Big Mother is Watching You

brick-house-child-locator Originally posted on In Cold Blog. 

Check out the new commercial for Duracell batteries that features an electronic BrickHouse Child Locator. The website where you can purchase this product (for a cool $189.95) hosts a multitude of other items including Nanny Cams, black boxes, GPS trackers, keyloggers, bulletproof backpacks, drug detecting equipment, cell phone spy cards, and semen tests. That’s right. You can go all CSI on your kids and test their underwear for semen.

Is this going to cut down on crime? Teenage pregnancy? Teenage drug use? Anything else we can think of? Can being under such heavy surveillance lead to children being too afraid to be out of their parent’s sight, let alone actually do something wrong? Can these devices help the police to prevent crime and catch criminals?

This bothers me not only because I’m sick of the paranoia press that wants everyone to believe that we are all going to die. Right now. What’s that over your shoulder?

Of course, the first reaction is that this is a really good idea to keep people safe. Just imagine if Caylee Anthony had had one of these devices. It would have saved a lot of volunteers from tramping around in Florida swamps. But where does it end?

First of all, using these products on teenagers is ridiculous. The kids who wouldn’t mind these devices don’t need them and the ones that do wouldn’t put up with it. Not trusting your children to the point where you want to know if they go a mile over the speed limit is going to make them more rebellious. Most teens are smart enough to catch on that mommy and daddy put a GPS device on their car. Then, all they have to do is remove it from their vehicle, attach it to a nearby Greyhound bus, and watch it drive off into the sunset.

The thought that a parent is going to rifle through their daughter’s dirty laundry to find her possibly semen-stained panties is just disturbing, not to mention passive-aggressive. The blurb on the Check Mate Sex Detection Test Kit states, “You can find out what your teen is really doing and establish and [sic] effective dialogue.” Why do you have to wait until after you think your teenager is having sex before you talk to them about it?

BrickHouse also features four individual tests that detect four types of drugs – cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and amphetamine. With these handy little tests, with results in just seconds, parents can carry out random or routine drug tests (once a week, once a month maybe?). It also might be a good idea to test your child’s friends. How do you know they’re not using drugs? They could start your little angel down the slippery slope of addiction until they’re playing Heroin Hero in their underwear.

But what happens if you find out that your child has been using drugs? Do you turn them into the police? Is it illegal if you don’t?

Another disturbing thing about the site is that when sorting the products on the basis of age the final one is 14-21. Twenty-one. Three years past the age when kids are legally declared adults and can vote for the President of the nation and parents still want to spy on them.

How are teenagers supposed to become adults and take on responsibility for themselves and their own actions when there is always someone looking over their shoulder? How much stress would a child be put under knowing that their parent can track their every move? How many people have done something silly that they have been able to learn a lesson from and didn’t need a lecture from their parents about how silly it was?

This statement capitulates exactly what’s wrong with this picture: “Parents are becoming less and less involved in their teenager’s lives. Without your guidance and supervision, could your teen be experimenting with sex or drugs?” Actually spending time with your kids might be a better idea than spying on them. Why not talk to your children about real life issues instead of waiting until they happen, tracking them down, and lecturing them?

Then there’s the undeniable fact that you don’t have to use these items on kids. Do you think your other half is cheating? Do you think that one of your friends is using heroin? Do you want to know where your ex is at all times? These products can be used on anyone at anytime for any reason or for no reason at all. These are the tools that stalkers have been waiting for. Seriously, would you want someone tracking you down?

Again I ask, where does this end? Is safety more important than privacy? Are all people, no matter what they do, going to be monitored like criminals? Will this cause more problems than it solves?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who give up their liberty for some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” All I can say is welcome to 1984, it’s double plus good.

 

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