Pros and Cons of Spy Software

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Pros and Cons of Spy Software
15
Sat, 05-10-2003 - 3:36pm
Recently purchased a Internet Spy software program. It works great. Downside, if any, is how much I now know. I got it due to a recent incident and am trying to protect my 15 y.o. dd. There is a guy she used to go out with that she talks to online a lot and he calls her. I read their messages and the way he talks to her is very upsetting. He is sweet one minute - mean the next. He talks degrading to her sometimes. And - I wonder can she not see this. A part of it is that he wants to go back with her - and this is like a defense mechanism I guess. Even another one of her guy friends told her he did not like the way this guys talks to her.

So today she wanted to go to the mall with him. Because of what I knew I would not let her go and she is sooo mad. Do I think he will rape her? no. Do I think her life is in danger? no. I simply see him as very manipulative and a not very positive person - someone who could bring her down. Just a bad influence. The other problem is - there is something going on right now where many of her friends are abandoning her - wrongly - but it is happening. So - this guy is one of the few who is asking her to do something. So - I am torn as to whether to let her do things with him. Oh - he is a jr and she is a freshman in high school.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Sat, 05-10-2003 - 3:54pm
She's going to be angry and she may attempt to see him behind your back, but stick to your gut feelings and what you know.

There is a high incident of girls and yes guys, falling into unhealthy relationships where verbal and emotional abuse escalates into something worse. Self-esteem is eroded away, they are isolated from their families and friends. It's a control issue that needs to be stopped before it starts. I'd say that program is most definitely PRO, not con, because now you know what she may not be telling you that happens even outside of the home.

This has been a big topic on the board over the past few years. I'll look through the archives and see what I can find to refer you to. Here is an article you may want to read: http://www.parentsoup.com/teens/date/articles/0,,166478_413339,00.html

Also, this topic was covered intensely on Orpah. . here are some links for you to read:

http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/tows_2002/tows_past_20020228_b.jhtml

http://www.oprah.com/tows/booksseen/2002/tows_book_20020228_jmurray.jhtml

If anything, be sure she reads these with you and you discuss the topic thoroughly. She needs to understand that a boy/girl friend that truly cares will not treat nor talk to her that way.


Edited 5/10/2003 3:56:34 PM ET by cm_twoki

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Sat, 05-10-2003 - 4:44pm
Thanks - great response and very helpful. makes me feel better. Also - great articles. I am going to give them to my dd to read.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 5:17am
The only con I see here with the software and knowing so much - is how to use what I know effectively. In other words - taking action - you have to explain your action. Saying that you think someone is a bad influence ore whatever initiates questions like - why - wha makes you think that. Then - this just adds to her being pulled closer to the person and the person you are trying to keep her away from - she explains why she cannot do something with them - now he has turned against the parent and will further the manipulation by saying whatever about the parent. Sorry - I am rambling - but does this make sense?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 8:44am
Yes, it does make sense. If you start off with just telling her that you have that *gut* feeling and not about the software that may be in your favor. Then have her read the articles to support your concern.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 9:13am
No, no, no, no, no.

Never, ever, ever lie to you kids, not about important stuff anyway.

Start by telling her that you're concerned with the appropriateness of her use if the internet and your concern led you to install software that warns you if any of a list of target words are used and other automated, computer supervised scans are made of her posts, chats and e-mails (all true, unless what you installed is far off from what I've seen available in the industry).

Tell her that you are *not* reading her stuff for kicks, and that in fact, beyond a cursory glance to check for trouble, you're not going to read her stuff at all (and mean it!).

Unsupervised use of the internet is a privilege reserved for adults in our society and the internet is not to be a mechanism for allowing communication or behavior that wouldn't be allowed in any other form - that specifically includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate discussions about sex, drugs, violence and any other topic that you (the adult) deem off limits.

*THEN* tell her about the concerns you have about her activity.

Sorry for the vehemence of this post, but there's not going to be any good backout plan once one of her geeky friends finds the software on your PC and you're busted. You *must* be honest with her.

Firefly

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 12:17pm
Do what you need to do to protect your kids, but do NOT tell them you were spying on them. Like Twoki said, tell them it's parental ESP; tell them the Grandma across the street saw them & talked to you over the petunias; tell them one of the parents told you that they over heard kids talking; tell them you heard them on the phone. Kids do NOT need to know everything, and sometimes honesty is simply a way to make YOU feel better, and NOT the person you are being HONEST with. Do your kids OR your spouse REALLY need to know you slept with the neighbor? And how would YOU feel if you found out your wife hired a private eye to spy on YOU?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 8:56pm
And when they catch you in a lie, and they will, what credibility will you have when you try to teach them about trust and honesty?

Firefly

Avatar for becuzisaidso
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 9:05am
I usually just lurk on this board, but I thought I would weigh in with my advice. I you think this boy is a bad infulence on DD then you should do whatever is necessary to help her. Have you observed him acting this way in person or is all your information from the spyware? I think your goal here is to make your dd see how badly he is treating her without triggering the "my parents hate him how romantic" syndrome. Try not to let her to do things just with him but allow her to invite him over or let him come along on trips when you are going to be there. Then you can talk to her about specific incidents that occur. Something along the lines of "my goodness L. certainly was in a bad mood today.... what happened? This will allow you to get some information about how she feels about the way he acts and will plant the seed that she doesn't have to be treated in this way.

About the spy software... why did you install the software in the firstplace? Was it to protect your daughter from some unknown internet predator, or was is to get information about what is really going on so you can help her. If you installed it to get information then I would not tell her about it. She probably won't talk freely if she knows your monitoring what she's saying.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 3:27am
I think that you should trust your daughter to make her own descisions. I also think that it was very wrong of you to install Spy Software to snoop in your daughter's life. As a teen (in fact, a freshman, dating a junior) myself, I know I would be very angry and hurt if my mother was dishonest with me about something as important as that. Privacy is the most important thing to a teenage girl, and we need to learn to make our mistakes. If not for the lessons I've learned from the mistakes my parents let me make, I would not be the person I am today.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 1:08pm
Spy software doesn't keep you from making the mistakes you need to make to grow up. But it does leave a "trail of breadcrumbs" to help someone find you if you become too lost in the process.

I installed this stuff on my kids computer (actually all of them in the house - they don't know that, but then, the rule is they only use their own, so it's none of their business what I do with the others). I do disagree vehemently about not telling the kid that it's there - I think that there are going to be huge integrity and trust issues coming once this becomes known to the kid in question (and it will, it's very hard to write software that doesn't leave *some* kind of footprint on the PC). But installing it as a proxy to supervising use of the computer is fine with me. Bear in mind that as *adult* as you think teenagers should be, they are still accountable to their parents and parents still have an absolute right to know what they are doing, with whom and how. Trust isn't a right. And if you're behaving within the rules, you have nothing to worry about. If you're violating the rules, you aren't trustworthy enough to be left unsupervised. Funny how that works out.

Also, learning discretion in use of a computer is fast approaching a necessary skill in the workplace as *most* sales of these products as far as license count is to network administrators. You may be able to snow your parents into believing that you don't need to be watched and tracked in your use of the internet, but no boss is going to buy that for a second. You might as well get used to a little computer proctor looking over your shoulder when your career *doesn't* depend on your following the rules.

Firefly

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