Mt. Vernon Register-News

Top News

December 23, 2013

Americans uneasy about surveillance but often use snooping tools

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Some of those who decide not to monitor family members argue that using such technologies undermines trust, effectively declaring that ordinary human connections are insufficient.

Jessica Beliveau, a junior at Broad Run High School and Julie Beliveau's niece, said she appreciates her mother Lynne's decision not to track her whereabouts. "I feel there should be some things that parents don't necessarily know," Jessica said. "And anyway, in the past, before all this technology, most kids turned out just fine."

But many parents say they would be shirking their responsibility if they did not take advantage of available technology to monitor their children's online behavior.

One mother in Ashburn who asked not to be named, to avoid embarrassing her child, said she and her husband read through their middle-school-age daughter's Facebook chat transcripts and discovered that boys had been pressuring her to send revealing photos of herself. The parents intervened and prevented a sexting incident; now, a few years later, they have decided not to monitor their daughter's Facebook account, to teach her the benefits of trust.

The struggle over just how much to watch varies from family to family, and no clear guidelines have emerged, according to school counselors. Some teens are now being monitored not only by parents but also by their schools, a few thousand of which have contracted with a California company, Geo Listening, to sift through students' social-media postings to look for potentially dangerous situations.

As attitudes shift, businesses keep coming up with new ways for consumers to keep tabs on relatives, friends and colleagues.

Although The Washington Post's poll found that only 6 percent of those surveyed use "granny cams" to monitor elderly relatives, market research indicates that the popularity of such products is likely to grow sharply. Life360, an app that allows families or friends to share their locations on their phones, has been downloaded more than 60 million times. "More children than adults say they feel safer" when their location is being monitored, said Amanda Zweerink, a Life360 vice president.

Text Only
Top News
  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Pathologist: Brown may have had his hands raised

    FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — An unarmed 18-year-old whose fatal shooting by police has sparked a week of protests in suburban St. Louis suffered a bullet wound to his right arm that may indicate his hands were up or his back was turned, a pathologist hired by his family said Monday.

    August 18, 2014

  • Police identify officer, allege teen robbed store

    FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Police on Friday identified the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager and released documents alleging the young man had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a "strong-arm" robbery shortly before he was killed.

    August 15, 2014

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • congressionaldemographics.jpg Most Republican House districts are majority-white

    Significant numbers of conservatives, and white Americans in general, admit to feeling discomfort at the prospect of a non-majority white America. These views are even stronger among Tea Party-aligned conservatives.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • unrest.jpg Why the Ferguson police-shooting riots had little to do with Ferguson

    Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. It's still unclear why tensions boiled over.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Robin Williams, manic comedy star, dead at 63

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.

    August 11, 2014

  • Walmart.jpg Welcome to Wal-Mart, the doctor will see you now

    As its retail business matures into slower growth, Wal-Mart Stores wants to disrupt another mass market: health care.

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo