I have just found out about a new device called “Canary” that I know some parents are finding hugely useful in tracking the whereabouts of their children in the house when they’re not in. I assume these above mentioned parents haven’t specifically told their children it’s been installed for that reason, more just for security purposes. For around £150 you can get intelligent alerts with HD video so that you can see what’s going on live in key areas of your home and take action if required. Apparently it consists of lots of little cameras strategically place around the house so that you can effectively spy on your children and know when they’re up, if they’ve eaten breakfast or are doing their homework or indeed if they are having a sneaky “gathering” when you’re not there. They become your new reliable eyes and ears. It even has night vision and you can set it up yourself and then download the app. You can also look back at 12 hours of video history. This is literally a dream come true for every parent that wants to know their children are safe when they are out of the home.
That said, I’m not comfortable with that level of surveillance. Teenage behaviour hasn’t really changed since back in the day when we had more privacy owing to a lack of social media platforms and we avoided talking on the home phone when you knew your mother or a sibling might be listening in on the other line. Teenagers today must be the world’s most tracked individuals. We know where they are if we have Find My Friends, or Find My Phone or we can look on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to find out what they’re eating, who their friends are and their whereabouts. Many of them are aware of the dangers of posting inappropriate content online and hopefully will avoid “sexting” because of the dangers of intimate photos being shared. But it is still a minefield out there – I have recently heard about an app that teenage boys are using that is encrypted where they are sharing the naked photos of their girlfriends/friends with their wider group of friends. WTF. This is totally unacceptable – not only a total betrayal of trust, but potentially hugely damaging.
We had so much more freedom to be idiots. This all pervasive surveillance drive of contemporary technology means that they have nowhere left to hide. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day soon they will all collectively put down their phones and walk out of their houses shouting “I DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW WHERE I AM FOR THE NEXT 3 HOURS” – DON’T BOTHER TO TEXT ME. I am going out to talk to my friends IRL (in real life) and I want to be alone.”
Anyway, there would be no point in me investing in house surveillance with my children. I know exactly how it would go down. I would be furiously texting them from afar:-
Me: OMG, what are you doing? Why are all those people at my house? Are you having an actual party? You have 10 minutes to clear everyone out…or else.
Them: Hi mum, or else what? Where are you, come home…it’s really fun here – come back and join us? Listen – we’ve got your favourite music playing! (much laughter as they all peer at me)
Me: There are far too many people in my house and you’re disturbing the neighbours. Turn the music off!
Them: Don’t be silly mum, it’s fine. Chillax!
They would then proceed to dance around in front of the cameras and show me their bums and/or middle fingers shortly followed by chewing gum getting strategically placed on to all the cameras so that I can no longer see what’s going on.
Much better not to know what they’re up to in your absence (but make sure you are friends with your neighbours so that they can text you when it all gets out of hand). Surely we’ve got to have some trust in our children in order to allow them the freedom to experiment without having us worried parents watching their every move from afar?
Where is it going to go next I wonder?