I remember the time I felt it necessary to search the personal space of one of my children. They had done something to break the bond of trust that we had. My suspicions were raised, and I was fearful that they were making some very bad decisions. I had, in fact, caught them doing something not allowed. Upon their arrival home, I sat down to discuss what I had uncovered. Their first defence was that they a right to privacy. As supreme ruler of my own home, I quickly dispelled any such notions and false assumptions. (There is humour in there, somewhere.) I went on to explain to my child that as a student in our school system, I could understand where they got the mistaken notion that they had yet another ‘right’. I proceeded to explain that our home was not under the ‘Charter of Rights’ because Mom and Dad had not yet ratified it.
I went on to explain a new concept. I told my child that I would ‘agree’ to allow them to have a certain privilege, but not a right. While there is nothing wrong with rights, they don’t always work within the confines of our small home. My children now understand that they will have their privacy, as long as they don’t seem to need to have any. What that means is that the moment they feel the need to hide something from me, I will probably remove the privilege of their privacy.
While I can already imagine some of our more liberal psychologists beating their warning drums, I beg to differ. Giving your children unfettered privacy is not only a bad idea, it is downright stupid. To trust a trustworthy child is wonderful, and is a great feeling. To think that they will never ever be influenced by a negative influence in the crowd is just naive. If you turn a blind eye to your children’s activities under the guise of privacy, you are playing not only with fire, but with your child’s very existence.
The argument that children need privacy is one that I do not subscribe to. I am even of the persuasion that the concept of privacy is being touted by those who would prey on our children. Of course, I don’t rifle through their things on a daily basis, but I do keep tabs. We are told time and again that our computers should be located in a highly visible area, such as the family room. Internet experts and even our law enforcement personnel have been warning parents for as long as there has been the internet that it can be a very helpful thing, and a very dangerous one. For those of you who espouse privacy, again, I say it is foolish. Can you imagine the reasons for not putting a computer in your child’s bedroom? You could probably discard all of them and call it a need for privacy.
Internet and email monitoring is now a huge industry. It is being targetted for industries, but also for parents who wish to keep an eye on their children’s activities. Again, those opposed to keeping our children safe like to accuse the rest of us of wanting to ‘control’ our children. To this I say absolutely, and I wish that more parents could control their children.
Whatever the choice, and whatever the child, we must remember that there are those who are intent on violating our most precious possessions. They do not rest, and their goal is the penetration of our defences. They feed on our children. The enemy has many names; drugs, alcohol, pornography, lust, abuse and exploitation. With or without a computer, we must diligently protect those who have come under our care. We find all sorts of ways to protect our investments, and these children are the greatest investments that we will ever have the responsibility to care for. If I had $1 million dollars in my home, I would sit on the briefcase that held it. How much more should I strive to keep my children safe?
Privacy? We’ll do what we can, but it is not the most important thing. Their safety is.