YOU MIGHT BE BEING PARENT STALKED

Think that getting a virus on your computer when you’re online is the only risk? Think again, because there’s a good chance that your parents are tracking your every move through stalker apps

Do you think of smartphones and social networking as the things that make your generation cool? You probably even smirk at your parents’ (and their whole generation’s) naivety when they can’t figure out how the latest app works. But did it ever occur to you that the tech-unsavy image of your parents might be merely a facade? Yes, you can stalk your ex, your crush and your enemy online, but looks like technology has also enabled your parents to stalk you as well. Not only have mommy and dad they become tech-savvy, but they actually have a whole science which guides them in `managing your online reputation’. It’s called digital foot print management, and if your parents can read, they are probably pros at it by now.

GOOGLE ALERTS
Google’s almost like your buddy, right? From school assignments to sitcoms and even relationships, it’s been with you through thick and thin. But beware, because it looks like it’s also getting chummy with your parents now. A Mom, says, “I was reading about the necessity of keeping a tab on your kids online and I thought it made sense, given the number of teenage cyber thefts and crimes we keep reading about. I really liked the idea of subscribing to Google Alerts for your kid’s name. So I put an alert for my 16-year-old son’s name, and found out that he has a poetry blog where he writes about some girl who is too good for him. I also found out that he is pretty active on Twitter and tends to make politically incorrect statements at times. I have been trying to talk to him about both things indirectly, because telling him explicitly would be like killing the hen that lays golden eggs.”
Another mother of a 16-year-old, says, “Last month, a girl in my daughter’s school attempted suicide because some boy she had been talking to online turned out to be a 40-year-old man. I got to know about this because the mothers of my daughter’s schoolmates were discussing it at the bus stop. Through that conversation, I found out that many mothers get regular Google Alerts for their kids’ name to be better prepared in guiding their kids. Since I activated the alerts, I have found out that my daughter is obsessed with the idea of artistes’ suicide. I am going to keep a check on that.”

TRACKING APPS
Apps like MamaBear, FB Stalker, Background check and FearNoMore let parents keep a tab on their kids’ conversations as well as posts online. While apps like MamaBear work only if the kids’ phone has a version of the app installed, other stalkingtracking apps work without the kids’ knowledge. A mother of an 11-year-old, says, “I have installed MamaBear and Stalker on my phone. I installed MamaBear on my daughter’s phone too. I am posted on everything my daughter does online posting pictures, following people, writing status messages and even chatting. I think it was important for me to do that because if technology is allowing random people to stalk somebody’s kid, the only way we can watch out for them is if parents keep a track of their children’s online activities. Through these apps, I have found that my daughter’s friends use cuss words and already have boyfriends, so now I am better placed to ensure that she doesn’t become like them.“

FAKE PROFILES
Did you recently accept a friend request from a stranger who knows just what you like and has been showing interest in your personal information? It could be your mom! A mother of a 15-year-old, says, “I had heard that teenagers are quick to accept friend requests from strangers with appealing DPs and online descriptions, and I used to think that my daughter would be wiser, but apparently, I was wrong. All I had to do was create a profile with her favorite Hollywood actor’s picture as the DP , and the description said that if you are this actor’s fan and want to share secrets about her, add me. She added me within seconds. I had mixed feelings because I had sent her a friend request from my original account months back, and she still hasn’t accepted it. Now, I get to see all her status updates, friend list additions as well as DP updates, so I can keep a track of her activities online. What worries me is that I asked her for her phone number through that profile, and she gave it to me instantly.”
A brother of a 17-year-old, says, “My younger brother’s always online on one social network or the other. My dad doesn’t even have a Facebook profile for himself, but he created a fake one just to keep a check on him. He used the first name of the girl he had sensed my brother really liked, and my brother accepted the friend request. He kept chatting with my dad, thinking it’s someone related to that girl, for a long time about how he really likes her, and if the fake profile is her alternate profile or her BF’s profile, `she’ should tell him. My dad finally sat him down one day and talked to him about how he looks like some majnoo and how he shouldn’t be so filmi about his crushes. I’m glad I was smart enough to not accept requests from strangers.”