the IT city, the I.T. Baby


My kid, on a locked down phone, still made bad choices

I mentioned some bad choices were made and my kid is effectively off the net, can’t text, can’t add contacts, yadda yadda yadda. We also removed YouTube because she was parroting mean YouTubers and just in general becoming a mean kid, is ashamed of it, and still does it.

She’s surrounded by mean kids at school, being mean is what gets attention, and the YouTube accounts she watches seem designed to promote pranks without considering consequences (in other words, anything whatsoever to get views.) I watched some of the garbage she watched and it’s video after video of putting people down for being different, enjoying strange things, or looking off from the pack. Or doing dangerous in reality pranks without any warnings of any sort.

At school her classmates watch the same garbage I locked her out of at home, so all I managed to do was limit exposure. But seeing what makes people popular on YouTube, she straight up has decided to emulate one of these idiots, figured out she could use dialpad still (even with the Phone app locked) and dialed several scammers numbers that were listed on a YouTube video so she could attempt to “prank” them. Read “call people she doesn’t know and be mean to them to get a laugh.”

The phone can evidently make a call to me or her mom, and you can enter the dialer… absolutely lovely. It’s not leaving the living room ever again.

So even with YouTube blocked, she gets it at school. With a phone that can do nothing but contact us she found a way to dial strangers to attempt to be mean. I’m surprised she hasn’t figured out how to use her school computer to make phone calls and text people and get right back into the same situation she was in before with a group of strangers harassing her, but I assume she’ll be right back getting death threats with our address in the next few days because MNPS is letting them play on their computers and not letting parents restrict them.

Worse, the MNPS teachers are referring to YouTube videos so you can’t simply block it in the hosts file. Frak!

But, tech isn’t really the problem, it just amplifies that I’ve got a mean kid who doesn’t think she’s mean because all the kids around her are by far significantly worse examples. She gets caught, her friends don’t or when they do they get kicked out of school and never seen again. Real story at this point.

We had yet another discussion about contacting people you don’t know, about how literally anyone you contact can get your information similar to how I was going to with the person who sent her a death threat (warrant) and how the people in the spam call centers who she was attempting to prank are the first step of organized crime and quite often sell your info to some quite more dangerous organizations.

Worse, many of these people she was trying to call and be mean to are enslaved.

What I don’t think was covered in John Oliver’s piece was these call center scammers sell your data to other types of scammers when they can’t make money off of you and eventually it just gets to people who are going to call and threaten your life or the lives of others like what happened with the Uber driver killing recently.

Thought I had taught my kid to be nice, that seems to be out the window in an attempt to be popular and fit in.

Just bad choice after bad choice. Getting harder to parent because most of our interactions these days are more in the format of “no, you do not contact organized criminal organizations – does this sound like a good choice to you?” leaving less and less time for any non-confrontational coexistence together.

Feature image generated with weird AI generating tool that read this article… strange.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.