Spyware and electronic trackers are just a few ways parents can watch kids from afar these days. But not everyone agrees that surveillance is such a good idea.
Jenny Champa is 17 years old. Her mom used a tracking device to monitor her smoking. "It'll send her an e-mail, or it can page her if I'm speeding or going out of the boundary that she set for me.", said Jenny.
And everything that Amanda Bransby types online is sent to her mom via e-mail. Amanda is 13 and says, "With guys, like if they ask me sexual questions or anything and I respond back in like a sexual answer and then I remember my mom can read it."
With the click of a mouse, 12 year old Peter's mom, can check up on his grades, attendance and homework. "If I don't do it my mom will look at the homework site and I'll get in deeper trouble. So, I figure I'll just do it now and get it over with, so I can go and play, and I won't get in trouble.", Peter said.
Technology means when your kids say they're going to a friends house or that all their homework is done, you don't have to take their word for it. But experts say there is a price. If parents track kids' every move, they don't learn to make good decisions on their own.
Sherry Blake, a Psychologist, said, "We don't want them to hurt themselves, we don't want them to get into situations they can't handle, but on the other hand they need to make mistakes. If you're monitoring every move and do not allow them to make a mistake, what happens is they never learn from experience."
And mistakes, experts say, are the way we learn. Dr. Tim Jordan, a behavioral pediatrician, said, "When things happen, when kids experiment, when kids make mistakes, its an opportunity for kids and parents to sit down and talk about it. And not so much, like, don't do it cause I said so, but more about, Why? What caused you to make that decision? Why did you think you decided that? You know better than that but you did it anyway? Kids need insight into those kinds of things so they can think it through."