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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 lexicon
and 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.

Emily Solomon
English 1H per. 6
Mr. Girba
2 May 2016

Quarter 4 Argumentative Essay: Spyware

"Girl, kill yourself. Why are you still alive? You are so ugly. Rebecca Sedwick, an eleven-year-old girl from
Florida, received those mean, hurtful, tormenting and embarrassing messages on her social media. They would
ultimately lead her to jump off of her town's water tower to her death. (Trisha Prabhu) Cyberbullying can be
stopped, and the first step to stopping this negative atmosphere is to monitor the children using it. Undercover
Parent written in 2008 by Harlan Coben, Coben argues in this article that loving responsible parents will be able
to protect and monitor their childs internet use by installing the spyware on computers and devices. Parents
should protect and monitor their children in a responsible, loving way by using spyware. Parents use spyware so
that they can monitor their child, make the internet safer than it is, and help their child make better decisions.
Harlan Coben asserts his position on spyware by giving examples of children whose parents have used
spyware, and persuading the parents to talk to their children about it. Coben affirms his understanding to the
audience, making sure they understand as well, If you put spyware on your computer, you have the ability to log
every keystroke your child makes and thus a good portion of his or her private world (2) This quote directly
explains Cobens intense admiration for spyware. Due to the fact that spyware gives parents the ability to
observe, and log every keystroke their child makes then the parents are, repelled at this invasion of privacy,
(1). Coben believes that, most parents wont even consider it, (3) but through research he has come to the
conclusion that spyware will make a positive change to the internet world, and hoped to change the minds of the
parents that felt that it was a lousy idea. Coben continually argues the position that spyware is a worthy software
to use for parents to be able to monitor their childs internet use without stalking them.

He persuades his

audience that spyware is not an awful thing by making the audience, the parents, realize that they wouldnt be
stalking their child, but just checking up on them. Maybe its the word: spyware. But this isnt the government
we are talking about this is your family. Its a mistake to confuse the two. Loving parents are doing the
surveillance here, not faceless bureaucrats. And most parents already monitor their children, watching over their
home environment, their school, (Coben 4). Coben argues this position, a position in which he argues that
parents are not like government people, they do not spy on people, they dont stalk one another, they nearly just
observe, and monitor. Coben wanted his audience to note this so that the children knew that their parents who
are monitoring them out of love instead of like a government who would show no mercy. All of this comes from
a soft heart, because a parent wants their child to stay on track to do great things. By monitoring a child's
internet use a parent shows that he or she cares for that child. It is hard to be a parent, to have to give
consequences, to discipline, to ensure safety, but spyware can help with all of this. Parenting has never been for
the faint of heart. (11) Coben knew that parenting was never meant to be an easy job, and he now knows
through his research, that if one really wants to be able to monitor their child's internet use then they can use
spyware. The author argues that spyware is good for parents to use in order to be able to monitor their child's
internet use.
Seeing eye to eye with Coben, one could conclude that spyware is really the most efficient software to
monitor a child. A parent must learn to what extent to use spyware. Coben explained that a parent is to use
spyware to observe not to stalk, There is a fine line between being responsibly protective and irresponsibly
nosy. (11) This quote from the article is trying to tell parents that spyware is there for them to get basic
information, not for them to go down so deep that they ruin their relationships with their children because they
were to nosy. That will happen to a child and parent relationship if the parent is too intrusive. It is important for
parents to understand the difference between these two phrases, responsibly protective and irresponsibly nosy.
When a parent is being responsibly protective, they use spyware when they want to figure something out that
their child isnt telling them about it, but when they find this information, they confront their child. For example,
Coben explains an instance when a responsibly protective parent came into play, and helped their child out, 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. Then
he decided to come clean, to let her know how he had found out, to speak with her about the dangers inherent in
her behavior. Hed had these conversations before, of course, but this time he had context. She listened. There
was no anger. Things seem better now. (13). This father showed a great example of how to be a responsible
protective parent using spyware. He found out what happened to his daughter, confronted her for what she had
done, and talked to her about how he found out, and the dangers. Confronting a child will show them that
someone cares about them. When a child knows that their parent cares about them and their decisions that they
make, then their is no need for them to have to worry about their parents using spyware. A responsible parent will
talk to their children about how they got the information that they did, why and the dangers of it. A parent who is
irresponsibly nosy would keep the spyware a secret, and watch their child from behind their backs. Nobody likes
to be watched without knowing. When an irresponsibly nosy parent gets too far then it will result in ruined
relationships, and the child would never want to trust the parent again. Spyware is to be used by the responsibly
protective parents who will talk to their children instead of using it behind their backs. Do you tell your
children that the spyware is on the computer? I side with yes, but it might be enough to show them this article,
have a discussion about your concerns and let them know the possibility is there. (Coben 15) Acknowledging
Cobens argument, one can conclude that spyware is a great tool to use with your child, and not against your
child.
When a responsible parent uses spyware, a child can not get around the safety of the software. Coben
expounds on the fact that many children at this day and age know how to get around parental codes, some will
say that its better just to use parental blocks that deny access to risky sites. I have found that they dont work.
Children know how to get around them. But more than thatand this is where it gets toughI want to know
whats being said in e-mail and instant messages and in chat rooms. (7) It is easy for kids to get around parental
blocks in order to connect to an inappropriate site. Children know how to do this as well as in e-mails, and in
chat rooms, but with spyware, there is no escaping the truth. In private chat rooms a lot of inappropriate stuff

could be going on, cyberbullying being one of them. If a parent had access to these chat rooms then they would
be responsible enough to talk to their child about it and make them understand why that saying offensive things
on the internet is dangerous. Kids also tend to talk to strangers on social media without even noticing. By the
time they know that it wasnt that fourteen year old girl, for example, theyve already met, and the child was
kidnapped all because the child thought he/she was making a new friend, and getting close to them. A parent
could easily stop their kid from falling into trouble if they would monitor them. Using spyware is extremely easy
for a parent to tell who the child is talking to, and if that child is talking to someone that the parent does not
know then the parent should confront them about it There are two reasons for this. First, weve all read about
the young boy unknowingly conversing with a pedophile or the girl who was cyber bullied to the point where she
committed suicide. Would a watchful eye have helped? We rely in the real world on teachers and parents to guard
against bulliesdo we just dismiss bullying on the Internet and all it entails because we are entering difficult
ethical ground? Second, everything your child types can already be seen by the worldteachers, potential
employers, friends, neighbors, future dates. Shouldnt he learn now that the Internet is not a haven of privacy?
(Coben 8-9). Coben explains the dangers of the internet, and that the internet really isnt a safe place. Spyware
will help parents be able to make the internet more safe, by monitoring their children. Coming to terms with
Coben, a responsible parent has the ability to stop the cyberbullying, or help the defenseless. Spyware has the
ability to be used for something that many people have tried to stop before, but havent been successful.
Cyberbullying is a big issue, and when a parent uses spyware, they are able to see every conversation, text, post,
etc. and this changes the child's capacity to get away with the offensive words. Spyware conveniently helps
parents monitor their children, and make the internet more safe with it installed.
Some may believe that spyware is "an invasion of privacy and a violation of trust" (Wallace, 8), however
blindly trusting a child is neglecting the responsibility a parent has. Giving a child too much trust is irrational and
naive. A parent should never trust their young child to use the internet and know all of the dangers of it. A child
learns by good example, and children learn better if they know that their teacher loves them. The adolescent
brain is likened to a car with no breaks."High speed. No pausing. No thinking. No considering. We just act. So

why is it like that? Our brains are kind of weird. They develop from the back to the front, which means that our
front part of the brain is not fully developed until age 25. Why is that a problem? Well, prefrontal cortex controls
decision-making skills, rash, impulsive decisions, spur-of-the-moment feelings. So, that's why adolescents don't
think before they act. They just go ahead and do something, (Prabhu) Prabhu is stating that young children and
teens brains are not fully developed, so they cant make rational decisions. Giving too much trust to a child
would be naive because these kids arent able to make the best decisions. They have a lot to learn, and dont fully
comprehend the dangers of the internet. Spyware would come in handy with this, because children all feel
intitiled to the trust of their parents, but it doesnt work like that because kids have not experienced enough to
know all the dangers. Coben suggests that leaving the responsibility to a child to know the dangers of the internet
is a bad idea, Trust is one thing, but surrendering parental responsibility to a machine that allows the entire
world access to your home borders on negligence. (6) A child can never know all of the dangers of the internet,
it is to hard for them to comprehend. This is why a parent needs spyware. Spyware gives the parent the ability to
let their child the freedom of the internet, while the parent is monitoring what they are doing and making sure
that they are doing everything right. A parent neglecting their child is just showing the child that they dont
really care about them, and the child will just reject the parents and not listen to them. Using spyware on the
computer would grant the parent and child a good relationship, because it shows that the parent cares about the
child and doesnt want anything to happen to him/her.
Coben shared his inspirational thoughts to readers about the importance, and greatness of spyware. Parents
use spyware so that they can monitor their child, make the internet safer than it is, and help their child make
better decision. Responsibly protective parents, not irresponsibly nosy parents should install spyware because it
helps the parents monitor their children. It helps the children to think if what they are doing on the internet is
right or wrong. When parents install spyware it brings up the chance that they could stop cyberbullying. If a
parent can see all that their child says on the internet, then the parents would know if their child is saying
offensive words to other children. Finally a parent can not trust a child to know the dangers of the internet, or
how it can harm them and others. Therefore, it is important for these parents to install spyware because it will

help them to monitor their child and how they are using the internet. Fundamentally, spyware needs to be
installed in everyone's computers and or devices, because it helps parents monitor their children, it reduces
cyberbullying, and it teaches kids to think twice about posting something.

MLA CITATIONS
Coben, Harlan. "The Undercover Parent." New York Times 16 Mar. 2008. Print.
George, Donna St. "Parents Investigated for Neglect after Letting Kids Walk Home Alone." 14 Jan. 2015. Print.
Prabhu, Trisha. "ReThink Before You Type." TEDxTeen. We Are Family Foundation, 2016. Web. 2016.
Quain, John R. "Should You Spy on Your Childs Cell Phone Use?" 7 Nov. 2012. Print.
Wallace, Kelly. "Brutally Honest: Is It OK to Spy on Your Kids?" CNN. Cable News Network, 13