A Critique of “the Undercover Parent” by Harlan Coben

Topics: Harlan Coben, Ethics, Privacy Pages: 4 (1437 words) Published: November 2, 2010
A Critique of “The Undercover Parent” by Harlan Coben
I have talked with some of my friends about “Should parents install spyware on the computer to inspect their kids?” All of them think that was not an appropriate way. One of them, Tonya Steel said, “It makes me sick that parents can put spyware on computer to stalk their kids.” She didn’t mean the software that just blocks porn sites; she just couldn’t accept the one that record every keystroke, every page clicked on even every msn convo. Tonya said: “It crossing the line way too far!” However, when I discuss this question with some parents, their answers are diversity. Some of them think it depend on children’s age, such as if kids are just 10, and they will consider to put spyware on their computer; if they are over 17, and they won’t do this. Some parents think they have the rights to put anything even spyware on their own computer. If kids use their parents’ computer, they should recognize this. Most of think blocking bad website is fine, but tracking every single website and private conversation is too much. As I talked with people, I found this is a controversial topic. It is hard to say who is right or wrong. Everyone has their own standards.

In his article “The Undercover Parent,” Harlan Coben discusses this topic on The New York Times magazine. At first, Harlan couldn’t accept it either; he thinks parents are wrong to pry into children’s privacy world. However, he found out that there is no mistake for parents to download any software in their own computers, and there is nothing wrong for parents to protect their kids. Harlan Coben said use spyware to surveillance kids’ private world is “Scary. But a good idea. Most parents won’t even consider it.” Because they think if children are old enough to go on the Internet, they will old enough to know the dangers; they think using parental blocks is enough; however, parental blocks didn’t work sometimes. So it is hard for parents to just simply trust...
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