It is ALWAYS a good day when someone calls to tell you they enjoyed your quote in TIME magazine, and better still when you had no idea that TIME intended to quote you.
In TIME's August 2nd issue, it ran a parenting article called: "A Watchdog in Their Pocket" which discussed a new service called My Mobile Watchdog. MMWD for short, it is a smartphone surveillance service that can capture texts, e-mails and photos and store them online. A dozen law enforcemen agencies are now using the service along with thousands of parents.
The cost is $9.95 a month for up to five children per family. Anytime an "unapproved person" communicates with a child, the parent gets a copy of the communication. This is not spyware - the child will periodically receive a message saying that the phone is being monitored. From what I'm told, this function cannot be disabled.
Of course, teens who wish to evade surveillance will simply use a friend's cell phone or buy a cheap, pre-paid phone. And as a betting woman (nothing more serious than the odd encounter with the Wheel of Fortune machines), I would bet that tech-savvy teens will find a way to defeat the technology. If history is our guide, it won't take long.
As an author, I am always pleased when my quote ends the article as it did here. As I said, "MMWD has a very good upside . . . but it has a downside: The kid is going to hate it."
We'll see how long the kid vs. tech war takes and who emerges victorious (if thereby endangered). My money is on the kid.
I learned this years ago when I attempted to restrict my youngest daughter's activities on AOL and she promptly constructed a workaround. I remained blithely convinced that I had guarded her for several years before I learned that my work had been undone in a matter of days by my clever child. This served as a valuable lesson however - and I have never forgotten that all technology guardians are fallible.
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