...Following these events...
This friend of mine is now asking me to teach him about PC monitoring software. He knows I got to work within the Computer Security division and knows I am familiar with the technology. For those who don't know, these are sneaky programs that are installed on the PCs at work and record/report everything you do. He came with the argument that he suspects his daughter is using drugs but he is not sure and he wants to find out and intervene before is too late.
Problem is, his daughter is 19yo, an adult by legal standards. She can do with her life as she pleases (IMHO). In fact, it would be illegal for him to monitor her daughter in such a way. I told him that. He said that he believes he is in his right to monitor his PCs at his home, just as any corporation does with their employees. But IMHO, this is different... employers make you sign a paper that specifically say you will be monitored.
Then he went on attacking his daughter adulthood by saying that she is not 21, ergo she can't even marry without his consent, or buy cigarretes... etc etc etc. I replied that either way, it looks wrong to me and I'm not doing it.
I was close to just tell him to google it out... but instead I told him that finding out information that way will always do more harm than good.
I stood by my decision, I'm not helping this guy spy on his girl's life.
Later I talked with my wife about this. She agree that at this point the girl is free to do whatever she wants. My friend had 19 years to raise her, now his parent time is up and he has to deal with the results. But we are parents ourselves and inevitably we ended up trying to decide how much we will monitor our kids and for how long.
We talked about the stuff that many of our friends are now doing to monitor their teenagers. Some had placed GPS on the cars, most had given cellphones to their kids, some eavesdrop their phone conversations every now and then, most go trough their kids things and check every suspicious bags... etc etc... We found that it is a very fine line, a BIG Grey area.
Thanks God our kids are young and we still have years to hammer out a policy on this. We do agree that some monitoring is a must. But excessive intrusion could be very harmful. On one hand we want our kids to know that if they tell us they are at the movies, we will trust them. But on the other hand we don't want our kids to think they could go out drinking 4 counties away, tell us they were at the movies and get away with it.
I mention some simplified version of this story to my Mom too, trying to obtain some of her wisdom. My Mom laughed hard and said:
"Son, back in the day I didn't had all these technology you have now. But I can assure you, I ALWAYS knew what you were up to... even BEFORE YOU KNEW YOURSELF...".
So... parents of Foo and all Foosters in general. What's your opinion on teenager monitoring? Where do you draw the line (if any)? Discuss...