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You will have extended time to plan, write, and revise an argumentative essay on the topic

below. Before you begin writing, read the passage carefully and plan what you will say. Your
essay should be as well organized and carefully written as you can make it. Pay particular
attention to your THESIS, SMM (especially the Matters), and RELEVANT SUPPORT for
YOUR ARGUMENT.
Computer spyware that allows parents to monitor their
teens behavior might be scary, but its a good idea. Of
course, there is a fine line between being responsibly
protective and irresponsibly nosy. You shouldnt
monitor to find out if your daughters friend has a crush
on Kevin next door, or that Mrs.Peterson gives too
much homework, or what schoolmate snubbed your
son.You are there to start conversations and to be a
safety net. To borrow from the national intelligence
lexiconand yes, thats uncomfortableyoure
listening for dangerous chatter. Anything less would be
neglect.
Adapted from The Undercover Parent
Harlan Coben
Prompt: Explain Cobens argument, and discuss the ways in which you agree or disagree with
his analysis and conclusion. Support your position by providing reasons and examples from
your own experiences, observations, or readings.

Juliana Hwang
Mr. Girba
English 1H
May 2nd, 2016
Against Monitoring
Click. You just posted a photo with a group of friends after a school dance. The likes and
comments start coming in just as your mom shows up with her arms crossed. Of course she
knew. She has that app that notifies her if you post something, and apparently she didnt think the
photo was appropriate. This app isnt the only one of its kind. There are numerous gadgets and
software parents use to keep an eye on their childrens internet activity. According to Harlan
Cobens article, Undercover Parent, Coben argues that parents should monitor their children
using spyware to an extent; however, there are times when monitoring a child can reach a point
of being intrusive; therefore, parents should not monitor their teens internet activities to any
extent as evidenced by the results of overprotective parenting, trusting issues in parent child
relationships, and expectations of good parenting often leading to unfair treatment.
Cobens argument in the article, Undercover Parent, says that parents should use
computers to monitor their childrens online interactions. Computer spyware that allows parents
to monitor their teens behavior might be scary, but its a good idea[...] You are there to start
conversations and to be a safety net. To borrow from the national intelligence lexiconand yes,
thats uncomfortableyoure listening for dangerous chatter. Anything less would be

neglect(Coben 11). The quote describes how computer software would allow parents to oversee
their childrens behavior and create a safe environment for them. For instance, Coben mentioned
in the article about how his friend used a software called Spyware. One friend of mine, using
spyware to monitor his college-bound, straight-A daughter, found out that not only was she using
drugs but she was also sleeping with her dealer. He wisely took a deep breath before confronting
her(Coben 13). The quote illustrates an example on how Spyware benefited a friend of Cobens
as he implied that experience to his article because the program did its job, which then supports
his argument to how parents should monitor their childs behavior online with software.
One reason that parents should not oversee their childs online activities would be
overprotective parenting. According to GlobalPost, The children of overprotective, rigid parents
fail to systematically learn from their mistakes and, therefore, fail to become independent. The
stereotype is an immature adult who defers to his parents for even basic decision making and
continues to live at home well into his adulthood(GlobalPost). In the quote, it describes how
overprotective parenting causes a failure for the child to learn things by themselves due to a lack
of independence. Spywares purpose is to keep parents up to date of their childs movements
online and to make sure that what theyre searching is appropriate, yet if a childs internet
activity is constantly monitored by their parents, they would not be able to make their own
decisions and learn from their mistakes. Such errors can include an adolescent sending
inappropriate photos to a friend who eventually contacted school officials. This particular
individual would not only receive a life lesson for their mistake, but a reminder to think more
clearly when making a decision so they would not make the same mistake they made previously.
At the same time, parents are expected to know and control everything their children watch, eat,
do - where they are, who they are texting, what channels and websites they are

viewing(Goodman). This quote gives an example to how overprotective parents control their
children and prevent them from making their own decisions, which lead to effects that would
impact their lives later on. That is to say, overprotective parenting would cause a lack of
independence for the child, therefore illustrating how parents should not monitor their childs
interactions in the internet.
Another reason for parents not to monitor their childs interactions with the internet is the
trusting issues in parent child relationships. On the other side are parents such as Lori Day, an
educational psychologist and mom of a daughter in graduate school, who considers spying an
invasion of privacy and a violation of trust. I think spying on kids is wrong," said Day, author
of Her Next Chapter, a book about mother-daughter book clubs. "It's a good way of sabotaging
your relationship with your child if you get caught(Wallace 8-9). The quote explains how
spying on children is considered wrong and breaks the trust among the two. This then strains the
relationship between the child and parent. When it comes to Spyware, the parent is able to see
everything their child is doing online. For instance, an individual posts their emotions on another
person, and their parents see the post. This not only creates embarrassment for their child but the
thought that their personal information is being violated by their own parents. From posting a
status on Facebook to emailing a friend about a situation, Spyware oversees a childs personal
matters that they dont want to share. When I was a young teen, I caught my mother reading
my diary, and to this day, I haven't forgiven her for it. I don't want my children to feel the same
way about me," she said, adding that she will try her hardest to respect her children's privacy
when they get older(Wallace 11). The quote further proclaims the effects of a parent overseeing
their childs privacy, consequently showing how monitoring an adolescents online activity can
strain their relationship with parents.

A final reason for parents not to inspect their childs internet information would be the
expectations of good parenting which often lead to unfair treatment. The culture of fear,"
according to Danah Boyd, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, says
that if you are not monitoring, you are a bad parent. Apparently, we're supposed to be stalking
our kids(Goodman). In the quote, it illustrates how fear influences parents to monitor their
children, therefore creating an expectation for them to achieve but leads to something different.
In society, parents are expected to create the best environment for their children, but with
technology adapting to the generation presently, its difficult to keep track of what theyre doing.
Spyware, for instance, is one of the many softwares open for monitoring what a child is doing
online. Although it may provide a parent good insight of a childs internet activities, it twists the
parents mind to use such software vigorously. Instead of using programs like Spyware to be sure
that their children arent searching inappropriate content, theyre essentially stalking their childs
every move online and think its a good thing but really it isnt.With new technology comes
new responsibility. That works both ways. There is a fine line between being responsibly
protective and irresponsibly nosy(Coben 11). The text displays how theres a difference between
being watchful and intrusive when it comes to technology, but due to parents that use software
like Spyware, they are misconceived over what good parenting is, which exhibits how parents
should not monitor their children.
Coben argues that parents should use software to monitor their children but doesnt
consider the consequences of installing such programming. It leads off to being overprotective,
which does not the child independence to make their own decisions and learn from their
mistakes. Then comes the trusting issues between parent and child relationships. If a child were
to find out that their parents have been overseeing their online activities, the child would feel

violated and consider the parents not trustworthy. Lastly, is how the parents perceive what good
parenting is by using software such as Spyware. It may seem like a good thing to do for their
child but it really isnt because theyre essentially using the program to stalk their childs every
move. As a parent, the child should be given the right of privacy, which shows the respect and
trust the parents have for them. Yet, there are some parents that tend to deviate from that and use
parenting that doesnt benefit their child through software. That is to say, parents should not
monitor their children as shown through the results of overprotective parenting, trust issues
between a parent and child, and the expectancy of good parenting.

Works Cited
Coben, Harlan The Undercover Parent. Nytimes.com. New York Times, 16 March 2008. Web.
23 March 2015.

Goodman, Ellen. "Big Brother Meets Big Mother." The Boston Globe (Boston, MA). 2 Nov.
2007. Web. 2016.

"Side Effects of Overprotective Parenting." Everyday Life. Web. 06 May 2016.

Wallace, Kelly. "Brutally Honest: Is It OK to Spy on Your Kids?" CNN. Cable News Network,
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