Is it OK to spy on your kids?

One of the new issues that hidden security camera technology has created is a parenting issue: is it OK to use cameras to spy on your kids? This is ultimately an issue for you to answer for yourself, because it has serious consequences for your relationship with your child. However, there are often situations where a parent would feel perfectly justified “spying” on what their kid is doing. You need to sit down and think through the consequences first, however, because this decision is one that says a lot about how much you trust your children (or don’t) and it will surely cause extreme anger with your kids if they ever find out.

The moral issues come first. Using a security camera to monitor your kids is an extreme decision. You basically only control your own house, so you could install one in your kid’s room. You should ask yourself first “is my kid really that bad?” The answer is probably no – but some kids will end up doing stupid things. If there’s a serious risk to your kid’s life or health, then you can feel much more comfortable doing it. The second thing to ask yourself is whether you actually have proof that your child has been engaging in something criminal or dangerous or whether you’re just suspicious and want to install a camera to catch them. Suspicion alone is probably not a good reason to stick a hidden camera in your child’s room. All parents have these suspicions from time to time – but if you’re wrong, you’ve just eliminated your child’s privacy on a whim. They are people too, and while you’re the parent, you also have to show them respect and care for their rights as a human being. It can be a different story if you actually KNOW that your child has been doing something. It’s hard to make the case that you are unfairly refusing to trust your child if you’ve already caught them red-handed with drugs, or if they’ve been arrested for them. In that case, they have violated your trust – and it is not unreasonable to think they might do it again.

Hidden Cameras or out in the open?

Once you’ve made your choice, you need to decide how to go about it. It might actually be better to put any surveillance system out in the open. It depends heavily on what the point of the system is. Does your kid have a problem with drugs or alcohol? A camera system probably won’t stop that, but it could keep it out of your house. And for that goal, it works better if your child actually knows about it. Something like this is probably better used as a consequence for misbehavior, not as a hidden way to uncover it. Using drugs in your house poses serious risks to your property – the government can seize it and take it away from you. If, after you have caught your child doing something of that nature, you immediately install cameras out in the open, it is much more credible as a punishment, and there is really no basis for your child to object. The likely consequence is going to be that your child just goes elsewhere to do whatever activities you’re worried about – but it will keep it out of your house. A hidden camera is much more likely to actually catch behavior on tape. But remember that if you don’t have a real basis for doing this, you could permanently damage your relationship with your child. This is a serious and drastic step to take as a parent. Some kids need shocks like this – if they’re well down the road towards an unacceptable lifestyle, some parents end up being forced to use radical measures. But remember that the vast majority of kids should never be subjected to something like this. If you’re not dead certain, it’s best just to stay away from the whole idea.

 

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