Undercover Parent

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To Spy or not to Spy…That is the Question!

In his essay from the New York Times, “The Undercover Parent,” Harlan Coben argues that parental use of spyware to monitor a child’s activities on the computer. The essay begins with Coben showing his initial apprehension towards the use of spyware stating, it’s an “invasion of privacy.” Coben mentions that his, as well as many other parents, hesitation may have started from the word: spyware. Nevertheless, as the essay continues on Coben’s views, on the subject, change. He says that some parents overprotect their children and might abuse the spyware programs, but most parents just want to use them to oversee their child’s activities and make sure they are doing the right thing and not getting themselves into trouble. Coben points out that it will be a hard choice to make and your child might be mad at you for “spying” on them, but in the end you’re just trying to do the best thing and you just want to protect them. Coben explains his initial apprehensions with the word “spyware” by saying its secretive yet hints to being very intrusive of privacy. The word is kind of scary and has a harsh tone. Coben adds to this harsh tone by using words such as “repelled” or “invasion” to describe his initial feelings. After showing his readers he can relate to how they feel he tries to show his readers that the programs are actually quite simple and not as cruel or invasive. Coben hints at the point that since you’re a parent trying to protect and supervise your child’s activities it’s being used for a good reason which makes this ok. He states that parents already watch over their child in their home environment and school, so this is just another way to watch over something the parent might not be able to see in plain view. Coben does a good job of showing ways that people might disagree with him and then makes positive points to refute the negatives. When he says he was “first repelled at this invasion of privacy” he shows...
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