WSJ Suggests Keylogging Software to Snoop on Blogging Teens

Posted on November 30, 2005

The gig may be up for teens that are trying to keep a blog secret from their parents. Lately articles have been appearing in newspaper after newspaper explaining blogs, talking about what teens say in them and linking to places where teen blogs can be found. Most likely many teens will be asked by parents if they have a blog or online diary in the near future -- if they haven't already been asked. An article in the Wall Street Journal called "Big Mother is Watching" discusses the explosion of teen blogging and how some parents are tracking their kids blogs. Here are a couple of the kids reactions upon learning their parents had read their blogs.

"MY MOM READ MY BLOG!!!" one 14-year-old wrote in July on her blog on Xanga. "My life is so over." Upon discovering a parent reads her blog, another girl using Google Inc.'s Blogger service wrote, "I think I'm going to be sick."

"My dad is a retard who ruins everything!!!!" wrote Michelle Davis recently after she found out her father read her blog. Ms. Davis, 18, says she thought her parents had no idea that her blog existed. "Once I wrote an entire post about porn," says Ms. Davis. "That's something I would never, ever say in front of my parents."

At the bottom of the Wall Street Journal article there is a special section called "Spy vs. Spy: Tools for Shadowing Teens Online" which lists methods parents can use to find kids blogs. The WSJ suggests the usual places to look for teen blogs like the blog search engines (Technorati and Google Blog Search are mentioned) and the popular teen blogging sites like MySpace, Xanga, LiveJournal and Multiply. But a more sinister paragraph suggests installing secret keystroke logging software on the teen's computer.
The most surefire -- and intrusive -- option is for parents to install special monitoring software on the home computers used by their children. Features vary among the different offerings, but most can record every keystroke a computer user types and log every Web site he visits. Many log incoming and outgoing email and instant messages and record "screen shots," or images of what the user does online.
This is not a child psychology blog but parents are probably much wiser to ask their kids questions about blogging activity then to surreptitiously install keylogging software.

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