has been, up to the parent to decide the appropriate amount of latitude any particular child should enjoy.

    When I was in high school, my parents gave me a lot of latitude because I could (usually) handle it without abusing it. My kid sister, on the other hand, proved that she needed to be watched more closely in high school than I was. When this became evident, my parents were willing to monitor her. Yes, this included calling friend's parents to be sure they were home and she was there. Yes, this included checking the milage on the car. Yes, this included checking her drawers.

    She hated it. She complained, she bitched, she tried to get around it. She also lived long enough to be grateful about it without developing a drug problem or getting pregnant.

    The difficult truth of parenting is that you *must* be willing to be the bad guy if you have to be. You have to do whatever's necessary to raise your kid and keep them away from the Really Bad stuff. Of *course* it's also your responsibility to teach them to be independant and self-sufficiant -- the mistake is thinking that keeping them in line is somehow mutually exclusive of this.


  • by maelstrom ( 638 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:40AM (#205353) Homepage Journal
    If children grow up in this kind of environment, what kind of citizens will they be when they magically turn 18 and are enfranchised?
  • First of all, the condition of "adolescence" as distinct from both childhood and adulthood is a relatively recent invention.

    In the hundred-odd years that we've seen teenagers as something unto themselves, they have, by and large, not been subject to anything like the kind of scrutiny, surveillance, and distrust that they are subject to today.

    And lo, the race has survived.

    While I will grant that there are things that are more common among teenagers today than they were thirty years ago -- getting falling-down-drunk on senior skip day comes to mind -- the proper solution to the problem is probably not to make adolescence weirder and more difficult than it already is. Far better to find the cause of what is seen as undesirable behavior on the part of teenagers; then work on solving the problem, rather than just treating kids with less and less and less respect (which -- hey! -- may just be part of the problem in the first place!)

    I don't expect anything to be done along those lines anytime soon, though, because actually solving problems requires careful thought, observation, and an open mind. It's much easier to fit kids with shock collars, if necessary.

  • Actually most screwed up kids, statistically speaking, are the result of too little (not too much) parental supervision. Children with two parents that are actively involved in their lives are much more likely to become well adjusted adults than their peers.

    My father would not have been interested in something like this monitoring program (for me anyway) simply because he knew that the easiest way to find out what I had for lunch was to ask me. I, on the other hand, knew that the quickest way to lose the privileges and freedoms that I had was to get caught lying to my father. Many children, however, don't see that the only way to have your parents trust you is to be trustworthy. They want to be able to do whatever they want, and still be trusted.

    Life just doesn't work that way.

    Perhaps someday when your kids (should you choose to raise any) are old enough you will realize the wisdom in the previous poster's quote. Most teenagers are honest enough, but if you end up with one that is consistently dishonest the only choice you have as a parent is to monitor them more closely.

  • My first reaction, before I read the article, was similar to yours. However, when I looked at the article I realized that the information available was not really that intrusive. Personally I think that it should be easy for parents to see if their children are skipping school. And if the child is spending my money, I don't think that it is unreasonable for me to be able to see what they are eating. If they want a snack that I wouldn't approve of, they can certainly earn their own money and pay cash for it. And being able to review your grades online would be cool. I would have really appreciated something like that in highschool. Once again, most parents that give a crap about this type of stuff already know what sort of grades their youngster is getting. This sort of "surveillance" is only useful for those parents that A) give a darn, and B) have dishonest children.

    Now if this were some sort of program where the children were forced to wear homing devices and web cams I would agree with you. But all of the information that they are making available has been available forever. I spent some time in Washington when I was growing up, and the school district used to call the parents when a child missed a class, and I am sure that the students grades and menu choices were also available upon request. As for parents signing up "in droves," I imagine that it's no different from anything else. If this service were offered to me, I would almost certainly sign up, if only so that my children would be less likely to think that they could get away with lying to me. If my kids were to skip school, you can bet that I would want to know about it. Besides, some of the functionality would be pretty useful even if you did trust your kid. The unfortunate part of the equation isn't the few parents that will use the service. Let's face it, if your parents don't trust you then you are screwed. The sad part is that most of the children who actually need someone to check up on them have parents that simply can't be bothered. This is not a student's rights issue, it just sounds like one.

  • Not a bad plan. You get to keep the kids from having to choose between right and wrong, or from realising consequences of actions.

    Part of growing up is making mistakes. Learning what happens when you make them. By constantly monitoring children, you do keep them out of trouble, but you also keep them from experiencing life.

    Now don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting we just let kids do what they want. I'm just saying that there is a seperation between healthy and unhealthy levels on monitoring.
  • Better idea still, try actually helping them become adults you don't HAVE to control.

    What? Kids are supposed to become independent, responsible adults eventually? You mean they're NOT just adorable little pets?
  • Whats stopping him from getting/paying another kid to buy it for him or just switching lunches?

    Next year they'll install a few thousand hidden cameras throughout the school and all around the school grounds, to ensure such insidious behavior is no longer possible...
  • Would it be too paranoid of me to suggest that "reality TV" shows are a tool to get people accustomed to the idea of constant surveillance?

    Or is voyeurism just a consequence of the fact that privacy is such a relatively new cultural phenomenon?
  • Fruit juice isn't bad for you, but something tells me that the stuff in question wasn't fruit juice. To be called fruit juice, it probably has to actually derive from fruit - this stuff was probably derived from FD&C Red 40 and high fructose corn syrup.
  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:50PM (#205367) Homepage
    My experience has been that the parents of the bullies already KNOW what their kids are doing - they either don't care, or don't believe it, or worst of all, don't see anything wrong with it.
  • By making the schools more and more like prisons, I can't help but think that we're just going to turn out model prisoners, NOT well-adjusted members of society. I can't imagine why people would consider this to be a good idea. Just short-sighted, I guess.

    Rather than learning to be accountable for their actions, the students will just learn that Big Brother is Watching. How do you think they'll behave when they are in places where they're NOT under constant surveilance?

  • It does, but it doesn't. It basically makes you a legal unit of your parents, so in a sense, they can't deny bill of rights, unless your parents give approval. Or so I understand it...
  • "Skyward uses the same security measures that online retailers like use for credit card purchases over the Internet.

    Um, how many times have we seen reports of Amazon's customer information being hacked? Skyward is pretty stupid if they think that comparing their security to Amazon's security makes them look good...

  • Tame. They will be very tame citizens.

    And that's Good For The Economy!

    Indeedy, a tame citizen is the most desirable of citizens. They passively accept the corporate dictum of "live to work." Keep that 40+ hour workweek lifestyle, and keep purchasing expensive toys and houses in that one-upmanship game of keeping up with the neighbours. Keep the corporations healthy, wealthy and unaccountable.

    What Corporate Amerika *doesn't* want are citizens who think for themselves, who have free will, who recognize the need for balance between work life and enjoying life, and are capable of saying "No" to a purchase.

    Spy on the kids. Get 'em used to being watched. Get 'em used to being controlled by others.

    After all, it's Good For The Economy!

  • I think the more we can control our kids, the better off in the long run they'll be.

    Yep. That way, when you die, your kids can flounder completely lost with no means to control themselves.

  • Parenting means getting your kid to adulthood by any means necessary.

    ...which is probably there are so many screwed-up adults on the loose...
  • What does this say about kids?

    --The very fact that they need this kind of supervision says something. I'm not for one believing that the media & games are responsible for more violence in schools today, just worse parenting. No--I'm not calling everyone out there bad parents, just on the average, I'd bet that parents spend a lot less time with their children today than they did 15, 20, or even 40 years ago.

    Children need guidance. Without guidance, things become chaotic. I don't know what else to call what's been going on in schools the last few years besides chaotic.Hopefully this will change, eventually.

    -Julius X
  • It's strict parenting in the same sense that having the government track me would be strict governing.

    Parenting is not about knowing everything your kid did today down to when they took a bathroom break (well, at least not by the time they get into school, that *is* reasonable parenting for an infant and toddler), it's a lot more about how you view and relate to and treat your kids.

    The problem with this (and numerous other 'parenting' devices, and that's exactly what they are) is that it allows parents who use them to *believe* they are being better parents, when, the truth is, no monitoring, no device, can make you a better parent, and good parents have been around a hell of a lot longer than modern tech.

    Incidently, I had strict (I didn't have a curfew -- I was expected at home every day directly after school or official school activities, where I could then request to go elsewhere, and that request could [and often was] denied, simply because my parents didn't want me to leave the house that day) parents who also gave me a hell of a lot of responsibility (housework, car work, caring for the younger sib and cousins, and I worked full time from the age of 15, and worked odd jobs long before that). Even though they were abusive, rotten folks in some ways (don't even tell me I'm wrong without knowing of what I speak) I managed to turn out okay in the responsibility department. (Which is different than turning out okay 100%, but gives one a much better base for dealing with abuse issues than *not* turning out well in the responsibility department)

    Strict parenting and giving responsibility, however, are two separate things. I know plenty of kids whose parents were strict, but never gave them responsibility, and those are the ones who have major problems. I tend to refer to such kids as having "rich kid syndrome" -- they lack responsibility and forethought, and expect the world and everyone in it to come to their aid. While it's not *just* rich kids who have it, and while not all rich kids have it, it seems that the parents who are more interested in money than spending time with their kids, and are often also interested in making it easier for their kids than it was for them, and end up making it too easy for their kids, turn these kids out more than poor parents. It might also be that without their mommy and/or daddy's money such kids don't end up places where I'm likely to see them.
    I suspect that these kids are what the original poster is referring to as 'spoiled'.

    OTOH, kids who are given both freedom and responsibility from a young age seem to do pretty well as well.

    Kids given neither freedom nor responsibility, well, I pity them and society.

    I can think of some specific instances when tech like this could be useful for parenting. In most of them it means that *someone* has already screwed up in parenting that child.

    And yes, I'm talking from the perspective of a parent.

  • I'm inclined to agree that just blaming parents is useless, but one wonders if there's a better way to convince people that parenting is an important job, and that bringing up another human being, helping them learn how to live in a society, will be the hardest and possibly the most rewarding job in their lives, but that the reward comes much later. Babies are cute. That doesn't really compare to 24/7 care. But that having a kid because you want to continue playing with dolls/to keep a relationship/to keep up with the jonses/to shut up the grandparents/etc is screwing with another person's life.

    And I agree, it *has* to begin young. It has to begin from the time you bring that kidlet into the world (well, obviously if you adopt the rules change somewhat, but you get the point)

  • It's more then a slippery slope that we're dealing with. The system is supposedly there to allow _parents_ to track their children. How many parents are really going to take time our of their day to look and see that "ooo, my kid's out there in hallway B"?
    No, I think it's much more likely that that's the surface of the real intention: to allow the authorities (be they teachers, security, or police) to monitor the children, with or without the consent/knowledge of their parents.
  • I would prefer the school districts use webcams in the classroom to show parents how their kids really get treated by teachers and other students.

    This might also be a good idea to use in prisons..

  • To extend the argument both ways:

    As a child, I want to be able to track my parents. I want to make sure that they're not up to no good, cheating on each other, acting in ways counter to my best interests. I want to know how much time they spend at their desk, how much time at the water cooler, and whether they're late home because they're playing Diablo II or cheating with their secretary (by using alpha-channel video card mods while playing quake, of course).

    On the other hand, those folks who say that children have no right to expect privacy because parents are liable for the childrens' actions, where does this line stop? If (as mentioned on /. earlier) we have thought-sensing devices, do parents then have the right to implant them in their kids, so they'll know when the kid is thinking about committing a crime, fantasizing about having sex, or maybe having a snack before dinner?

    Broad generalizations are always harmful. (laugh, okay?)

    Kevin Fox
  • > the fact is that certain kids demand constant monitoring -- these devices, from those that make sure they're not driving the car too fast to gadgets that check to be sure they're at school are simply means to this end.
    The more you tighten your grip on the schools, the more children will slip through your fingers.

    -- Leia Organa (paraphrased)
    So what happens when you aren't monitoring them?

    It's not at all obvious that you build can responsible behavior by sending a message that says "I don't trust you".

    Have the RIAA and MPAA brought out the Good Citizen inside all of us with their futile attempts to make stealing impossible? Or have they just made it an ever escalating game of "Can I beat the system?"

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:29AM (#205388)
    > 'I think the more we can control our kids, the better off in the long run they'll be.'

    I guess that explains why so many kids get killed in drunk driving accidents their very first weekend away at college.

    Responsibility isn't something that magically appears on your 18th birthday.

  • it is stuff that any parent already has access to: grades, attendance, discipline records. you know, no one complained about the public's right to access drivers license/criminal information until you could do it on the web []. then everyone started getting antsy about it. but i remember being told (and seeing the terminal to do it) that anyone can go to the courthouse and access any info that was a matter of public record. i think this goes a little farther though. this is information that's supposed to be available only to the parent, teacher, and school admins, and now it's available to whoever has the login/password. they also mention that it shouldn't be a problem "as long as its secure", but who's to say it is? how many geek types will mess with it to see if they can change the info? and if it is comprimised in a major way, how soon with they fix it? if it can't be fixed, does the district get their money back?
  • This is starting to drive me crazy. Over the past few years I have watched as the restrictions, metal detectors, web cams, and ID badges have gone in place at schools. Is it just me, or has this gone too far?

    I had the unique position while I was in High School to help make some policies that are still in place today. In my last week there (which happened to be a few weeks afer Columbine), I watched as the "School Saftey" committee reported on what should be done. ID badges for everyone, metal detectors at the door, police patrols of the building, and cameras everwhere. Excuse me for a moment, but schools are supposed to be a place of learning, correct? If that is the case, why not teach wrong from right?

    It seems to me that all the teachers and aministrators are treating the symptoms and not the cause of these problems. Someone brings a gun to school, the immediate response is add metal detectors. Shouldn't the response be teaching that bringing guns to school is wrong? Someone unknown is roaming the halls and we didn't know. Immediate response: everyone must wear ID badges at all times. Wait a minute, I knew alomst everyone in my class, and I think the student population could easily identify someone out of place. But, no teaching the students to question folks would be bad. Instead let's show the world who everyone is, just in case someone does get in with someone in mind to find, they will be easily spotted.

    I admit, I came from a smaller school (around 600 students total), and these solutions are not suited to larger ones. However, I still don't think treating the symptoms is the way to cure the desease. How about we stop pushing kids to always give 115%, and let them do what they can. I get a little bent when I am required to put in long hours and extra effort at work for extended periods. The current thinking is that if you are not in the to 0.05% of your class you will never get anywhere in life. With conditions like that, no wonder students are doing irrational things.
  • The work of a child is play.

    The work of the teenager is separation.

    The reason it's really hard being a teenager or the parent of a teenager is that they need more guidance than they think but less than their parents think. What develops is a series of uneasy trials where privileges are granted (or taken), abused then temporarily withdrawn (e.g. "You didn't come home by 11 like you said you would so I can't trust you yet with the car. When you show you do what you say I'll reconsider.")

    It's messy and difficult but character building.

    I don't think monitoring is a big deal for younger children, and could be valuable in cases where there are custody disputes. But for older kids, too much supervision is almost as bad as none.

    If they never have to be trusted, how will they learn to be trustworthy?
  • This may have already been said but in case it hasn't... What ever happened to good ole trust? If you can't ever find a way to trust your kids, how can you ever expect them to become trustworthy adults? Kids make mistakes. Kids learn from mistakes. It's part of the process of life. Kids learn from other kids horrific mistakes as well (like becoming a teenage mother or father, doing drugs, driving drunk, and even killing someone). They can be tough lessons to learn but no one ever said learning was easy. The easier you make the learning process, the more George Carlin views on the 'pussification of America' seems true. If you treat your kid like a baby, they will act like a baby--maybe that's why linguists say to stop the baby talk early. Of course that's my opinion; I could be wrong.


  • by Sogol ( 43574 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:46AM (#205404) Journal
    the "new software" sounds remarkably like a database. As far as the article states, the purpose is
    "to see whether their kids skipped class, handed in their homework and even what they had for lunch."
    This information is already available to parents. The fact that it's on a database, denotes efficiency, not espionage.

  • ... challange for childern to get around.

    For example, in the article a kid was eating all junk food, the parents found out and now he can't be served that sort of food anymore.

    Whats stopping him from getting/paying another kid to buy it for him or just switching lunches?

  • The parents of the bullies just might know what the hell their kids are doing now! There IS an upside to this.

    State control and monitoring is always done in the name of "law and order". But it is always done for the benefit of state power.

    And this sounds like another plan to get the kids used to being controlled and monitored, without protesting.

  • by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @11:25AM (#205407) Homepage
    This sort of shit is only necessary in a world where parents have spent the previous however-many years of their child's life ignoring them 99.98% of the time and teaching them that the last thing in the world they should do is communicate honestly with their parents. You need more control over your kids? Try having a bit of LOVE for them, dumbshit!

    Isn't it funny how those of us who _know_ technology know better than to think that technology is the panacea. Those who don't are easily susceptible to the siren song: "This technology will solve the problem".

  • What they had for lunch? Why the fuck do they need to keep that info on file? To help the parents keep their kids slim and good looking? Isn't it the kids' right to prefer a good and tasty steak over a nice physical appearance?

    Ok, so kids will now go to the Mac Donalds next door rather than eating at the canteen, and this system will have achieved the exact opposite from what was intended.

  • Did you catch Frontline last night? No control is *way* worse than too much control.
  • by Paradox !-) ( 51314 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:57AM (#205412) Homepage
    Yes, they're not adults, but their not toddlers either. Teaching kids that it's okay to be monitored in HS makes them more willing to accept monitoring AFTER HS, and that's kinda scary. I have a hard enough time coping with the idea that my company can monitor my websurfing (like it's doing now) without having been taught that that's okay while I was in HS.

    One useful thing about this, however, it that it might increase the accountability of parents and school employees together. Parents can see what teachers have to go through with rowdy students, and similarly parents could see what classes are deemed to be boring by students.

    So there's two sides to this, as with everything. It increases accountability but decreases a sense of trust.

    For the record, I'm not someone who thinks we're going to issue all kids electronic dog collars any time soon, but I do have a healthy suspicion of anything that increases the pressure ALREADY imposed on our teenagers. They're under enough pressure and have plenty of problems already.

    Never forget, being a teenager sucks. Privacy and trust are valuable to the normal and quality development of kinds as people. Anything that impacts that ought to be weighed very careful and evaluated with the strictest standards of concern for the interests of the kid.

  • She hated it. She complained, she bitched, she tried to get around it. She also lived long enough to be grateful about it without developing a drug problem or getting pregnant.

    The difficult truth of parenting is that you *must* be willing to be the bad guy if you have to be.

    I once heard a guy say that sometimes his teenage daughter would say that she hated him for making more rules. His response (he said) was along the lines of, "I love you and respect you so much that I'm going to make sure you can handle freedom when you're an adult, and if that means that you hate me, then that's a price I'm willing to pay."

    This guy was a retired CIA agent, too.

  • The more you control your children, the more likely you are to have a mindless robot. Maybe that's exactly what some parents want ... a minion to do their bidding... but it's the last thing society needs more of.
  • more dumbed down adults who will be even LESS equipped to deal with stressful situations and to survive on their own than now

    Exactly. We are not sheep, but a majority of us certainly fit the description...
    We put warning labels on everything, sue restaurants for serving us hot coffee, and make ridiculous laws for the 'sake of the children.' In my state you can get a ticket for not wearing your seat belt. A cop can pull you over JUST FOR THAT. Why? What if I WANT to fly through my windshield?
    An above poster mentioned watching a father having to try to save his son after a nasty bout with alcohol. Sorry, that doesn't tug my heartstrings. I am a firm follower of evolution and Darwinism. (Go listen to a few George Carlin albums.) People do stupid things. It's a function of evolution that people who do stupid things DIE so their stupid genes don't spread around the pool and irritate the rest of us.

    We don't need to monitor our kids. If parents (and teachers) were worth anything themselves, the kids would have a decent head on their shoulders and wouldn't need supervision. Hidden cameras won't make up for bad parenting.

    "Smear'd with gumms of glutenous heat, I touch..." - Comus, John Milton
  • All these replies are missing the point. Maybe I rambled a bit but the idea I was trying to get across is that "hidden cameras don't make up for bad parenting."

    (You were correct in pointing out my bad choice of grammar to describe my philosophy on evolution. We are all subject to it but some folks are in denial of the law of survival of the fittest; I was merely trying to point out that I am not one of those people. If I am stupid enough to drink Windex I deserve to get sick.)

    And for those who nit-picked, my Honda has automatic seatbelts. It was just a freakin' example. Can we get back to talking about the student tracking now?

    "Smear'd with gumms of glutenous heat, I touch..." - Comus, John Milton
  • Not all parenting tools are appropriate for all children. It is, and always has been, up to the parent to decide the appropriate amount of latitude any particular child should enjoy.

    Agree 100%. So for students that need monitoring it's available. If students don't need monitoring, then the parents don't need to use it.

    As a parent, much of my view of the roles of parents and what they're supposed to do has changed. I suspect that many of the High School crowd that reads /. [] does not have the faintest clue of the responsibilties that their parents have.

    I'm reminded of a line from the movie Heathers [] where one of the parents says, "When teenagers complain about not being treated like adults, the reason they're complaining is that they are being treated like adults." That's not an exact quote, but the point is that most high school students (this includes me when I was in high school) want the freedom to do whatever they want, but they expect their parents to pick up the pieces after they screw up.

    IMHO, if the law says that the parents are 100% responsible for the students being in school, then this thing is appropriate. OTOH, I think that such a law is stupid. If a gradeschooler or middleschooler doesn't show up at school, one can reasonably ask the parents what happened. But if a teenager doesn't show up, the responsibility should be borne by the teenager.

    What this would mean, though, is that the magic protection of 18 years old would go away. Suddenly any crimes commited by someone under 18 would be treated as if they were adults. That's just the way that it goes. If you want the freedom to act like an adult, then you get the resonsibility that goes along with it.

    IMHO, as long as the law enforces 18 years old as the cutoff for parental responsibility, anything short of abuse is fair game for making sure that teenagers are kept in line. If you're a teenager and you don't like this, you have two choices:

    1. behave responsibly so that your parents trust you and give you more freedom
    2. behave irresponsibly and suffer the consequences.


  • I think it was good parenting; the raised us so we knew what was expected and what was right and wrong

    Buddy, if no one else says it, let me be sure to tell you that you are 100% correct. Parenting where expectations are set is everything.

    I have two children who have expectations put upon them. They either meet the expectations or suffer the consequences. I do this when I can control the consequences and I make the consequences annoying, but not something that will cause any sort of permanant damage (either physical or emotional). My hope is that learning from the relatively sedate consequences that I impose, will teach my children that the world works on consequences, and that when I'm not around, they'll think before they make a choice that carries a serious consequence.

    If this isn't the goal of every parent, it ought to be.

    The public schools and the government continues to tell parents that they don't have to properly raise their children; the schools will do it for them. And then in case they mess up, we'll just make sure they can't do anything bad. This results in adults who learned what not to do the same way our pets do.

    I think that we see the same thing, although I wouldn't describe it that way. IMHO, the government and the public schools are saying that children have absolutely no responsibilities, and that children can not be expected to live with the consequences of choices that were made by the children themselves. This results in adults who don't feel any responsibility for anything they do. This results in an adult who sues someone when they spill their own coffee. Or airports with moving walkways and pre-recorded announcments at the end of the walkway saying "Walkway is about to end, look down." It doesn't take much imagination to realize that those announcments exist because someone filed a lawsuit because they fell, and weren't willing to take the responsibility for their own mistakes.

    (FWIW, the parenting style that my wife & I practice is called Parenting with Love and Logic []. I highly recommend this to anyone who is in any sort of authority role, not just parenting. It works for managers, team leads, just about anywhere that you have an supervisor and subordinate relationship. I have no affiliation with Love & Logic other than a satisfied customer.)

  • Actually there is a very good reason for seatbelt laws. If you go flying through the windshield and break your neck, who pays for your million dollar medical bills? Yeah, your insurance company. And who pays for that? Everyone who has insurance. So for my sake and everyone else who drives and has to pay insurance bills, wear your god damn seatbelt.

    Hey you can do something stupid and die and thats just fine with me. But if I gotta pay for it, well I got a problem.

  • Well good argument, but I think you are the one on the slippery slope.

    Having cops not burst in to your home is a right (see 4th Amendment), and although less explicitly, so is sexual preference. Driving is not a right. You give up certain rights to drive on public roads. If you want to drive on such roads you have to get a license right? You also have to stay under the speed limit and obey other traffic laws. By extension, if you want to drive on public roads, you have to put on a seatbelt. Freedom snatching my ass, you give up freedoms all the time. You want to get paid/invest in the stock market/purchase goods, you give up your freedom to *not* pay taxes. Same deal.

    I'm just as freedom coveting as you are in reality, and I bitch about taxes every time they eat half of my paycheck. The real reason why I feel the way I do about seatbelts is that I was involved in such an accident 4 years ago, where the other driver was not wearing a seatbelt. I was. He was hurt, I walked away.

    Four years later, the pain-and-suffering lawsuit (for $300k) is finally entering court. His medical bills were already covered by insurance.

  • no.. kids do NOT need control.. they need guidance.

  • This is absolutely correct -- my parents treated me as though I was 18 when I was 15. (Responsibility wise, not alcohol wise.) Now that I am 19, I am able to solve problems myself -- I am fairly independant.

  • Well, Perhaps "easy" was overstating it, because drawing the appropriate line is hard. But describing *what* to do is easy. The advice was actually given to me by my father-in-law, who is the only parent I know who successfully raised an extremely mature woman whom I later married. So this advice was from a man who had seen a child from birth to marriage.
  • by Ted V ( 67691 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:59AM (#205432) Homepage
    This is an excellent way to spoil your kids. Want to know the best way to raise responsible kids? It's easy! Treat them like they're 2 years older than they really are. This doesn't mean they get ultimate freedom, but if you treat a 13 year old like they're 15, they'll act that way. If you treat a 13 year old like they're 11, they'll act that way too.

    The more you trust your kids to make their own decisions, the more responsible they'll become. Things just go wrong when a 17 year old is treated like they're 13, and when they become 18, they don't know how to act responsibly with their freedom.

    Cameras in schools just encourage parents to treat kids like they're younger than they are. This might be good for 13 year olds who act 9 (ie. spoiled), but perhaps some better parenting would have a bigger impact.

    Now I'm not going to get all SlashDottish now and go overboard on "rights" and stuff. :) But the best way to teach kids to act responsibly with a lot of freedom is to slowly give them more and more freedom, and trust their choices. (Of course, you're allowed to comment on your preferences as long as you're clear that you'll respect any of their decisions on the matter at hand.)

  • Given that probably the biggest problem with kids these days is related to the fact that parents do not take a decent interest in what their kids do, and that they mainly leave it up to "The System" to raise their kids properly, I highly doubt parents would use this kind of a system.

    It is more likely that school officials and other 'officials' would be using this type of technology.

    Let's face it... In today's US society, the government and school system have taken over the role of parents in raising the kids to a large extend. Child protection services and such have a higher authority than parents do, and school have so many responsibilities that parents should have kept. Parents in the past being lazy about their task obviously has led to a society where common sense is extinct.

    In a society where it is perfectly fine for a school bus to cause all traffic to come to a complete stop to let kids off the bus, and where then crossing guards stop traffic to allow kids to cross AGAINST the traffic light signals...
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @06:43PM (#205435) Homepage Journal
    When I was in high school (79-83), I always carried a knife with me. I had drugs on my person, and gave them to others. I routinely ignored a teacher, I walked out of class, I walked out of school with a printer one day. I played video games.

    Was I horrible? Incorrigible? A thug?

    Hell NO!

    I carried a knife because it was a tool: I was always being asked to fix things for other students.

    I carried asprin in my billfold because I got incredible headaches. When my friends also got headaches, I gave them asprin as well.

    I ignored the teacher because he was an imbecile who could coach tennis, but not teach math. He once was unhappy because I found the slope of a line by differentiating the equation in my head, rather than computing (y2-y1)/(x2-x1) as the teacher's guide said.

    I left class to go work on the school's computers. I was in charge of the computer room: the principal himself gave me the authority to deal with troublemakers.

    The printer was broken and out of warranty, and I could solder the broken connection faster than the local computer shop could fix it.

    In short, I was the typical geek. I had several honors, and I am now a (very ) productive member of society, and I've never even killed anyone.

    But now-a-days I'd not be let within 100 meters of a school....

    A friend of mine mad an interesting point: "We grew up with Johny Quest. The rules were simple: we kill the bad people with guns. We grew up OK. Now these kids grow up with Smurfs and Carebears, and they are doing crack and killing each other!"

    Something is wrong here....
  • by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:42AM (#205436) Homepage
    SCOTUS would probably suggest that there is no reasonable right to privacy for students in a school. ISTR that they've (well, maybe not the current members, but not THAT long ago) upheld locker searches on a similar basis. And as long as the school makes sufficient effort to restrict access to the monitoring data to parents and school administrators, that argument might still stick.
  • In one instance, he said, parents suspected that their middle-school child wasn't eating a healthy lunch. Using the program, they found out that the child was buying fruit juice and ice cream every day.

    Dude, fruit juice is not bad for you. Glad they're allowing parents to have such useful influences over their children at school. Guess it'd be better if they ate a burger and fries every single day, which was the "healthy" choice in our HS cafeteria.


  • Except how you raised the child determines whether or not he is a regular truant, not something inherent to the child as you seem to imply.


  • So a parent could dictate the child shall not eat? No, the benefit of the child should be paramount, not the parent's will nor any vicarious desire to make the child beautiful.


  • No, that's the way improperly brought up kids are.


  • Ok, I can understand the rest, but tracking lunch purchases? Is it just me, or is it a little odd that the school keeps track of what individual students eat to begin with? Is such information being tracked without the consent of students and parents who do not use the system?

    And what else does the school system do with the information?
  • Shouldn't they explain to the kid:"hey, don't do this"

    Of course, but so what? You're making that assumption that just because a parent has told his child what to do (or not), that the child will listen. How absurd!!! For all you know, the parent could have been trying to get his kid to stop eating ice cream for months now, but the kid just doesn't care and does it anyway.
    Lord Nimon

  • Isn't it the kids' right to prefer a good and tasty steak over a nice physical appearance?

    No, it isn't. Parents are responsible for the well-being of their children, so the parents dictate what the children can and cannot eat. If the parents say that the children should eat healthy (and any parent who doesn't is unfit to be a parent), then the children should eat healthy.

    Ok, so kids will now go to the Mac Donalds next door rather than eating at the canteen, and this system will have achieved the exact opposite from what was intended.

    Not at all. The parents will know that the children are not eating at school, and can take appropriate action (i.e. punishment).
    Lord Nimon

  • I wont get into the whole weither this software is right or not convo, but I can tell you what it's like to be followed like this.

    I started high school the exact same time my mom took a job as (tada!) Attendance Secretary at the school (now she's the principal's secretary, ie, the one who's really in charge). She knew all my teachers because daily they would have to bring the slip saying who was at what class up to the attendance office. She could see weither I Was in class or not, as well as talk with the teachers about what was going on (This is how I suddenly found myself going to tutoring in Math. My Mom knew about my overall failing grades and bad math score before me).

    This had a couple of effects:

    Good: For one, I paid attention more in classes, I was a lot nicer, I got some better treatment from the teachers. My grades (except math:b) were very good and I actually made National Honor Society.

    Bad: I _had_ to follow the rules to the letter. I could never speak out against the school. EVERYTHING I did was reported to my parents. I couldn't support friend swhen they had problems with teachers else it'd suddenly become a problem on the homefront as well as school. They would know where my money went for school lunches.

    In the end while I did do good in school, I really felt like I was being stalked by 'big brother' (for lack of a better word.). So I came out of high school with honors, but somewhat paranoid and didn't have as much fun as I felt my friends had.

  • To every citizen having a chip implanted in his ass at birth.

    Where was citizen 626-45-8892 on the night of tuesday the 14th?

    Citizen 887-14-0923, we noticed that for three days last week your traffic pattern analysis deviated by 15 miles from its usual pattern. Would you mind explaining what you were doing?

  • Dehumanizing? Nah. If anything, it's a nice, early eye opener to the real world. A world in which the cops are watching you drive, the convience store is taping you, and your boss is looking over your shoulder, watching you work, and judging how much you make based upon what you do.

    I think it's about time this was implemented. Kids get the idea, real early in age, that when they are at school there is no control. No one watching them, making sure they are behaving. There are lots of examples: the first school yard bully I ran into was at 2nd grade. No teacher: lots of bullying. Teacher showed up: he behaved himself.

    I also like this idea of being able to monitor my child in school. I give him money to buy lunch, I want to make sure he buys something other than candy bars and soda. Sugar does not get you through the day as good as a well rounded meal.

    Link this up with live video feeds and I can find out which kids in school are harassing him verbally and physically and BRING A STOP TO IT before it gets out of hand.

    Kids aren't interested in trust. No one is interested in trust. It doesn't enter into the equation.

  • And I for one look forward to having kids, just so I can PING them all day long...

    That's a scary thought. Think of what it says when the ping comes back: "Timmy is alive". The odd days when there's severe packetloss would give me heart attacks!


  • It only means parents can keep track of their kids, it doesn't make parents have to care about what they're doing...
  • Letting parents track their kids' movements so they'll stay on the straight and narrow - what a great idea! And since parents have their children's welfare at stake, I'm sure they'll have no problem with applying the same principles to themselves and letting their kids track THEIR movements with the same software.

    Now, when Johnny comes home to an empty house after school, he can log in to this system and see mommy lingering at the gym counter and daddy stopped at a street corner in a strange part of town, and know just what they're doing instead of spending their time raising him well.

    (-1, Angry Former Kid, right? Thank God I'm not trying to grow up in present-day America.)

  • Tracking devices isn't giving the parents more control, it's making them less liable to talk to their kids and the school a tool to use against them. I am so sick of parents who will utterly NOT believe what the administration says about their kids. How many parents go to Parent Teacher Conferences like my parents did? Very few. How many say two words to their kids that aren't "get down from there" or "don't do that"? How many parents tell their child that they love them everyday (even whilst administering punishment). I am afraid to say not very many. The first thing I do when I walk in the door is love on my son. I pick him up, (he's 2) and hug him, and take advantage of the time now, because once he's 18, I am out of it. It makes me so happy to see him growing, yet so sad that in 16 years, he will be 18 and off to college. The first thing I tell my son when I see him every afternoon (he's sleeping when I leave for work) is that I love him and the last thing I tell him as I put him to bed is that I love him. I will stand up for my kids, to a point. Have you ever watched shows where the parents said not my kid? Well, I believe kids can do anything, even if you believe you know them well. Even if you think you know them, yes, it's possible that it can be your kid.

    Parents with NMK (not my kid) syndrome have taken the teeth from the teachers. I remember getting threatened with the paddle when I was in grade school. You will never see that now! Also, the first thing I will tell, my kids teachers and principals, is that they have permission to do whatever they want (within reason that is...they don't have permission to beat my kid black and blue) so long as they tell me. If I ever here my kid is acting up and the teacher did nothing, then I want to know why!

    I agree with several others on there that posted that kids don't have rights and, to a certain extent, they don't, nor should they! During the formative years, if kids are treated like adults and are given the freedom to do what they want when they want, then this country is going to fall apart. Kids, we are hard on you because we are trying to teach you the right thing. My mom wanted me in by 9 pm every night I was out unless I was on a school activity, or had permission (prom night we were out most of the night). I never went to places to drink, because in my house, you followed my parents rules just like I expect my son to follow mine. They aren't draconian, but they are designed to teach me (and now my son) right from wrong. You get out of line, and well, you have to face the consequences. If I ever talked back to my parents or tried to blame someone else for my mistake, ooo I'd get in so much trouble. Kids are to respect their parents. How can they if they are left to walk all over the parents??

  • It puts power into the hands of the parents, where it should be. We are always saying that parents need to watch thier kids while they are on the internet, many can't, this will help a little in allowing them to see what thier kids are doing. This could be a bad thing if the records are given to people other then the parents. This data is a gold mine for corperations that want demographics.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\=\=\=\=\
  • Not really. The child still has the opertunity to make mistakes, by going to web sites that thier parents don't want them to. They just get to learn that there are consequences when they find out. By giving parents the oppertunity to see what thier kids are up to, will be able to let the kid know they did something that isn't approved of.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\
  • by The Wing Lover ( 106357 ) <> on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:45AM (#205479) Homepage
    I don't get what the big deal is. So parents can find out if their kids are doing all their homework, and skipping. Isn't that what responsible parents are supposed to know about their kids?

    Here's a hypothetical situation. Let's say that a parent goes into Parent-Teacher Conference nights and says things like "How's little Jimmy doing on his assignments?" or "Does Sarah have any unexcused absences this semester?" Naturally, the teacher would answer (except in the cases of 18-year-olds or whatever). Would that be an invasion of rights? Some big civil liberties thing? Or just a parent and teacher both doing their jobs?

    I don't understand how having this available on the Internet is any different. So.. what? It's easier for parents and teachers to do their jobs? Academic performance is eroding steadily. Maybe if parents were a little more responsible and involved in their childrens' education, then this wouldn't be happening.

    This just makes it easier for the parents to be responsible.

  • by destine ( 109885 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:13AM (#205484)
    In my opinion, the problem is more of a slippery sloap problem. If we allow this, then yes we can monitor our children from work or home. But, what if someone was doing this in your work place? Would you feel comfortable with it. " It was good enough for me when I was a kid." I know I've heard it said around the office several times. Now that its in your workplace, why don't we just start monitoring people all over the nation. Its for your safety as much as anything else. And then of course that leads into a bunch of privacy issues.

    We need to watch these kinds of things and be wary of anything that takes away the privacy of our children because they will grow up without knowing the importance of privacy.

    What about racial issues or religious issues. Maybe these childrens parents will see that they are hanging around too much with those white kids or maybe the hispanics seem to be grouping together to much and parents may come demanding diversity be enforced or that their children shouldn't be fraternizing with any jewish kids. Very extrem points and very unlikely I know, but what if. We shouldn't invite this kind of thing. The writers of our constitution give us the right to pursue happiness even. It doesn't disregard children in that matter.

    There are some children that probably should be watched closely, but I don't like the whole being punished for the few. I will conced however that it is nice to be able to see what your children are up to, but will its positives outweigh the negatives. Just bear that in mind when you think about your children. And remember its not us against them with children. We may be older but we were young once. We have learned from our experiences and we can teach that to others young or old, but we can't make them follow our lessons. Even by constant monitoring.

    "He who gives up liberty for security gets neither." - Ben Franklin
  • Greyfox writes:
    Where was citizen 626-45-8892 on the night of tuesday the 14th?

    Citizen 887-14-0923, we noticed that for three days last week your traffic pattern analysis deviated by 15 miles from its usual pattern. Would you mind explaining what you were doing?

    This isn't fictional - it happens in Indonesia and Signapore. You're tracked whenever you go through public transportation for the purposes of "security".

  • and didn't have as much fun as I felt my friends had.

    Dude, that's a rule of life. *Nobody* ever has as much fun as they think their friends are having.


  • Okie... Time to unsheath the correction stick...

    As I've seen it said before, the Constitution is not the end-all be-all of our rights as citizens of the United States. It's a high-level view of how the business of government shall be conducted, with some lines that government is not allowed to cross with respect to individual liberties tacked on the end. (Never mind that Congress has been ignoring that for years, that's a different argument.) You're right, the phrase "pursuit of happiness" is in the Declaration of Independance and not the Constitution, but they were both written by the same group of folks, so the person you replied to is technically correct. Go back and read the wording.


  • And look how well he turned out. The man's a Yale graduate and he still pronounces "nuclear" as "noo-kyu-lar".

    He's got the red button in view and he can't even pronounce it right. How's that for irony?


  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @01:21PM (#205496) Homepage
    Want to know the best way to raise responsible kids? It's easy!

    If I was 20 years younger, I'm sure I'd be responding something like this: BWAH HA HA HA HA! LOL!! ROTFLMAO!!

    But I'm not. I'm 40, and a parent. So let me instead say that you may get a different perspective once you have children yourself.

    Just to prepare you, let me state for the record that raising kids in any kind of manner is not easy; raising responsible ones even less so.

    There's also no magical formula that will work for every child in every situation. For every kid who just needs to be treated like an adult to get motivated to act that way, there is another who - searching for limits and having never been given them - will go out and literally kill themselves unless prevented from doing so.

    Contrary to the opinion of slashdot kiddies everywhere, must parenting failures I've seen are the result of parents not establishing boundaries of acceptable behavior for their children, leaving them to learn them the hard way when they get out into real life. Children even as young as age 1 search for limits and instinctually test those limits in a loving environment. Parents do their children no end of harm allowing themselves to be run over roughshod.

    Oh, and by the way, monitoring your kids from home and the internet is called "strict parenting"; if it's pathologial, it might be called "overprotective parenting". By no means is it "spoiling". Spoiling is when you let your teenager do whatever the hell he or she wants, assuming they're wise enough to avoid behaviors that can result in life-altering consequences.

  • Regardless of what you think of monitering technology it will do no good to thos students who would most benifit from more stringent supervision. In order for this to be effective the parrents must be willing to both use the system to get information on their children's (mis)behavior and then must be willing to do something about it.

    Many of the problems schools face stem for a lack of parental involvment in there childs education (and life in general). I applaud this system for making it easyer for involved parents to get this information easier but it will not slove any problems and in my opinion is not worth the cost. Imagine the senrio where parrent X calls up and says "My Son/Daughter wasn't in class this morning. It's your fault. Go find him/her" You may think this is silly but a teacher in my old High School was sued when a student in his class was hit by a truck while ditching class. (The lost but...)

    One of the root problems which must be solved if public educatiuon is to improve is parential involvment in there childs education. To the extent that this system will facilitate that i aplaud it, but any parrent who can't figure out that there child is ammassing a stockpile of wepons with the intent to shoot up the school won't even be looking at ther childs ice cream addiction.
  • I think the problem is where you say "Most teenagers are honest enough, but if you end up with one that is consistently dishonest the only choice you have as a parent is to monitor them more closely." As an exception handling device, for the 'bad seeds' I don't have a problem. But the article stated that parents are signing up for this in "droves." A majority of these kids then are going to be monitored; not because it is necessary, but because they can be. Surveillance _for the sake of surveillance_ outside of any other purpose is a big red warning light. Americans (This sweeping generalization may also apply to other nationalities, YMMV.) currently have a fetish for information. They need to know everything _now_ even though almost all of this will not directly effect their lives. (I am as guilty of this as anyone.) The growth of "reality tv" shows the increase of this desire to be tapped into this...
  • by stilwebm ( 129567 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @11:38AM (#205509)
    You beat me to it. I agree that we have to give kids responsibility if we want them to ever have any. If they've been watched their whole K-12 years, what are they going to do when they are faced with the sudden HUGE increase of freedom after high school?

    I always could tell the kids who were given little responsibility for their own decisions before college. Once they reached college, not only did they take little responsibility for their actions, but the took far more risks.
  • by sid_vicious ( 157798 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:46AM (#205521) Homepage Journal
    And how about radio collars that explode if they wander outside school grounds during school hours!

    No more kids cutting class -- Of course, there are a lot more brains to clean up, but hey make an omelette, break a few eggs, right?

  • High school is the final stage between being a child and being an adult. It is a time when you mature, and start to think as an adult. With less oversight from parents, you are forced to think for yourself, and this prepares you for the world after you turn the magical age of 18. However, with a system like this, where does the independent thinking come in? With parents controlling not only your life at home, but also your life at school, where do you learn the necessary skills to be an adult. Where do you learn independence, free-thinking, and most importantly, the real-life consequences of you decisions, not the parent consequences for your decisions?
  • Oh, I see: "We are doing this because we Care about you." Translation: Let us scare the shit out of you so you are so full of fear you can't function and are therefore under our control 24/7. Then we will feel that we have done a good job as a parent.

    Parents might do well to note that the danger is not that Other kids will watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and kung-fu someone to death on the playground, but that their own kid will snap under the oppressive and anxiety-ridden lifestyle they have chosen for them, grab the gun from under Dad's bed, and start shooting up the school, thereby dealing with the insane pressure in the way his peers taught him.

    For a quick example of how someone can lose touch with reality and his own sense of self-worth, here is one of those poor souls []. The poor guy has lost touch with himself, and feels that there is no where to turn. How many of our children are lost like that? And how is monitoring their life day after day going to help them become the strong adults we hope to raise?

    Insanity heaped upon insanity, that's what it is...
  • This technology is about 75% redundant with the systems we had at my high school -- plain, old-fashioned, non-web-based systems. If I was absent that day, they'd call home to confirm and I had to have a note when I got back to school. Report cards had to be signed to confirm that my parents had seen them. Detention slips also had to be signed, and I had to tell my parents anyway, so I could get a ride home. Also, if I skipped a single class during the day, it resulted in a detention, still resulting in parental notification.

    The only three major differences with this system are that it circumvents the "forging your parents' signatures" problem, it adds food, and it lets parents check all kinds of intermediate grades. The first is only an issue if you were cheating the system, anway. The second one I'm a little mixed on. However, it's generally accepted that parents should have an active role in making sure their children eat a healthy diet. As for the last one, I know that I, as a student, wouldn't have minded having access to that. I was always too disorganized to keep track of what grades I got and such. Graded papers went into my backpack and didn't come out again until I dumped everything out. Besides, the parents are getting to see the final grades, anyway. You might as well let them see the rationale behind that grade. It'd certainly help in circumstances where you've got one or two early bad grades that brought your average down, followed by a number of good grades indicating improvement.

  • by Caraig ( 186934 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:07AM (#205544)

    I like to think that I'd be a halfway decent father. I know what mistakes my parents made (and I admit to being lucky: there weren't many) and I know that the important thing about raising a child is to teach them how to be an independant, emancipated human being. If kids in general didn't freak me out so much, I could be a damn good parent, I think.

    (Caution: Ranting ahead. Not that you'll really care! =)

    Reading this article made me so glad I'm out of school, and made me realize just how fscked up some people are. For a variety of reasons, I may never have children, but reading this article made the prospects of raising a child in this culture bleak and depressing.

    There's no other explaination. These parents, these administrators and teachers... they missed something seriously vital in this whole thing. I mean, do they really think that their childhood and teenage years would have been better and more tolerable if their parents had implanted brainwave recorders in their heads, given them microcameras for eyes, and clipped radio-tracking tags to their ears?

    Hell, no!

    Your child is not an automaton! He or she is not a little version of yourself with no consciousness! They are not zombies who without constant supervision would just walk off a cliff (but some of them might very well do that if it was the only escape from this culture of control that is developing!)

    Let's get serious here:

    In one instance, he said, parents suspected that their middle-school child wasn't eating a healthy lunch. Using the program, they found out that the child was buying fruit juice and ice cream every day.

    They asked administrators to block their kid from buying juice and ice cream. Now, whenever the child shows up at the register, the computer tells the lunch lady: no juice, no ice cream.

    Hmm... you think, possibly, that, maybe, the parents should have asked their own kid if there was something bothering him?! Call it a hunch, call it FSCKING INTUITION, but maybe, just maybe, something was eating at their kid badly enough to screw with his appetite. Or perhaps that there was something going on in his biochemistry which was making him crave sweets -- you think maybe this could be the first stage of diabetes, you stupid ignorant baka parents?

    Oh, no. Nope, never in a million years. So they start to remote-control their kid. That's all this system is. Remote control for little automatons.

    Parents, get it out of your heads that your teenagers can't open up bottles for themselves. Sure, they seem messed up, but think about what it was like when you were going through middle school and high school. The teenage years are the years where kids are starting to wake up to the fact that they are independant human beings, and a lot start craving their emancipation. Trying to keep a tight leash on your kids will do one of two things:

    1. break them;
    2. alienate them.

    If the first happens, you have failed miserably as a parent and your kid is destined to be a doormat for the rest of their life unless they can get up enough self-confidence to fight themselves and seek help and get their lives together. Or they kill themselves before they get out of school, and you'll have nobody else to blem but yourself. (Though you'll try to. Oh, how you'll blame everyone else but yourselves! Your cries will ring out into the night and on till past dawn and drown out the funeral bells, but in the end, deep down inside, you stupid baka, you know it's your fault for pushing them and being clueless the whole while.) You certainly can't help them, that much is obvious.

    If the second, you have just served to make your kid one of those wonderful disgruntled, disaffected few who get so much media attention these days, and they will revel in every second of discomfort they put you through before they finally kill themselves or run away, piling curses upon your name as they go.

    Ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions. Each of us has it within ourselves to be an emancipated, independant human being, and this capability requires of us responsibility for our own actions. But make no mistake: until our children emancipate themselves from us, we are responsible for them. We must raise them and teach them what it means to be independant. It is up to us to tell them:

    "You are not numbers! You are free persons!"

    Chief Technician, Helpdesk at the End of the World

  • by MacGabhain ( 198888 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:39AM (#205552)

    This sort of shit is only necessary in a world where parents have spent the previous however-many years of their child's life ignoring them 99.98% of the time and teaching them that the last thing in the world they should do is communicate honestly with their parents.

    You need more control over your kids? Try having a bit of LOVE for them, dumbshit!

  • by MacGabhain ( 198888 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @11:40AM (#205553)

    Love and hope for the best?

    No, love them and you hardly have to concern yourself with "hoping". Loving a child isn't some sort of passive well-wishing. It's reading to him instead of plopping him down in front of "Barney" videos for 4 hours. It's taking what he has to say seriously, even if it's the inane chatter of a 4 year old, because HE takes it seriously. It's giving his growing brain some reason to be predisposed to actually talk to you and trust you to care about what he has to say. And it works really really well, but only if you actually do it. "Love" is a verb, after all.

    My son's behaviour at school has increased greatly since I've started recieving detailed daily reports.

    Started receiving detailed daily reports??? My parents got those 20 years ago, without computers, every day, from me. Usually at the dinner table. You've got all the information you need about your kid's day at school already. It's in your kid. The single best "positive reinforcement" a kid can get is parents who listen to him and have taught him, throught their own actions, that they WILL listen to him. And this doesn't mean "always take his side" or "coddle him". I can recall exactly one case where my mother, a former teacher, took my side when I complained about a teacher. It was, however, the one case where she should have taken my side.

    Oddly enough, once I was out of school and in college, and grad school, and "real life", my parents still heard (and hear) from me a couple times a week, and still know what's going on in my life, because I know they care about what goes on in my life and I like them for that. All without reports from my company, landlord or friends.

  • I think there is a big difference between small children ( age 5 ) and school age kids. I would be the first to say that babies NEED constant supervision and control. But as they get older you should be "lengthening the leash" so to speak, giving them more and more freedom so that they can learn to handle making decisions on their own, even when *gasp* no one is watching them.

    Basically I think trying to draw a correlation between webcams in daycare (watching babies) and tracking a teenager's every move is quite a bit of a stretch.
  • I know this may seem rather idealistic, but if parents and their children had a good, trusting relationship, there would be no need for the parents to even think about checking this information.

    Parents can see how students are doing with homework by looking at report cards. If the student has good grades, then he either did the homework or it wasn't worth doing and there was no loss. Attendence is the same way. When I was in high school, I could go to my mom or dad and explain that I needed the day off and they would allow it because they trusted that I was doing fine.

    All of this monitoring breaks down trust and causes more problems.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:57AM (#205580)
    The arguement against censorship of media (TV,Music,et al), which I agree with, goes along the lines of "raise your kids right, go outside and play with them and make sure they aren't causing trouble and they will be okay". The VERY SAME people saying this also have a tendancy to blather that "controlling" your child is somehow "bad". You can't have it both ways. Either give parents the ability to know what their kids are up to, OR allow for the possibility that the lowest common demoninator will be applied to new and "improved" censorship laws. It your choice.

    "chools across the country are adopting computer programs that allow parents to check the Internet daily to see whether their kids skipped class, handed in their homework and even what they had for lunch."

    Oh yeah, heaven forbid someone actually knows if their kid(s) is(are) doing the basics like going to school, doing their homework and using that money they gave them in the morning for lunch. What is this world coming to? Next they won't be able to go outside with thier friends till AFTER their homework is done, or in the worst case being fussed at for smoking. I mean, if kids wanna skip PE and smoke a cig down the street, what business is it of the parents. The kids obviously can take care of themselves, since they don't have to pay bills, make morgage payments, buy groceries, pay car insurance, or anything like that.

    Get real, idiot.

  • Simply because a parent doesnt want a child to go to a webbsite doesnt mean that its a mistake. The inhernt dogma that all parents make the right decsions for their kids is wrong. By giving parents the right to look at what their kids are doing *all* the time will make the child feel very abused.

    As I understood it in school, its the childs job to do well, its their time. So why then would you impose all the strict rules of monitoring? Just because you can have sex and produce a child doesnt mean that you should govern with a facist totalitarian fist.
    And certianly it doesnt give you the right to, after all you cant beat your kids.

    The Lottery:
  • Give me a break 30 years ago the USA's president was getting drunk on the senior skip day!

    The Lottery:
  • What will the consequences be? IMO, even more dumbed down adults who will be even LESS equipped to deal with stressful situations and to survive on their own than now.

    Do we want to condition CHILDREN to expect to be tracked and monitored 24/7? Will this create adults who will think this sort of thing is "ok and normal" and go along with the Government tracking EVERYONE in this way?

    This is freaking scary stuff! All the more scary because it's SCHOOLS who are doing this. Schools that are run by GOVERNMNET. Aren't there some serious Constitutional issues here?
  • "Where do you learn independence, free-thinking, and most importantly, the real-life consequences of you decisions, not the parent consequences for your decisions?"

    You know what could happen? This could be used as an excuse to push back the age of "adulthood" to 21... or 25... or 30... Or never.

    One way the government can usurp the Constitution is to simply deny citizenship.

    This system will create completely unfit "legal" adults at 18.
  • "Actually there is a very good reason for seatbelt laws. If you go flying through the windshield and break your neck, who pays for your million dollar medical bills? Yeah, your insurance company. And who pays for that? Everyone who has insurance. So for my sake and everyone else who drives and has to pay insurance bills, wear your god damn seatbelt."

    That in itself is a slippery slope argument. Do you want the government to be outlawing things based on the probability that you may get hurt, or become a drain on the medical system? Want a VERY good argument against that?

    Here goes:

    For instance, there is a lifestyle out there that is EXTREMELY high risk. SO high risk, in fact, that the average life expectancy of a person who practices this is more than HALVED, because of the extreme risk of a disease for which there is no cure, and for which treatments for are extremely expensive and draining on insurance.

    What lifestyle is this? The gay lifestyle. Should cops be allowed to burst into people's homes to see who they are screwing, and arrest them if they are having gay sex?

    I don't belive in that. IF someone chooses a personal lifestyle that is PERSONALLY self-destructive and risky, then it's THEIR choice, and I and no one else has any business interfering. This is, after all supposed to be America..

    Driving alone in your car with no seat belt endangers only yourself, and it shouldn't be the government's business.

    But then, the government has a vested interest. If I die in a car wreck, I'm not paying taxes anymore to support all those do-nothing do-gooder "studies" that lead to freedom snatching like seat belt laws.
  • However if I was still in school it be a hole deffrent story.

    Dropped out early, huh?

    Dancin Santa
  • by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:00AM (#205612) Homepage Journal
    How can we possibly teach our children to trust that authority figures know best when the authority figures don't show them any trust back? (I.E. "Do as I say, not as I do.")

    It's ok for adults to sleep around with anyone they want, skip work even when they're not sick, and cheat in their work, but we want to monitor children 24/7 so they can't do the same? Does that make any sense?

  • by gus goose ( 306978 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @09:46AM (#205616) Journal
    Parents have every right to know the activities of their children. This is not a privacy issue, as children have no right to expect privacy from their parents.

    If the information is available to others, then there may be other issues.

    In reality, the information available on this system should be made available to parents if they need it whether it is over the net or not. Making it easily accessible will simply make it easier for parents to become involved, to manipulate, and to encourage their children earlier than before.

    To those people who don not believe that parents should actively "Control" their children, then they should rather debate "When are children no longer children?", or alternatively, "What is a parent?" This is where the issue becomes personal / individual. People mature at different rates, and parents are always confronted with the issues of whether their chil is old enough to be able to take responsibility for themselves. My philosopy is that parents should be able to influence their children in all matters until the child has moved out of home, basically the rule "While you live under my roof you are my child...".

    Regardless, it is up to a parent to determine the involvement they want with their child, it is not up to the child to determine the involvement of their parents.
  • by Lumpy Claus ( 451254 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @10:32AM (#205659)
    I was a high school teacher for 5 years, and I have seen first hand what programs like this do to kids. When kids have their responsibily for themselves usurped they learn not to have any sense of responsibility at all.

    I agree that security is an issue now more than ever, but this program sacrifices the mental development of our nation's youth for adults' own piece of mind. That's sick.

    Kids need guidance. Kids need rules. Kids need discipline. Kids need responsibility. Most of all kids need opportunities. They need to be able show that they can be responsible. They need for us to trust them. Programs like this one show that we don't.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"