This Wednesday, Tim Ryan spoke with Detective Richard Wistocki, of Besure Consulting, to a crowd of concerned parents and teens. Their presentation, The Cop and Convict, aims to educate viewers on the dangers of addiction and how it can be prevented through technology monitoring.
Some of what they talked about was difficult to listen to. I could not imagine being a parent and going through my child’s phone to see what they had gotten in to. Just being in high school 5-8 years ago and experiencing what I did, I cannot imagine what the next generations of highschoolers will witness with their pocket computers.
But I could also accept the necessity of parents being more involved in their child’s technological life.
Shouldn’t my Life Be Private?
Det. Wistocki repeated throughout the presentation, “There is no such thing as privacy (regarding technology) for a child.” This was difficult for me to swallow. I like my privacy. I enjoy thinking that my conversations with friends are just between us. But, what if these conversations were harmful to me?
What if these conversations between friends were malicious without me knowing? What if these conversations were leading me down the path to addiction, and I did not even know it?
It was powerful to listen to some attendees in recovery talk about how they obtained drugs. One hundred percent of the methods they described involved some form of phone technology.
When I looked at the issue through this lens, it was easier for me to understand why parents should go through their children’s phones. However, it did not take away the cringe-factor of Det. Wistocki pulling up his child’s phone activity at that minute in front of complete strangers.
But that is when it hit me.
The activity on our phones should be innocent enough to be projected on a TV screen. Why should it be cringey to watch your phone activity in front of hundreds of people if you have nothing to hide?
I then realized what was making me uncomfortable.
An Extension of Myself
My phone has become an extension of myself. Just the thought of showing my phone activity feels like exposing what is going on inside my head. It was not just a violation of privacy, it felt like a violation of my being.
This thought frightened me, but I realized this was the purpose of this talk. No matter if we are 14, or 22, we should be using our phones in a way that would make our loved ones proud.
A Change of Heart
By the end of the presentation, my perception of children’s phone privacy had completely changed. And by children, I mean ages 18 and under. I saw first hand the dangers of having the key to world at such a young age, and how it can have horrific effects on our children.
When we look at the opiate epidemic as a whole, it can feel hopeless. However, The Cop and The Convict showed people on Wednesday night what they can do in their own homes to fight. What Tim Ryan has experienced in his lifetime due to drugs and alcohol is unfathomable, but as Det. Wistocki said, this does not have to happen, and we have the power to make it stop.