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Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

Posted October 21, 2008 12:01 AM by Jaxy

Ford is featuring MyKey in many of its 2010 models. This programmable ignition key contains a microchip which the car senses and uses to provide multiple safety features. For example, there will be a six- second alarm that sounds every minute you don't fasten your seat belt. For parents, there's also the option of limiting the audio system. To make matters worse for teens, Ford's MyKey also limits driving to less than 80 mph.

Maybe it's just the kid in me that thinks MyKey is a horrible idea, but I know there are other flaws with it, too. Specifically, Ford MyKey seems like another replacement for good parenting. If parents don't teach their kids what is right – and by example - what will stop young drivers from speeding when they get out of their teen years? By suppressing their freedoms with MyKey technology, will teenagers become more resilient when they get older and demand their freedoms back?

By not driving over 80 mph, you could be put into unnecessary danger. Say you are passing a slower driver. From over a hill comes a car in the opposite direction. You are almost past the slowpoke, but you can't accelerate fast enough to pass before the other car hits you. Of course, a valid alternative is to slow down and get behind the car once again. But what if there was another car behind you that pulled up and was also in the process of passing? Some would reason that passing a car is a risk that teenagers shouldn't take, but that doesn't teach them much. At times, exceeding 80 mph can avoid accidents almost as well as receptive braking.

As much as MyKey sounds like a good idea, parents who opt for a high-tech nanny won't be doing their kids a favor. Giving teenagers freedom doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to disobey you consistently by speeding or not wearing seat belts. Ford MyKey should be a last-ditch effort to correct bad behavior, such as by constantly getting speeding tickets. It's shouldn't be a substitute for parenting.

Ford MyKey leaves a few questions unanswered:

· Does this key make parenting (or at least back-seat driving) obsolete?

· While MyKey may improve teen behavior behind the wheel, will the lessons learned carry through after teenage years?

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27053080/

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#1

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/21/2008 2:40 AM

Ah, the old I need to go faster argument...it doesn't really hold water. One has to drive within the performance of the vehicle. You know it doesn't go over 80 so it's no good pulling out on the brow of a hill hoping that a good fairy will suddenly allow you vehicle to go supersonic if you get in trouble.
There is much to be said for making kids drive slower cars... all us OFs who learned to ride on motorbikes and scooters learned the hard way how to respect the limits of the vehicle and the fricton of the road surface.

Kids should buy their own cars anyhow...if they have to save up for an old banger and then maintain it they might learn more...parents who buy their kids overpowered sports cars are asking for trouble....
Daddy should take her T-bird away

Del

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/21/2008 10:26 AM

This is much bigger than the 'I need to go faster' argument. This blog was more focused on how parents are putting unnecessary limits on their kid (I stress the word 'trust'). Just because a kid CAN go over 80 mph, doesn't mean they will if given the opportunity. I can count on one hand how many times I have gone over 75 mph in my parents cars. The same for in my own car.

While like I said, my reasons for driving over 80 mph are plausible, I still think that this is an unnecessary limit. This should be a punishment for parents to put on their kids for something like too many speeding tickets, not a first reaction to replace parenting. I understand that while having your kid driving without you in the passenger seat is just as scary as being in the passenger seat teaching them how to drive sometimes, it does not justify placing unnecessary restrictions on them. Plus, this key seems to only be a temporary solution anyway. My experience is that when kids are prevented from doing something, as soon as they get that freedom, they will run away with it.

These days, most kids have after school activities and clubs and sports, so it is hard for parents to cart them to and from school. The first opportunity for parents to let them do it for themselves so they have more time, they will take it. It isn't convenient anymore for teenagers to buy their own cars right after they get their license, when it is more cost-efficient for them to borrow their parents car. And most of the parents who buy their kids amazing power cars more than likely already have spoiled kids that think they are impenetrable (both by harm and by the law).

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/21/2008 12:45 PM

And you think the fluffy cat avatar will convince me ?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/21/2008 6:21 PM

Maybe. Is it working?

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#5

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 1:03 AM

Maybe it's just the kid in me- "Good Point"- that thinks MyKey is a horrible idea, but I know there are other flaws with it, too. Specifically, Ford MyKey seems like another replacement for good parenting. If parents don't teach their kids what is right – and by example - what will stop young drivers from speeding when they get out of their teen years? By suppressing their freedoms-"Rubbish"- with MyKey technology, will teenagers become more resilient-"rebellious"- when they get older and demand their freedoms back?

(Contradictory argument put forward). On the one hand the "Ford MyKey" is inhibiting the little darlings rights & on the other hand the parent through training and guidance ultimately achieves the same out come.

Consider for a moment a wise and responsible parent who considers both the need for the teenager to grow up responsibly and on the other hand to put temptation out of the way by ensuring that there precious bundle of love, does not succome to peer pressure and laps of sobriety of mind. So rather puts in to place the necessary safe guards that may be required. This may be one of these safeguards.

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#6

Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 3:32 AM

Nonsense all. Restricting speed for new drivers is a good idea...likely to be adopted widely. There is nothing unsafe about not exceeding that speed. In the hands of certain youth speed (and vehicle use) restriction will prove a life saver...and a control on hormonal and immaturity driven impulsiveness in spite of the best of parenting. It is a rare example of technological inventiveness being put to a genuine, society/family serving good use...finally.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 9:22 AM

Warning - another major pet peeve of mine - please do not take this personally!!

So, now that the speed issue for new/young drivers is settled, what is the next area of personal responsibility that we will mandate out of existence?

Oh, I know, fast food is bad. Let's outlaw all those burger joints in the name of public safety!!

</sarcasm>

Hooker <- in one of those moods

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#8
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Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 9:34 AM

I have no gripe with young nutter drivers killing themselves... so they should be allowed unlimited motor bikes.

It's just that, give 'em a fast car they tend to kill other people.
Mind I s'pose that's how you distinguish between another minor accident and a major one
.
..
...
It's major if you are related to one of the victims.

Regarding the burger joints...I don't think the obese kill too many innocent bystanders, unless they roll on 'em .

Del

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 10:15 AM

Perhaps if parents taught their kids to respect them these days, kids wouldn't be so bratty or spoiled enough to disobey their parents. Perhaps at this day and age, these limits are necessary, but I can guarantee that these devices were less useful when kids knew that if they disobeyed a quick kick up the... would be in store for them.

If a parent teaches their child right, there is absolutely no reason for them to force this technology on them. But when both parents work all day and have no time to help their child develop, where is the parenting? It is just not there. For those parents, sure, the mykey is a good idea. But that is no reason for technology such as this to EVER replace parenting.

Technology should never be used as a parenting tool. I would like to see this technology used in consequence, not as an immediate parenting tool.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 10:21 AM

I agree that the young can be wreckless if not forced to be responsible. Just to point out, the old can be just as wreckless, not in that the speed or whatnot, but because they go too fast for their reflexes and that can be just as dangerous.

Also, obese may not kill other people, but if they have kids, their habits are usually pushed on their kids. Sometimes you see the occasional obese person in a family, but I am usually seeing families of big people. While the effects may not be immediate, they can be just as deadly in the long run.

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#11

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 10:21 AM

I don't think MyKey necessarily makes parenting obsolete. My thought is that if the parents buy their child a car (must be nice), then I don't think it's too shocking that some would want this feature. It's not as though MyKey would be the thing to teach kids to drive - that would still be done by the parents or school. Rather, MyKey could ensure that the teenager is correctly using the information they learned.

To this day, when my Dad rides in my car, he grips on to the door handle and says stuff like "Kate, hey - are you going to slow down?" Backseat driving is beyond annoying to me, and is nearly as annoying as an alarm going off.

While MyKey may improve teen behavior behind the wheel, will the lessons learned carry through after teenage years?

I'm not sure, but I think the lessons could stick. Some people will always be reckless, and those people will surely find a way around these limitations/alarms. But, think of how many things we do instinctively once we get in the car. I know that I personally always buckle-up (it's a law in NYS) and I always make sure I can see well enough before moving, which is hard in the winter!

Overall, I think it depends on the family. Some kids won't need the speed limit or alarm features because they will already be driving responsibily. Other kids, as I mentioned, will find a way around these things. But, if the parent is buying the car for their kid, then the recipient should be happy with whatever it is. Not being able to go over 80mph sucks, but hey - it's a brand new car! However, if I was a parent, I probably wouldn't get this kind of vechile for my child because I would hope that they would be responsible enough to drive safely enough without my supervision. It is my thought that if a child is not responsible enough to take care of themselves and their own safety, then maybe they shoudn't be driving in the first place.

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#12

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 10:40 AM

What about bad parents - who don't know they are bad? And what about peer pressure (other people's kids so you can shift the blame)? If you give someone a car that will exceed 80 or 100 they will exceed 80 or 100. Responsibility comes with age, kids are kids and if you think they are missing out remember most cars in the old days were lucky to hit 80. My dad didn't speed (and was a professional driver for part of his life) but I did. The difference between speeding at 80 (which is still an illegal speed, over there and here too) and speeding at 100 is quite significant. Added to that there are far more cars around these days - and with poorer drivers with less patience this restriction is a good thing.

I suggest choosing the valid alternative and slow down, stories of accelerating out of trouble abound in pubs.

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#13

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 10:53 AM

This is an interesting concept. My (fairly new) car does beep at me rather annoyingly if I don't put my seatbelt on. If I've stopped at the end of the driveway to pick up the mail and don't want to put it on to drive up to the house, so be it - I don't want to be beeped at over it! It also, however, beeps at me to warn me about potentially icy roads - something I think is rather nice.

My aunt forbade my cousin from listening to the radio while driving when she got her license. The rule stuck while they were in the car together, but when my cousin was driving solo or with friends, forget it! Just as teens have found a way to hack around just about every type of technology out there, I'm sure they'll soon find a workaround for MyKey.

If parents really don't want their kids being distracted or driving too fast, they simply shouldn't allow them to be driving until they think they're mature enough to handle such temptations (although in a lot of cases, I think many adults would still be license-less). I think, though, that many parents just put kids behind the wheel so they don't have to play taxi anymore.

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#14

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 11:10 AM

Personally, my take on this is simple. If you don't think you can trust your kid to drive your automobile responsibly, you have NO business giving them keys. Period.

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#15
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Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 11:32 AM

Ah...that has the prime engineering virtue of simplicity...I like it.

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#16
In reply to #8

Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 11:36 AM

In "general", I agree. Crazy drivers tend to harm other than themselves. But you can't limit that to the young or inexperienced. You also have to include the stupid in there somewhere. And examples of stupid abound.

Also, airplane drivers have been known to kill others because of risky/poor/stupid decision making. Train drivers do the same, not to mention truck drivers. These categories tend to be highly trained and even restricted and regulated but they still kill other people. And, if I had the time, I could list many more examples.

My point is that for every restriction we come up with, particularly using "mandate and forget" technology, we are limiting freedoms to a vast majority of other people that would not abuse the freedom.

I'm a biker. I've actually seen a legislative body debate the merits of putting seat belts on motorcycles to protect us from ourselves. It took a major outcry and even some dire threats to get that idea chucked out. Don't even get me started on helmets!!

BTW, the argument about the "obese" is that they tie up expensive medical resources that could be better utilized.

Sooooooooooo, let's quit fooling around. Mandate everyone be a vegan and limit daily calories.

Hooker <- who suddenly developed a craving for french fries ( Chips, to y'all. )

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#17
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Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 11:49 AM

Some fair points but probably not backed up by statistics.
The numbers killed on the roads are so high, no one bothers reporting them....hence my tongue in cheek observation about 'major' accidents.

Although with an ageing population maybe we should be looking at them too, but I think there has already been a thread on that.

To be fair, I'm probably just being argumentative (moi!) 'cos I don't actually buy the 'speed kills' stuff, it's usually other factors (IMHO) like lack of experience, driving too close, overtaking in a dangerous situation, getting distracted etc
If cars all had the driver sitting right at the front with a very thin glass windscreen in front and a clear view of the road surface, no bumpers (fenders), everyone would stop tailgating which is major cause of accidents...Ah that begs the question has ABS impoved safety or not?...I dunno.
Del

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#18

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 12:09 PM

I think the whole idea is moot. The kid could find a hack for it before it's been in your driveway for 10 minutes.

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#19
In reply to #15

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 12:46 PM

Thanks for the concurrence. Teenagers are risk takers. I know, I was once one too. I still take risks but they are a bit more measured now. We don't let our offspring drive our vehicles other than the supervised training under the learner's permit. Once they are licensed, they have to buy their own vehicle and insure it themselves. We will help with advice and repairs but we believe they learn responsibility by doing it themselves. A neighbor down the street bought two used, modest (Chevy Cavaliers) cars for her two sons. Nice four-door sedans, recent vintage, reliable, not too fast or powerful, not flashy, but inside of a few months, they have both been totaled. This is a oft-repeated story. We usually hear about the well-heeled offspring receiving a brand new (Lexus, BMW, etc) and wrecking it, but it happens to ordinary folks who think they are doing their kids a favor by helping them with cars.

There is also another aspect to this that many parents probably don't understand. When their child is driving their car on the parents' insurance, if there is a terrible accident and the child is at fault, the insurance company will pay up to the policy limits, no more. Other than that, the parents' assets are now at risk if the damages exceed the policy limits. So, are you willing to bet your house, your savings accounts, and your tangible assets that your kid won't have an accident? If the child is the policy holder on the insurance for that vehicle, then only the child's assets are at risk.

The insurance companies lawyers will only "defend" you up to the point of economic return. If you have a $50,000 liability limit on your policy, the insurance company will not spend $100,000 in lawyers expenses. They will simply pay the $50K and leave you to defend yourself against damages exceeding the $50k. It doesn't take much hospital time to rack up $100K plus in medical costs. And we won't even begin to address the pain and suffering, lost wages, etc that juries only seem to be all to willing to award to the aggrieved.

What we should take away from this is, make sure your policy limits make it desirable for the insurance company to pay its high priced lawyers to defend you in court.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 12:53 PM

"We don't let our offspring drive our vehicles other than the supervised training under the learner's permit. Once they are licensed, they have to buy their own vehicle and insure it themselves."

I couldn't agree more. I've done the same with my kids. When they've put in many hours of work to pay for it themselves, they have a much greater respect for the car, and how they drive it.

You can tell right away who bought the car. If the kid did, it's all waxed up and clean inside and out. If the parent bought it, it usually likes like crap.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 1:16 PM

I can say the same for the opposite, however. When I got my license, I didn't have the money to buy a car. At that point, I am sure many would have said tough luck. But I had to go to clubs, sports and practice which would have burdened my parents more. Hence, I had to use my parents car, both of which I loved dearly. I drove it carefully, knowing that one slip up, one crash and I would have been in deep trouble courtesy of my father. I never went anywhere with it without approval of my parents. I also was responsible for cleaning the interior (and my father would clean the exterior). My father showed me how to clean the leather in the cars properly. I can't say that this is the path for every kid, but my parents made it a learning experience without getting my own car.

I have a great respect for my parents and everything they own. Not every teenager will say that about there parents and those are the kids that need to earn it on their own. But I would say, that for those that respect cars and have the responsibility to pay their share, using their parents car isn't to be frowned upon (unless you never get your own car - which is disgusting).

As a fairly new car owner, I am glad that I have had the experience of using my parents cars first. If I had gotten a car right after getting my license, a very used car (aka a junker) would have been the way to go. Because I have never been in an accident, it would have been easier to part with a pile of metal than with the beauty I have now. But because I built experience with my parents car, I am able to enjoy the car I have now with a bit more sensibility.

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#22
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Re: Making Parenting Obsolete: One MyKey at a Time

10/22/2008 2:46 PM

I am happy to hear your parents were able to trust you and you did nothing to betray that trust. Each parent will pretty much know (or should know) their child by the time they are old enough to drive. Some of us know our kids well enough that there is little chance we would give them frequent access to a parental vehicle.

We drive our kids to scouts, sports practice, clubs etc. because it gives us visibility to see where and what our kids are doing. I don't think of it as a burden, but rather a responsibility. This kind of visibility made it possible for us to see the impending train wreck that would have been our daughter's life if we had not intervened. She went from an A student in middle school to a just barely graduated high school. Drugs, alcohol, sex and all the teenaged drama you could endure. We had to take some fairly drastic actions to keep her from totally self-destructing. I'm happy to say that she went from a drifter-slacker-rebellious teenager to a soldier in the Army Reserve, training to become a nurse. She bought a 1995 VW Jetta with 170K miles, aka junker for $1500 of her own money. She is proud of her junker and takes good care of it. She is also learning a good bit about cars without risking big money. She even knows her away around an auto recycling facility () to find usable replacement parts for a fraction of new at the dealer.

My two youngest children (now 12 and 14) I could trust with my vehicles (at this point). Not so for my 18 year-old daughter and my 16 year-old-no-fear-nothing-can-happen-to-me-push-the-envelope son.

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#23
In reply to #10

Re: Making Growing Up Relevant Again, One MyKey at a Time

10/23/2008 5:34 AM

But those old people with slow reflexes usually don't intentionally or absent-mindedly exceed 80MPH, don't you know.

Part of the good-habit-forming value that the device renders, at least insofar as "responsible" parents (who are most likely to be the ones acquiring the technology) goes, has to do with the innate capability of young drivers, as opposed to more experienced drivers. For example - and put aside the notion of "kids running wild" - the ability to control a car over a range of situations - particularly, to control speed - comes, for the most part, with length of experience behind the wheel: a novice (say, under 5 year's) driver is far more likely to be cited for "inadvertent" speeding (by drifting unknowingly to excessive speed) than is a "veteran" driver...because it takes experience to gain "driving sense" and full situation-awareness capability.

Now, place the novice driver on a highway of, say, 65MPH speed limit (on dry pavement even). Whereas as the traffic flow (or the police-ignored) prevailing speed might be 70-75MPH, if the inexperienced (young, incautious by youthful nature) driver happens to drift up to over 80MPH (because young drivers are less "attuned" to other drivers and traffic patterns), s(he) has now found himself (or not found himself) proceeding at a speed where anything that goes wrong portends far more dire consequences...and, in spite of good reflexes, such a driver is much more apt to make the wrong (inappropriate) corrective driving reaction... It is this, not what a youngster might do in the way of "misbehaving" but, a situation the young driver might find himself in and ill-equipped to handle, that causes concern for the parent of even the most well-tutored, well-brought-up of young drivers. Now, add such factors as the son's or daughter's driving in a car with peers. Good parent anxiety for their "good" child increases even more...and, similarly, their appreciation for any kind of "parent-assisting" technology will also, and right-mindedly, be high.

Another way of answering some of those who decry the device under the theory that it absolves parents of their duty-bound "good" parent responsibility, is to extend such a theory to its logical conclusions. Would we expect that those parents of naturally irresponsible bent of mind will be the ones most likely to clamor for the technology? And to be willing to pay extra for it? Or that naturally responsible parents will be the ones who opt not to purchase the technology? In the certain knowledge that "their" children can have no conceivable benefit from it? To both of these questions, the answer would by a resounding (and incredulous), "No." Reason would tell us just the opposite: that irresponsible parents are more likely to be the ones less likely to want to pay extra for the technology (even if they can afford it); that responsible parents are the ones more likely to want, and to be willing to afford, the technology; that, more likely than not, the car company will have designed and incorporated such technology...because concerned parents (and other responsible persons) in sufficient numbers said (to car makers) that such technology is what they would like to have, and would pay for in a new car, if it was made available.

Hence, it is that kind of responsible parent which (I contend) is a parent who understands that young driver skill acquisition is part and parcel to the process of "growing up" into a responsible (adult) driver. Hence, the re-titling of this sub-thread.

And, the fact that parents might also see a personal benefit in terms of not paying fines or insurance premium increases in behalf of their charges...that does not alter the good parenting, or good technology, facts.

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#24
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Re: Making Parenting Obsolete, One MyKey at a Time

10/23/2008 10:25 AM

When you were young, there wasn't enough technology to be forced on you that limited your boundaries in a car. You ended up alive - give the young the same respect you got as a teenager. I am not saying that they never screw up, but how do you think you got so 'amazing' at driving in the first place? Experience. I am not saying that you need to drive over 80 mph to gain experience, but having these restrictions are disrespectful from parents to the child and definitely cross some boundaries (unless they have shown recklessness).

My parents were very responsible with me, even though I didn't have a key that restricted me. By having me tell them when I arrived at my destination and left, they could keep close tabs on me and breathe a sigh of relief. They helped me to grow up and be a well-rounded driver and they didn't need technology to do it.

P.S.- You have to be really disrespectful to change the title of a blog that someone dedicated time into deriving and fits the blog.

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Anonymous Poster
#25
In reply to #24

Re: Making Parenting Obsolete, One MyKey at a Time

10/23/2008 5:26 PM

I am sorry but, though your post is well meaning, even if a bit naive, it makes little sense in relation to what I posted. The change in title showed no disrespect whatsoever: merely a device by which to demonstrated a flawed (but again heartfelt) premise (a more reasonable premise alternative) than the original question. Think of it as politely suggesting a more circumspect (a broader, more experienced) way of looking at the (OP author's) question.

This latter-day notion of "respect" has little relevancy to the concerns of a parent (or any reasonable person) for harm that might come to their offsprins or to others by the excesses of youth; or as a result of youthful inexperience, irresponsible or otherwise.

It is the nature of those transitioning from childhood into adulthood (and of those who never quite make or who never quite adjust to that transition) to be less than able and/or willing to recognize the parental form of respect...until later, when that transition (from childlike to adult-like thinking) has faded into the past.

As a counterpoint to your "noble" example: it is one thing for a parent to rest content in the belief that reports home about comings and goings are not without deceit (or chance of incidental alteration); quite another thing to receive, or to be able to recover, such reports (even en route) from a source that cannot willfully or circumstantially mislead.

One final thing - it relates to your assertion about ideal parent-child interactions - do you really suppose it to be true, that the son or daughter of parents, respectful (as you see it) or otherwise, would take umbrage at the prospect of being bestowed the use of a new-ish car, just because that car refuses to be driven, or will record being driven, at speeds in excess of 80MPH? (I would say that such a child has problems more profound than the mere desire for wheels...any wheels.)

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