Additional context in his response told me he wasn't a parent. And I wasn't wrong, so . .
And I fall back to: I'm no expert in your child. You're no expert in mine. You raise your child your way, I'll raise my child mine.
Not at all. You see, you're actually in this. You've made your judgments on how to handle one situation vs another by knowing your son. No parent is the same and no parenting style is the same. But when I get some arrogant SOB asking why I need the passcode to my daughter's telephone, and by his own admission is not a parent, it gets my hackles up. Because he's never been in this situation.
As a fellow parent, I'm guessing you'd agree that making a statement such as:
You are correct that I am not a parent. Pretty much all my friends are. I've seen the entire spectrum of child rearing techniques. I know what works and what doesn't.
works about as well as saying, "I'm not a doctor. I've seen the entire spectrum of therapies. I know what works and what doesn't." There are responsibilities in which experience is not a big deal. But I'm guessing you'd agree that, in terms of parenting, experience really is a big deal. And the thing of it is, that experience is built up by growing with the child from day one, not simply observing friends every so often for a few hours each time.
Actually, if she's a teenager then I know how she'd react.
I'm not arrogant enough to say how your son would react if you structured your parenting the same way we have. And I hope I've not come across as trying to dictate The One Right Way -- that was never the point. All I've been trying to do is point out to someone who's not been a parent that he has zero basis to question why a parent chooses to have the passcode to a child's telephone, the impact to that trust, and a way in which it could very reasonably and in a non-offending manner be part of the parent-child relationship. Because it depends 100% on the environment in which the child was raised and the parenting style.
Personally, I'd be utterly devastated if I didn't have the passcode for my child's device available to me in an emergency. I don't expect I'll ever need it -- she's a great kid. I've never used it. She can trust me on that point. I actually considered using it once -- she'd had a nickname for me in her contacts and changed it back to my regular name. I was going to go in and change it back to the nickname. But I considered that she could think of it as a violation of trust. So I didn't do it. Reinforcing the trust issue (although she doesn't know that) and still allowing me access if I ever need it -- for any necessary circumstance.
Amen. Just amen.
When I go out I tell my wife where I'm going. Does she trust me? Absolutely. Have I given her reason to not trust me? Never. But I have long since subscribed to that way of thinking -- "I'd rather you know and not need to know that not know and need to." My wife points things out to me when I'm driving. Most of the time I've seen them too, sometimes not. Sometimes I get a little angry. I'll immediately apologize and reinforce that I'd rather her tell me she's seen something and find out I'd seen it too instead of not telling and find out I missed it.
It's all about safety. And it's not even paranoia; I just think this is a good safety principle by which to abide. And I'd argue it even enhances trust, because it says "You have no reason to know, but I'm going to tell you anyway, because I have nothing to hide."
Odds are we're about a decade apart or less. You are correct that I am not a parent. Pretty much all my friends are. I've seen the entire spectrum of child rearing techniques. I know what works and what doesn't.
I really guessed you as being late teens. Based on your reply, I'd guess mid-to-late 20's. You don't say how old your friends' kids are. Regardless, you don't know what works and what doesn't. At best, you know what works for your friends' kids. If you try to use those techniques on any future children of yours, without modification, almost guaranteed you will fail. Because every child is an individual. One set of friends doesn't use the exact same techniques as another set. This is, truly, a job you learn by experience. And observing and babysitting are in no way the same as parenting. You aren't having to make the hard decisions for those children and you get to give them up when your friends get back. Think you can learn how to run a train just by watching different engineers? And they let you pull a lever or two every so often. But that is not the same.
If all it takes is one instance of her being secretive for you to go all search and seizure on her you've just proven my point. You don't trust her.
You set up the scenario -- she was being secretive and hiding the screen. I played a parent that trusted the daughter but questioned her hiding the screen. And the result is that she now doesn't trust me. I didn't have reason to not trust her before, but you indicated hiding a phone screen is a sign of secrecy so I investigated and that was the result. Your idea, not mine.
But let's step back from this discussion and focus on the idea of trust. Picture an all-American average family -- mother, father, two kids; let's assume one girl and one boy. Let's look at how trust works in this situation:
Now who has broken the trust here? If the family works as it generally should, it's the child. And it's not necessarily malicious (although down the road it could be). But this is what happens. Will there be times when a parent violates the trust of a child? Probably in some way. But due to the nature of the relationship the child is likely to forgive the parent, especially if the parent is apologetic and genuine. The parent made a mistake and the child understands that, because of the parent's history, it's probably a one-time thing so the trust with the parent rebuilds pretty easily. The child is inexperienced in life, learning to make decisions and pushing boundaries. It is the parent's responsibility to set boundaries. Which brings us back to our discussion.
The parent sets the boundaries. There is no knowing for sure how the child will react to a new situation (getting a phone). So the boundary is that the parent must have the code to get into the phone. The parent is typically more experienced (has had a smart phone, has heard of the dangers of predators, understands giving out private information, etc.) and the child's experience is . . . pretty much none. The unknown here is the child, not the parent. So there will be a talk with the child and the rules applied (it doesn't stay in your room; you may only have it from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM; you may have a Facebook account so long as I'm a friend; you may not have a Twitter account; etc. etc. etc.). And one of the boundaries is that the parent must be able to get into the telephone. THAT is how it works. And as the child shows it can handle the new privilege (and yes, a phone is a privilege), the reins are slowly loosened -- you can keep it in your room but it needs to be turned off at night. Etc.
I sense this is not how your childhood went. Substantially this is how my childhood went. Substantially this is how my children's childhoods are going.
I know plenty about parenting. Reproducing does not magically make you an expert on raising kids.
I never claimed reproducing makes one an expert on kids. There are plenty of rotten parents out there. I've seen them. You know how I became an expert on my kids? I read books. I interacted with my kids. I consulted with my parents. And ultimately I had the experience of raising my kids. I'm no expert on anyone else's kids nor am I arrogant enough to think I know how to raise any others -- not even my future grandchildren, if I'm so lucky. You've not raised kids.
There are four levels of "knowing" (I think that's what it's called):
Without having been a parent, you are most definitely in the final category.
I could go out all day on my bike anywhere within a 3.5 sq km area without any supervision
Almost guaranteed this was not automatic. You learned to ride your bicycle in the immediate neighborhood. With supervision. Was that your parents "not trusting you?" Or was it a new experience and they wanted to make sure you knew how to be safe? And then when you proved you could ride safely, they opened up the boundaries?
And yet you didn't answer my question on why you'd ever need to access her phone without her knowledge and/or permission.
And now that I've described how trust develops between parent and child, I'll say: any emergency situation in which she is in danger and that device may have pertinent information. If my daughter goes missing and her phone is left behind (I find her bedroom window open in the morning, for example, without her around). If my daughter is found unconscious in her room with her phone in her hand. I notice physical or behavioral changes in my daughter that point to drug abuse. Understand that, potentially, all three of those scenarios may represent violations of trust on the part of my daughter. So my daughter will have initially broken that trust and it's now my job, as a parent, to rescue her from whatever she's gotten herself into. I have not interrogated her phone without her knowledge because she's never given me cause. But I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had to.
In a proper parent-child relationship, the question of trust won't fall on the parent, it'll fall on the child, for the reasons described.
Glad you have a daughter that doesn't mind. Other kids value their privacy and freedom more. Although you did say you've never searched her phone yet. I wonder how she'd react if she found out. Actually, if she's a teenager then I know how she'd react.
I've never searched her phone because she's never given me cause. And your response of saying you know how my daughter would react show your extreme arrogance and why this conversation is way out of your league.
I don't know how old you are. But guaranteed: I've been your age, you've not been my age. I'm a parent, you're not. Guaranteed.
If you suspect something serious is going on (because they keep hiding the screen every time you're around for example) then you ask them to show you. Basically it's "I trusted you but you're acting very suspicious, what are you hiding?" and now they know it's their fault.
Try this hypothetical on for size:
Me: Kathryn, you keep hiding your phone. What's going on?
Kathryn: Nothing, dad!
Me: I want to see it.
Kathryn: No, dad!
Me: Show me now.
Kathryn: (angrily) Fine!
Me: (read texts between her and her aunt and grandparents about a surprise party for my 50th birthday . .
Now tell me she won't have that same sense of betrayal and that same sense of "you don't trust me."
If I was a kid these days and my parents required the passcode to my phone I'd just save up some money until I could buy an older used phone and use that for my private communication. Check the "compromised" device all you want. And if I got into some kind of trouble, they would not be the people I'd go to for help. It would be a teacher or guidance counselor as I would trust them more than my parents.
With that attitude, if you were my child, you wouldn't have an electronic device. And if you went and got one behind my back, tacit proof you are untrustworthy.
This is proof enough you know zilch about parenting. You see, in the old days, like when I was raised, parents were parents. Any sense of friendship was secondary. Parents were the authority figures. That doesn't have to mean they were dictators -- but as a child you knew they were in charge. When necessary, "Because I said so" was a perfectly appropriate answer to a child asking, "Why?" Because in life, like at your job, that may be the answer. And your boss will expect you to execute on it. And if you don't you're out of a job.
Your parents are in charge until you're 18. What you have access to, they have access to. Everything you have is a convenience and a kindness afforded to you by your parents. Legally they are responsible for you. You go out and get a job because they say you can -- you have no autonomy under the law. Parents can get in trouble for not knowing what their children are doing. Note that I have never accessed my daughter's phone without her knowledge or permission. But I can in the event that i need to. Why? Because I am the parent. Because I am in charge. And that IS the way it is. And my daughter knows I love her and I trust her. We have a great relationship. But until she's 18, I have the ability to access anything she can access. And that's just the way it is. If she wants to change all of her passcodes when she turns 18, she's welcome to do that and I've told her that. But because I am in charge, and because of my legal responsibility for her and her actions, I will have that ability or she won't have a phone. Or an iPod. Or a laptop. Or whathaveyou.
The real point though is that they are only called "it" while unknown, nobody ever calls definite individuals "it" except as an insult.
I've given examples that refute your conclusion. I gave an example of how "it" could be used in documentation in a very appropriate manner -- the gender and identity of the reader is wholly unknown, as is your criterion -- yet we commonly choose to write in an otherwise awkward manner because we don't want to offend using "it." I also gave examples where people refer to others -- and themselves -- as "it," appropriately, not insultingly, in everyday language.
This has been quite entertaining throughout the day. It has also been enlightening -- that there could be anyone out there that doesn't consider a fellow human being a person. That is revolting beyond belief. I hope one of those animals knocks on your door soon. It might be able to teach you something about humanity. Good luck with your life, you're going to need it.
I've given you several, in straight, everyday, comprehensible English.
Okay. If I run with your examples, then based on how I've shown "it" is indeed used in daily communication, there should be no problem using "it" as you describe.
I was talking with Sam, it was having a bad day.
My boss fired me, it was unhappy with my performance.
Did you see how hot its ass was?
None of those are sentences that you ever hear, and if you did you would likely assume that "it" was being used as an insult or objectification.
You are dense, aren't you? Test of reasonableness here. Let me refer back to the definition:
a person or animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded
In the examples you cite, it is unreasonable to disregard Sam's gender. Or the gender of your boss. Or the gender of the person with the ass you admire. There's no reason because the genders are all known. But when you're writing documentation, or otherwise referring to someone you have no way of knowing, no one should be offended seeing the word "it" as the appropriate genderless pronoun.
And before you say "my examples fit your definition by disregarding the gender," let me say the written word is full of concepts of "reasonableness." I could use proper nouns (where known) and eschew pronouns in every piece of writing. I don't do that because it's tedious and unreasonable. But I could and have it be grammatically correct. And so with this as well. As I said, it's unreasonable to use the genderless pronoun when the gender is known. But when the gender is unknown with no reasonable way to know the gender, using "it" should not cause offense.
Both quotes yours:
Babies are, for most practical purposes, still non-persons.
And some people never cross the threshold. I would even argue that some humans never become proper people at all - for example there are those with severe mental disabilities that will never have a mental age of more than a few months, far below the cognition of any of the animals we happily eat. What gives them claim to personhood when it is denied to an ape that is far more similar to an adult human in almost every respect.
I'm not the one who tried to argue a specific age for personhood. You're the one who opened that can of worms. I was just trying to show you the illogic of defining "person" to be birth + some time period, absolute or relative. And you continue it by saying that some people (plural of "person", a collection of persons) never cross the threshold. They never become persons? You seriously believe that? You can continue arguing with yourself on that point all you want. Not going anywhere near that argument again.
What matters is how people actually use the term, and nobody uses "it" to refer to people.
Comprehension problems much? I just gave you three every day examples of "it" being used to refer to people in my previous reply. In plain, normal, every day, conversational language. But here, let me integrate a couple into conversation for you.
Me: Okay, talk to you later, bye. (hangs up phone)
Wife: Who was it?
Me: On the phone? It was Jeff. He had a problem with his computer.
Me: (walks toward door) Who is it?
Neighbor: It's me, Chuck. Your neighbor?
Me: Oh yeah, hang on a second. (opens door)
Tell me you never refer to people with the pronoun "it"? Never?
I don't know what reply I expected, but that was was really quite lame. So . . . when does a baby become a person? 3 months? 3 years? 12 years? An 8-year-old is not a person? You're really going to open that can of worms??
Let's take a look at the Merriam-Webster definition of "it", shall we?
1 : that one -- used as subject or direct object or indirect object of a verb or object of a preposition usually in reference to a lifeless thing <took a quick look at the house and noticed it was very old>, a plant <there is a rosebush near the fence and it is now blooming>, a person or animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded <don't know who it is>, a group of individuals or things, or an abstract entity <beauty is everywhere and it is a source of joy>
We use "it" to refer to ourselves and others every day. "Who is it?" "It is me." "I don't know who it is."
We need to get over ourselves. "It" is the proper genderless pronoun.
In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter