Computer Monitoring Software - Is It Ethical?
Computer monitoring software is used to spy on a person's internet activities. There are software programs nowadays that can track everything a person does on the computer - record instant message conversations, log emails sent and received, record all visited websites, so on and so on. The programs can be hidden from the unsuspecting user, and they usually have no idea they are being monitored. Only the person who installed it, and is doing the monitoring, will know where it is, and how to access all the devious activity, if there is any.
There are three primary uses for computer monitoring. To monitor your child's internet activity, spy on your spouse or partner, or track your employees activities at the workplace (if you own a business).
Is it ethical? In most cases I believe it is, in others there is a gray area.
In the case of monitoring our children, I do believe we as parents have every right to know what they are up to. The internet can be a very dangerous place for kids, and has become a haven for sexual predators.
How do you think your teen would react if they found out you were watching them? They would probably go ballistic on you for betraying their trust. I would suggest just telling them that you will be keeping an eye on their activities, and explain why. You do not have to tell them you are using spy software, just one warning to tell them you know what's going on, should suffice. It's our duty to protect our kids and ensure their safety in any way we can.
Just give them a warning that you will be watching and set limits on their internet use. Make their working computer in the living room or den, a computer in their bedroom is asking for trouble. Even when your not at home, you can view their activities from a remote computer, like if your working or on vacation. You can even see what they are doing remotely from another computer in the house you have access to.
Catching the cheating spouse. This is where it can get dangerous. I had once caught my ex-girlfriend exchanging rather erotic emails with some guy over the web. Sure enough, she was having an affair. She had forgotten to log off her yahoo email account, and when I was checking my yahoo email, she was still logged on.
You can imagine I felt hurt and betrayed. This ultimately led to our break up, because she started dating the guy. I just think how would I feel if she was the one spying on me? I would feel very betrayed that she did not trust me. However, there is something inside all of us, that just has to know the truth. If you use computer monitoring on your spouse or partner, be careful your not caught. If your more computer savvy than them, most likely they will not know. If you are the faithful one, you certainly have a right to know.
Employees at the workplace. You want to make sure your employees are actually working and not goofing off at their workstations. With computer monitoring software, you can monitor multiple workstations at once. Is it ethical? Well, only the employees who have something to hide would say no.
You are trying to run a business, paying workers , you run the show. You have every right to know where your hard earned money is going. I would personally just let them know upon hiring, that all workstations are monitored for productivity.