The Undercover Parent’: Analysis Essay

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It is often said that spyware is an invasion of privacy however, would it really matter if it meant your child was protected and safe? When I was a child, I used to think that the world was good but times are different now and there are dangers lurking in every corner. Harlan Coben, an NYTimes best-selling author, and writer of The Undercover Parent, agrees that spyware is a good thing only if used correctly. Coben himself writes that “Trust is one thing, but surrendering parental responsibility to a machine that allows the entire world access to your home borders on negligence.” In making this comment, Coben argues that even with trust between a parent and child, there is always a loophole open for danger. He is saying that if parents don’t believe there could be anything harmful on the internet then they are neglecting their child’s safety. I agree that spyware is a good idea as it lets parents get more involved in their child’s life, however, a point that needs emphasizing is that some parents will use spyware to be intrusive and not parents. At first glance, teenagers and parents appear hesitant over the topic of spyware as it could be invading privacy but on closer inspection, it actually wouldn’t since it will only look out for possible dangers. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the safety of our children.

In the world we live in today, dangers like pedophiles and tragedies like suicides are increasing at an unsettling rate. The Trumpet, a news outlet that writes about analysis on top stories, world news, weather, economics, and society, mentions that “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports, “Best data suggests at least 100,000 American children a year are victimized through child sexual exploitation.” What if spyware allowed parents to possibly prevent tragedies and dangers like such from happening? Coben writes how, “First, we’ve all read about the young boy unknowingly conversing with a pedophile or the girl who was cyberbullied to the point where she committed suicide.” If parents had spyware, they would be able to spot situations like these and be able to assert themselves between any danger or misconception with their child. Nonetheless, isn’t it quite concerning that we’ve all heard stories like this? Our children have all gone to assemblies about bullying and the dangers of the online world but have they really worked? If spyware allowed adolescents to be exposed and involved on the internet safely, then parents should be able to use it to give them a better experience online.

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Along with that, parents should be able to trust their children and build a close relationship with them. But even so, some parents will always be kept out of the loop. Spyware can allow parents to have open conversations and allow them to grow closer to their children while protecting them at the same time. Coben writes about how, “One friend of mine, using spyware to monitor his college-bound, straight-A daughter, found out that not only was she using drugs, but she was also sleeping with her dealer. He wisely took a deep breath before confronting her. Then he decided to come clean, to let her know how he had found out, to speak with her about the dangers inherent in her behavior...She listened. There was no anger. Things seem better now.” Even though the parent found something very displeasing to him, he was still able to open a conversation and communicate with his daughter well. Imagine if parents did use spyware. They could converse a lot more with their kids and build better relationships whilst building trust which allows for even more protection.

However, most would argue that the use of spyware is an invasion of privacy to your child’s online life. It is not guaranteed that all parents will use spyware strictly for what it is meant for but for the most part, the majority will. A lot of parents do not even have the time to be nosey and snoop around every detail of their kid’s life anyways. Coben writes in his article, “Shouldn’t he learn now that the Internet is not a haven of privacy?” Most people know that the internet is not a safe place for your privacy anyways, so would it really matter if your parents saw what you do online if the internet does too?

A lot of adolescents still might be wary about the fact that if spyware is installed, parents can see what happens online. However, most parents will only look for dangers and still allow their children to have the privacy they had before. Personally, I think that spyware is a good idea as it keeps children safe whilst letting them enjoy the internet. The spyware would protect your child and bring no harm to them so what’s so wrong with it anyways? Wouldn’t you want your child safe? Or are there just no dangers online?

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The Undercover Parent’: Analysis Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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