Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’


YouTube, the new Big Brother?

In Uncategorized,YouTube Videos on December 20, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , , ,

Published by Ana Etxebarria

A couple of weekends ago, my family endured a six-hour car trip, and even though our car is not equipped with a DVD player it was made more bearable when I passed our iPads to our children. Despite being 5 and 6 years old respectively, they have already figured out how to play with them and look up videos on YouTube, so that kept them busy for a good while.

Later on, however, I found out that they hadn’t been playing or watching videos but rather taking videos! Much of it consisted of the back of my head and the conversation I was having with her father, nothing more, really. We had said nothing inappropriate, though my husband and I thought the kids were concentrated on their video games.

Those recordings made me think of two recent YouTube parenting episodes. The first was a much-publicized video showing a man, a judge by trade, beating his daughter. The victimized kid posted it to expose the abuse and prevent her sister from going through the same nightmare. It led to public condemnation of the father, who was placed under a temporary restraining order banning him from visiting his younger daughter.

The second was a cute video showing a dog responding to a toddler’s temper tantrum. Viewers can hear the mother laughing as she records the interaction. Here’s the clip:


Whereas the angry response to the first video was justified, some of the responses to the second were too harsh in my opinion.

The mother wrote a blog response that told of her shock at both the popularity of the video and, later, at the tone and content of many of the anonymous comments, including one that condemned her for doing ”nothing” as her baby cried.

Here is an excerpt from her letter:

“First I was angry – clearly this person didn’t have kids or they would know that coddling your child isn’t the answer to stopping every tantrum a 2-year-old has. I’ll let this roll off my shoulders… wait…  people think I’m a bad mom after watching this? Hold the Internet presses. We’re shutting down. No more video. No shows, no news reports. What if social services calls and says I’m raising my child incorrectly? Can I possibly defend myself?”

And the question is precisely that: Can she? Should she have to?

In the first example above, the video depicted abuse. It’s a good thing abusive parents have something to worry about but, should the rest of us be on guard, too?

More and more YouTube is part of our lives as parents. We are uploading many of the videos and soon, our children will be publicizing our daily lives, complete with our debatable parenting methods and mistakes.

What if my daughter secretly taped my bad mood this morning and emailed it around? Or, what about what I consider happy moments, such as my two children racing each other down the block? I might record that and send it to their grandparents, but if the video was passed on to YouTube, other people could anonymously criticize me for letting them run and shout. Would I have been so relaxed if I thought there was an audience?

Does the electronic age mean we should always consider ourselves parenting in public as if we were in some kind of “Truman Show” or Big Brother? If so, will that make us better parents?



Protect the online privacy of teenagers

In Security,Teenagers,Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , ,

Posted by Ana Etxebarria

When my oldest daughter turned 13, she got a brand new smartphone, signed up for Facebook and Pandora and went on an apps downloading spree. At the same time, my brand new teen lost many protections over her privacy online.
The online games she plays know her location at any given moment through her phone’s GPS technology.

She’s given my VISA card number to buy apps, iTunes has our family’s email address and everyone’s full names and Facebook knows her birth date and the school she goes to…

At an age at when I still don’t let her go to the shopping center by herself or open the door to strangers, she has a growing dossier about her habits, likes and dislikes, etc.  accumulating on the Web. And even though laws have been passed that protect the youngest of Internet users from giving away much information about themselves, once children become teens, the same privacy rules no longer apply.

Leaving aside the laws that regulate these aspects, experts on adolescent development say youths between 13 and 18 deserve special attention, and teenagers are among the most voracious and precocious users of new Internet services, constantly making grown-up decisions with grown-up consequences. However, as experts say ‘Their ability to make decisions is still forming and clearly different from that of adults.”

With few restraints, teens are creating digital records that also build their reputation offline. All the status updates, tweets and check-ins to specific locations can be reviewed by prospective employers, insurance companies and universities.

Despite Internet companies say personal data can be collected only with permission and parents can set security controls on phones and computers, the Web offers so many opportunities to share information online that teens just don’t stop to think about the consequences.

Anyway, don’t think this is something of the future. It’s the present and it’s here to stay. Becoming a controlling, paranoid mother won’t help either, as they will still have endless possibilities to access the Internet. Therefore, once again I think that the only way to get rid of these fears is to educate teenagers about the dangers posed by the online world as we have been doing forever in the offline world.

How to do this? By helping them make thoughtful decisions, giving them the confidence to turn to you if they make a mistake, and having first-hand knowledge of those sites, games and apps they love so much.

What do you think?