Spies who love you, maybe too much?

Kid News

Just for kids

June 24, 1999|By Karen Cheney

Admit it. You've snooped around in your parents' room and listened in on their conversations at least once. But you had good reason, right? You had to make sure they remembered to buy that new game for your birthday!

Well, guess what? Your parents may think they have reason to spy on you too, to poke around in your closet, log onto your e-mail account or listen in on your phone calls.

Parents who are very worried about their kids may resort to hiring a private investigator like George Scharm of Evanston, Ill. "Parents who hire me are usually concerned about drug use," says Scharm, who charges $65 an hour to trail kids. Other parents invest in equipment that can track their kid's every move.

Feeling paranoid? Well, keep in mind that parents don't usually invade their kid's space for kicks. But what if a child is up to serious trouble? In some cases, parents can be held legally responsible.

Most important, parents want to protect their kids.

That's why Kala K., 13, of Montrose, Colo., agrees that sometimes parents have to spy. "I don't think parents should be able to snoop unless they have a suspicion of drugs or alcohol -- or that their kids are into something dangerous like the teen-agers in Littleton."

But Patrick Grene, 10, of Mineola, N.Y., says he wouldn't respect his parents as much if they spied. "You might not want to listen to them" if they'd spied.

The easiest way for kids to avoid the issue is to eliminate parents' worries. "You need to be open with your parents and allow them to be a part of your life," says Gary Ingersoll, a professor at Indiana University.

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