Gadgets and solutions that allow parents to monitor their children's activity remotely are flourishing in the United States. And the emergence of connected objects and the democratization of smartphones have greatly helped the phenomenon.
Whether GPS tags integrated into clothing or accessories, software to monitor smartphones, connected watches, electronic keys to access connected locks, or connected beds and home automation services to report plugs used or lights on, parents have a real arsenal to monitor their offspring.
The central point of the majority of these devices: the smartphone which allows remote access to sensors and gadgets.
"Parents want to stay in control, it's a way for them to feel good" says professor of criminology Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.
For the youngest, it is mainly to reassure parents about the geolocation of their children. Many bracelets or accessories incorporating GPS tags are thus available on the market. Some devices even include an emergency telephone allowing the child to contact his parents via a pre-recorded number accessible with a simple button.
When it comes to adolescents, parents use more discreet means. Most of the time, these are applications installed on tablets, PCs or smartphones that allow access to photos taken, typed messages, history of searches on the web.
Some overly intrusive solutions, however, are counterproductive for parents. "If parents spy on their children, this cuts off any possibility of communication, which they must have taken a long time to build."
Sameer Hinduja therefore recommends that these monitoring systems only be put in place once the child has demonstrated that he is not to be trusted.
"It comes down to hacking the lives of your children. People should not believe that there is a gadget to help them restore trust with their children or that there is software that can make them better parents. , because there is none. "