Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's Never Been Easier to Spy On Your Children

"Spying" is a negative way to say it, but today's online parent/teacher/student communication systems make it easier than ever to know what your children are doing in school, without ever having to meet the teacher, or even speak directly to your children. Sites such as and have provided a service that some teachers and students and parents find quite valuable. For a small fee, paid by the teacher or the school, teachers can log students' assignments and in the case of, the students' actual grades onto a website that parents and students can view from home.

On one hand this is a good thing. It helps parents monitor those children who really need a little extra organizational boost. It also helps parents and students stay on top of assignments if a student is out sick. It also helps parents keep track of assignments for apathetic, chronically overwhelmed students, or students who are at risk for failing.

I can see the negatives. however. Similar to the unsettling trend of parents filling out college applications for their nearly grown kids, it can take responsibility away from children who will benefit from having it, and indeed, failing to handle it. Increasingly, children are no longer the masters of their own destinies. Helicopter parents, who just can't seem to help themselves, are micromanaging their children's academic and after school lives far past the age when they should have stopped.

Soon we will have no need for the interim report, quarterly report card, and even, communication at all between student and parent. Parental Omniscience is good when it comes to Facebook and MySpace, but should kids have a little independence when it comes to managing their school careers?