I’m rather concerned about the media attention being given to the Rotorua Coroner’s suggestion that parents should install spyware on their children’s phones. Spyware isn’t the answer to bullying. Youth suicide is a tragedy and there is much more we can be doing to support young people to prevent suicide.
Having parents monitor emails, call history, location and text messages doesn’t build trust between parents and children. Children being bullied need someone to talk to about the problem. We need to be supporting parents and schools to develop skills to watch for signs of bullying and enable them to able to talk about it. This won’t involve increasing student teacher ratios but will mean investing in our education system.
The application – cited in the National Radio story – is for android phones only so wouldn’t be available for all phones like the article suggests. While I am sure there are other options for other smart phones I would have thought that smart phone penetration amongst teens was fairly low. Does anyone know of any figures for this? If they are talking about an implementation on the carrier (Telecom/Vodafone/2degrees) side there are of course other barriers. With SIM cards being so cheap now days monitoring on the carrier side is impractical – it doesn’t take much to buy a new SIM. I will await with interest the announcement that Telecom was suggesting (in the Morning Report story) would occur in the next few months.