The Dystopian Doorbell

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Enoch Orozco

The "Dystopian Doorbell," watches and records anything that enters its range (Photo courtesy of Enoch Orozco).

Technology is a wonderful thing; it has managed to bring the world closer together and has allowed for innovations that would amaze the people that came before us. However, technology isn’t without its own problems. In the midst of a technological revolution, we find ourselves lacking one key component we had in the past: privacy.

This subject is brought to light through the Ring Doorbell System, or as I call it “The Dystopian Doorbell.” Many parents, mine included, have used this new camera assisted doorbell to keep track of things such as amazon packages, home security, and, most importantly, their children. This new device along with horrid apps such as “Life 360” (an app which tracks location, speed, and sends notifications over parameters set by the parents over their kids) give parents total control and observation over every little thing their child does. 

While this may seem like a heaven sent for parents of misbehaved children, it seems to be more like a tightening noose around the necks of both the children and the parents. “Yes [these inventions] serve the purpose they are intended for, but teens will always find a way around it,” said junior Corey Golec. So, the only punishment really seems to lay on the shoulders of the good kids who now feel a lack of trust from their parents. 

My dad likes to make light of the situation and shoot me quick texts when I arrive home, such as “How was school?” or “Thanks for the peace sign on your way in!” While he finds it funny and lighthearted, I take it as a kind of jab, almost as an “I know where you are, and I’m always watching you,” kind of thing. I haven’t done anything explicitly wrong per say, so why am I treated like the bad kids that need their every movement watched? 

“Imagine having Life360. Imagine having your parents not trust you,” said junior Abbi Manos. This quote shows how technology makes it easy for parents not to trust kids, and how kids react to it.

The situation boils down to one thing: technology makes it so easy for parents not to trust their own children. And as the gap between parent and child grows, their connection dissipates more and more. Why should children trust parents that don’t trust them? And as the kids grow more and more rebellious, the parents just trust them less and less. “Strict parents raise the best liars,” said Wade Hampton High junior Cannon Bedenbaugh, “My parents were so strict with my brother, that’s why he’s such a bad kid.” So, the more strict the parent, the more rebellious the child, rinse and repeat. The vicious cycle then repeats itself until the kid finally leaves for college and all the parent is left with is a doorbell and memories of an ill-mannered child. 

In the defense of the parents, some do have strictly good intentions when it comes to the usage of said new technology. Some parents do only use the doorbell to keep track of deliveries, and some parents do use Life 360 to make sure their child is safe. But if their children feel they are under constant scrutiny, it is more likely to hurt their relationship. This is not a desirable outcome for either party, but the solution is not simple. 

Parents need to find a balance between keeping ill-mannered children in check and trusting the kids that deserve it. Sadly, as the world changes and technology evolves, this balance is harder and harder to find. However, for the proper parent-child relationship, this balance does need to be met.