Good Parenting or Overbearing Parenting?

by Faisal Al Hinai

Not too long ago, parents were allowed instant access and updates to their children’s grades online via their school’s website. As of the 14th of March 2012, parental access was made easier by the public schools in the city of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who introduced a free mobile app that allows parents of students to stay current with their children’s grades and more. This free application relies on InformationNOW technology, and is created by School Connect for Apple and Android mobile devices. School Connect is a non-profit, Oklahoma-based company that aims to provide free “mobile communication platforms to school districts”.

Through this School Connect app, parents are offered full access to their child’s “grade book, discipline records and attendance records” as soon as they are posted. All that is required is for the parent(s) to visit the Tahlequah public schools board of education office and show a photo I.D. They will then be given a user name and password for access.

Is this recent phenomenon promoting convenient and increased parental control a healthy one? Here are a few pros and cons:-

Pros

  • Prompts students to work/try harder on a daily basis, not simply during exam week.
  • Allows parents the opportunity to address academic/behavioral issues and concerns early on.
  • Ends parental illusion with regards to children’s grades prior to reports being handed out.
  • More incentive for teachers to grade at a quicker pace, and gives them quicker feedback.
  • Eliminates the need for weekly/daily report cards.

Cons

  • Allows little room for children to solve problems on their own, the app involves parents immediately.
  • Promotes further parental micromanagement, by making it easier for parents to check scores on exams and assignments and soon as the grades are posted, which might lead to tensions at home.
  • Exerts further pressure on public school teachers.
  • May cause extra stress on the child which could lead to undesirable side-effects such as depression.
  • Muddles children’s goals. Child may put in effort in fear of parent instead of wanting to excel to be a better student to better themselves and their futures.

This app is certainly a milestone in parental access and convenience. However, this level of parental comfort brings rise to controversial questions regarding the diminishing student privacy, parental intrusion and the amount of access that ought to be accorded to parents.

NOTES:

  • If you have more than one child you can use the same user name and password for all your children.
  • For more information on this product and School Connect, visit: http://www.schoolconnectapps.com/.


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