The point of this idea though is that it is almost the exact opposite of spying. Spying is gathering information in a clandestine manner. If you do this wrong, it could become that. But dome right, it is a panoptic system, which is a totally different thing.
The classic panopticon is the prison designed by Jeremy Bentham. Imagine a prison which is in the form of a large outer ring of cells, one layer deep, encircling an open inner space. In the middle of that space is a circular tower, with windows all around it. The windows are dark-tinted, so you cannot see into the tower from the outside. The point of this arrangement is that there are guards in the tower, who watch all the prisoners. Obviously the guards can't watch every prisoner every second, but they *could* be watching any of them at any time, and the prisoners never know if they're being watched or not, but they are aware that at any moment, they could be under surveillance. What happens is, you end up with a self-policing population. Prisoners are on their best behavior all the time, because for all they know, they are always being guarded.
Now, that sounds creepy, and it is the exact same system "Big Brother" uses in Orwell's 1984. Taken to these extremes, and used to control supposedly free individuals, it can be a horrifyingly effective tool of totalitarianism.
But children are not free, self-determining members of society, and they shouldn't be treated as such. Your job as a parent is to socialize them, so that they may become responsible members of your society. In that light, a tool for teaching them to be self-disciplining is a fantastic thing. What you have to do is sit down with them, explain the way the system works, and set some ground rules for appropriate content. They need to know that you expect them to behave and regulate themselves, because this is what they'll have to do for the rest of their lives-- they're supposed to be learning this in childhood. They also need to know that you're not giving them a list of prohibitions, and they will have to make decisions for themselves. If they decide to visit a site, they better be prepared to defend their actions. Another crucial lesson to learn in childhood. The point is that it needs to be clear they are being trusted, but they are also being supervised. The two are not mutually exclusive, despite popular opinion.
Your point about the boss at work doing this is a different matter. First, many businesses do use systems like this. They are paying you to do a job, and if they feel that your internet use is interfering with that, I see no reason they shouldn't use a system like this.
Second, as adults, we're expected to have already learned what is appropriate behavior. When do we learn that? When we're kids, and our parents teach us. Like it or not, teaching this requires that parents actually *do* something. Kids don't just learn responsibility all on their own, for the most part.
Hopefully this long-winded explication of my short comment in the story helps to clarify what I meant. :-)
Not the real rusty
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