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Monitor gets mixed reviews
( 2003-08-11 10:52) (eastday.com)

Jiang Tingting, a local high-school senior, says she is uncomfortable surfing the Internet at home these days because her parents have just employed a "tracker" to record her online activities.

The tracker called "Children's Shield" is a piece of monitoring software launched by the Shanghai Huifeng Technology Co. By installing the software, parents can record all the Websites their children visit, programs they use, as well as how much time they spend online.

They can also block any Website they don't want their children to visit and can set limits on how long they can stay online.

"The software is specially designed to protect children from being influenced by harmful bugs on the Internet," said Liu Zhi, designer of the software.

"I'm really quite worried that too much net-surfing and those unhealthy things will cause harm to my daughter,"said Liu Ying, Jiang's mother, admitting that's the biggest reason she installed the software.

According to the China Internet Information Center, young people under the age of 24 account for 56.2 percent of net users in China. Sixty-two percent of the youngsters use the Internet to chat or play PC games, while only 21 percent of them turn to the net for information.

While adults grumble about addiction to the Internet and the bad influence of some Websites, parti-cularly porn sites, youngsters say the software is an invasion and an insult.

"Under supervision of the soft-ware, I feel like I am a thief who is doing something wrong when I get online," said Jiang, who calls her parents' behavior as an invasion of her privacy.

"It's really very unfair and humiliating for me to have my e-mails exposed to my parents," the 17-year-old girl protested.

Wu Duo, a sociologist at East China Normal University, holds mixed views on the issue.

He said it is understandable, even responsible for parents to monitor the behavior of children too young to make responsible decisions on their own.

"But as for children above 14, it's better to help them make their own judgment," Wu said.

He said that overmonitoring will only push them to rebel.

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