At this very moment, my emotional state is a combination of completely terrified mixed with a whole lot of gratitude that I am no longer an adolescent. All with thanks to a familiar lil pup from Chicago– Scruff McGruff.
I came across a computer program this week by the team behind the crime-preventin McGruff. Its called the McGruff SafeGuard to help parents “take a bite out of Internet danger”. According to the web site, the product is essentially my 13 year old self’s worst nightmare:
“McGruff SafeGuard goes way beyond typical website blocking services. Those products try to control WHERE your kids can go on the Internet. We help you see and understand exactly WHAT your kids are doing on the Internet. And WHO they are doing it with!”
Pardon my language, but HOLY CRAP.
This is taking internet safety to a whole new [read: absolutely terrifying] level.
I have so many issues with this. By having a program that goes “way beyond” other programs to monitor kid’s internet usage is personally far too unethical for me to understand. For lack of better words, it is completely unfair for children. Reading a particular FAQs on the site was also deeply concerning to me:
Q: What if I don’t want my child to know that SafeGuard is installed on his or her PC?
A: When you install SafeGuard, an icon will appear on the desktop you are monitoring. You can delete this icon and SafeGuard continue to work. It does not appear in the Windows system tray, Windows Programs or show in the Windows Task Manager list. Your child should not know that this software is installed.
The idea of monitoring your child with the child completely unaware could have some serious implications. This is a serious invasion of privacy! Perhaps I can’t grasp the need for this service because I am not a parent. BUT I will say that this kind of supervision could easily create a barrier between you and your child. Informing your child of the monitoring is one thing, but intentionally hiding that fact? There are so many things wrong with that.
Oh mannnn I feel like there is so much to say on this topic. Thoughts?