Undercover Parent

Topics: Suicide, Internet, History of the Internet Pages: 6 (1438 words) Published: November 17, 2014
Caraveo 1
Elena Caraveo
14 September 2013
Undercover Parent Unit Essay
Have you ever wondered if your child’s safety could be endangered on the Internet? Or how about what websites they could be going onto and if they are talking to strangers? These are some topics that Harlen Coben discusses in his article entitled “Undercover Parent”. He suggests that parents should put spyware on their child’s computers, or other electronic devices, to monitor their Internet usage, activity, and safety. Now some may say that this is an invasion of privacy, but others disagree and say that it will benefit your child. Throughout the article, Coben presents information about the pros and cons of spyware. In my opinion, I both agree and disagree with Coben’s argument on spyware.

First, the reason as to why I agree with Coben is that your child’s safety could be endangered on the Internet. In some cases, it can lead to fatal outcomes. If a parent were to put spyware on their child’s computer, then they can see if their child is talking to strangers, giving out personal information, or if they are being cyber bullied. This way, if these incidents were to occur, the Caraveo 2

parent can take action, and put a stop to it. Most people have heard of the stories of children who were being cyber bullied on the Internet. In some cases, if the child is being cyber bulled to an excruciating point, then they might commit suicide. Studies show that the main reason why kids will take their life when being bullied, is to stop the pain. One of the most recent stories is of a young girl at age 12 who committed suicide. Her name was Rebecca Anna Sedwick, and she lived in Florida. 15 middle-school kids were bullying her for months, and were urging her to kill herself. Before the incident had happened she went onto her Kik account and changed her username to “That Dead Girl”. Then she sent out messages to her friends saying “goodbye forever.” Once she had sent out the messages, Rebecca went to a cement plant by her house. There she climbed to the top of the building, then plummeted herself to the ground. Later she was found dead by the police. Rebecca’s life could have been saved if there was some type of spyware on her phone or computer. Her mother would have gotten an alert of what was happening online, and could have prevented her daughter from taking her life.

Another reason as to why parents should have spyware on their child’s electronic devices is to monitor whom they talking to, and if they are giving out personal information online. An example of this is about another story of a Caraveo 3

young girl who was murdered. It all started when she was chatting on Facebook with someone who she thought was her friend. So then she decided to invite this so called “friend” to meet her at the corner by her house. The person that she was going to meet had different intentions than just meeting up and talking. Instead he had killed the girl that he was meeting up with. Once the man who committed the crime was arrested, he was put in jail and charged with the case of murder. In both scenarios of the girl who committed suicide, and the girl who was murdered, spyware was not used on any of their devices. If there had been spyware on their daughter’s devices, the parents could have seen what was occurring online and may have prevented their daughters’ from either killing themselves or from being killed. In this case, spyware could have saved the lives of these two young girls.

On the other hand, I disagree with Coben’s suggestions about spyware. In my presumption, this is considered an invasion of a child’s privacy. I wouldn’t want someone watching my every move 24/7, so why should I do it to someone else. They call it “privacy” for a reason. It means that something is private and is known by you and maybe someone else as well. If parents want to find out information about what their child is doing, then the parent should simply ask or talk...
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