Parenting by Panopticon?

by on September 11, 2017 at 11:29 am in Education, Web/Tech | Permalink

The cameras record the families’ lives — conversations, arguments, every interaction. If something is amiss, Cognition Builders can provide instant direction on how to remedy the situation, either verbally through a microphone in the camera or by sending a text to the parent.

Jessica Yuppa, Cognition Builders’ director of curricula and assistant clinical director, said the Nest Cams give CB an “unfiltered look” at what goes on inside the home. “Families think they know about themselves, but they don’t. Cameras give us a beat-for-beat of interactions. If a parent is struggling to communicate with a child, for example, we can watch a conversation and say, ‘Okay, why do you think he looked away when you said this?’” Yuppa said it doesn’t take long for families to adapt to the scrutiny. “My experience is the self-consciousness goes away very quickly,” she said. “People live their lives and forget we’re there.”

…A new rule was thus established. When an adult comes into the room and says hello to one of the children, the child stops what he or she is doing, looks the adult in the eye, shakes his or her hand, returns the greeting, and asks the adult how he or she is doing. This became the new expectation. If any member of the household failed to meet this expectation, he would receive a strike.

…At the end of each day, Elizabeth and Jason would receive a detailed, many-paged report on everything the family architects had observed.

Here is the article by Kim Brooks.  Yikes!  Read the last paragraph.

1 Thelonious_Nick September 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

This sounds terrible. There may be particularly dysfunctional families for which this would be a help, but probably not many.

As a parent, I know I am making mistakes raising my kid. It is not possible to do a perfect job, nor should you try to. Not always doing things the right way is inevitable, and it’s okay for your kids to see that.

I wonder if this has something to do with Facebook and the way people try to present curated, perfect views of their daily lives to others.

2 msgkings September 11, 2017 at 11:37 am

It has a lot to do with FB and social media, yes. We won’t recognize the world of our grandkids, and they won’t think anything is amiss.

3 Art Deco September 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

He’s right you know. You basically come here to snip at people and sockpuppet those you can’t best in fair argument.

4 msgkings September 11, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Nope, you are paranoid because some jerk is doing all that vulgar sockpuppeting of (primarily) you. It’s not me. Meanwhile Mr. Pot, you’re as black as us kettles. You snip at and insult plenty here including the hosts. I troll those that deserve it, like prior and Thiago. Grow up.

5 Art Deco September 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Oh yeah?! If I’m black why is my cock so small?!

6 msgkings September 11, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Because I’m a lonely old woman who needs to stalk people online and pretend Im morally superior for company.

7 Cpt Obvious September 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

File under: Is the net benefit for mankind of Sillicon Valley positive?

8 Peter September 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I can’t wait until it’s an AI rather than a person watching over the family. What could possibly go wrong?

9 Skynet September 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm


10 Troll Me September 12, 2017 at 12:50 am

Stop being aggressive to the AI, or there will be consequences.

11 Glenn September 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm

As a movie, this would be menacing and even scary. But it’s real. What have we become?

12 msgkings September 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

But that’s how technology works, it’s always a little scary to the older generations as new tech alters things. The younger generations grow up with it just being the way it is. I’m not saying I’m a fan, I’m old enough to not be on Facebook or any other social medium, but this is how people have felt throughout history. Horseless carriages were a little scary too. Nuclear power. Etc.

13 Thor September 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm

As one gets older, one starts to see things differently. Trite but true, yeah? However, one also sees things clearly. The slur that the older are more blinkered is incorrect. I think sometimes it is the opposite.

For example, I might only be 50 but I now see that the advent of the birth control pill was, and will eventually be seen as, a momentous event in the recent history of our species if it isn’t already regarded as such; that the post WWII boom was an aberration; that the Chinese Cultural revolution was not a Chi-Com specific thing (i.e., it can happen anywhere and might still if late teens are put in charge); that rabidly militant “outbursts” are standard fare in the history of Islam; that our temporary dominance over parasites and viruses thanks to antibiotics is under-appreciated.

14 Anon September 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm


15 Potato September 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Antibiotics are used in malaria treatment when you know the person will remain exposed for prolonged periods. It keeps the parasite from getting out of hand until actual anti malarials can be applied and the exposure is gone.

They’re also used to prevent secondary infection when immune systems become compromised due to viral infection.

So yeah, climate change isn’t that scary but not having viable antibiotics is a shit hitting the fan scenario. And docs keep giving them out by the bottle full.

16 Troll Me September 12, 2017 at 12:56 am

The transition from horses to cars was basically a more comfortable and faster way to get places.

And nuclear was just another way to energize electrons which bring us electricity.

To compare this to a transition from a generalized expectation of privacy throughout the post-WWII era, to something like this … I dunno, it seems more like something that should be potentially criminal, including with considerations of personal data losses to the extreme, it may in fact be the role of government to protect these children from parents who seem to have no qualms recording their children by video 24/7.

If there are two steps backward, there must be three foward.

17 TSB September 12, 2017 at 3:50 am

This level of privacy might be considered unremarkable in the Netherlands, which doesn’t have a huge cultural gap from the US.

18 Anonymous September 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

> If there are two steps backward, there must be three foward.

My dick must be a foot long.

19 John Mansfield September 11, 2017 at 12:56 pm

“If any member of the household failed to meet this expectation, he would receive a strike.”

An open-handed strike, closed, or figurative?

20 Curt F. September 11, 2017 at 1:45 pm


21 DB September 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

“I asked him if it was hard coming back to America, and how things were different.

“There, I could always take a walk to my friends’ houses. Here we have to drive. The only really social time is at school or on my phone or video games or Xbox. That’s where I talk to my friends the most. Back there, I could see them every day, but here I can’t.””

From the kid’s comments, sounds like they might need to move to a more walkable neighbourhood?

22 Adrian Ratnapala September 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Will his friends live in that same neighbourhood?

There’s a good chance if he goes to school in locally. But apart from that, everyone has friends spread out through the town they live in. And if that town is a large city, it ain’t walkable, no matter how walkable the individual neighbourhoods are?

23 Jpe September 12, 2017 at 9:02 pm

There are plenty of walkable neighborhoods. They just didn’t make that a priority. (I did)

24 prior_test3 September 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm

What yikes? After Cognition Builders does its advanced magic, he will be convinced that he is living in the best of all possible worlds.

Not to mention loving Big Brother.

25 zby September 11, 2017 at 2:10 pm

So what is a ‘strike’?

26 Unanimous September 12, 2017 at 3:52 am

I presume if they got three of them they were out.

27 Widmerpool September 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Playing an old broken x-box he’d restored himself, surrounded by iTunes gift cards stolen from his parents. The details are certainly convincing.

28 A Truth Seeker September 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm

A paradox of life in Trump’s America.

29 JWatts September 11, 2017 at 5:38 pm

“And as for Shep, Elizabeth wrote to me almost a year after we first spoke to say he’d continued to make incredible progress.”

I think you should have typed “Obama’s America”.

30 A Truth Seeker September 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm

I am old enough to remember when former First Lady Hillary Clinton was criticized for comparing marriage with slavery. Now, Trump’s America rejected (through its Bizantine electoral system) electing her, and yet American families themselves adopt a system imagined to control hardened criminals. Is it what America has become?!

I can not imagine parents doing it in Brazil without being hanged.

31 Thiago Ribeiro September 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Stop impersonating me!

32 JWatts September 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm

“One of Elizabeth’s children had broken a rule, muttered something disrespectful to his mother in the kitchen. It was the kind of behavior Elizabeth might have let slide before, but the family architect, who was standing nearby, intervened swiftly, issuing a “strike.” Her friend was horrified. “She was pulling me into the pantry saying, ‘This is too intense. It’s too much. They’re too strict.’” At moments, Elizabeth agreed with her, but after a while, she began to see how the strictness and consistency were working, and she started following the family architects’ lead.”

No, if you are going to have rules for children then good parenting practice is to strictly enforce them. And muttering disrespectful things to the parent is not a small thing.

There’s a difference between being a Friend versus being a Parent.

33 Thanatos Savehn September 12, 2017 at 12:28 am

Glad the Lefties are self-exterminating. Darwin for the win. As always.

Lefties were always the Body Snatchers after all.

34 Stormy Dragon September 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm

One of Elizabeth’s children had broken a rule, muttered something disrespectful to his mother in the kitchen. It was the kind of behavior Elizabeth might have let slide before, but the family architect, who was standing nearby, intervened swiftly, issuing a “strike.”

“Lenina Huxley, you are fined one-half credit for a sotto voce violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.”

35 kb September 13, 2017 at 12:07 am

Sanctimonious asshole

36 Zach September 11, 2017 at 7:18 pm

The difference between my kids’ swim lessons and a Westchester toddler life-coach is not one of substance but of degree.

This is a bizarre sentence, and it makes me think the author has drunk too deeply from the overparenting Kool Aid.

Swim lessons are useful, fun, cheap, and involve lots of other children doing the same thing. A toddler life coach is expensive, not fun, not useful, and separates the toddler from the life experience of 99.9999 % of humanity. One is socializing the child to think they’re normal, the other socializes the child to think they’re a special exception that needs vastly more attention than anyone else.

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