John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris on Should Parents Respect Their Children’s Online Privacy?

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The stats are sobering. According to the American Psychological Association, the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 13 years old, with some seeing it as young as five. According to another survey, 42 percent of children have been cyber-bullied, and more than a third have been actively threatened online. One in five twelve-year-olds has been contacted by a predator.

Other pitfalls of unsupervised and unlimited screen time may not be quite as awful, but are still worth knowing. One doctor, writing at Psychology Today in 2015, described how overuse of technology leaves kids “moody, crazy, and lazy.” Phones and tablets overstimulate young nervous systems, resulting in disrupted sleep, fried reward circuits in the brain, multiplied stress, and fractured attention spans. The younger the child, the worse the damage seems to become.

All of this is why so many top executives and engineers in Silicon Valley refuse to give their own kids the mobile devices they make.

In 2018, the New York Times ran a feature describing these parents at Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and other tech giants who raise their own children tech-free. One Facebook veteran ominously told the Times, “I’m convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.”

Are we taking the alarm being sounded by these executives seriously enough? Christopher Null at WIRED magazine thinks we are not. In a recent piece, he describes the “ethical debate” some parents think they must have over whether they should respect their children’s privacy online.

He quotes an author who makes the argument that supervising our kids’ tech use signals a lack of trust, and only conditions them to accept totalitarian surveillance.

I’d tell you how ridiculous I think this is, but Null has spared me the effort. He insists children should have no expectation of privacy when it comes to their online activity. In fact, and I fully agree with this, the least loving thing you can do as a parent is to leave your kids to their own devices on the Internet.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris