Me and my (online) shadow

Once, when I was in tenth grade, my mother walked into the bathroom while I was showering to tell me that I had a phone call. She handed me the cordless phone through the shower curtain and laughed her way out of the bathroom. I told the caller (my friend Monica) that my mother was crazy and I would have to call her back.

To this day, I am not sure if that brilliant move was retaliation for something I did as a child (if so, sorry, Mom), or if it was just another version of my Mom's sense of humor (if so, thanks, Mom...I guess). Either way, I am happy that her bursting into the bathroom with the phone was the extent of her actively invading my privacy (that I know of).

But then again, Mom didn't have access to Mevoked, a Chrome extension that tracks your child's mental health. The extension looks for online usage patterns in children's behavior (think web browsing, social media use and time spent online) to alert parents to a decline in overall mental health. The company doesn't want to replace parental communication with children, rather it wants to alert parents to the behaviors that aren't always visible - the venting and other emotions that children often only unleash online.

Although Mevoked comes from a good place, I can't help getting a bit creeped out by this. I've talked about how some modern technology feels like we are stalking our children before, but this is taking the conversation a step further. We're not just talking about gathering data, but learning, too. Much like Netflix, the more you use the Mevoked, the better it "understands" your child. Parents can access reports and flag content they want the program to disregard.

As a parent, I have no privacy. I get that. I am used to my son barging in on me while I get dressed/shower/use the bathroom/sleep. (We are trying to teach him to knock with variable degrees of success.) I also know that I am sensitive to his privacy in general (which is one reason why we don't do Elf on a Shelf in our house). But he's only three, and I am sure that Big Brother will have something equally diabolical if not worse by the time he is a teenager and actively ignoring me. 

What I want is to hear from the parents who like the idea of this application. Would you consider using it to keep your child's mental health in check?

2 comments:

  1. While I'm a firm believer in "knowledge is power", I wouldn't use this service. I'd worry that I'd rely to heavily on it and not see other signs. Just me.

    Thanks for the note on the Mom Bloggers Club. I'm leaving the country tomorrow for 4 months but will be back and active in April.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    http://www.journeysofthezoo.com

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    1. Thanks for chiming in - I am sure that the service would make some parents happy and others worried. I suppose it is all based off your parenting style. Have a great time on your trip - can't wait to read the details when you return!

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