Skip

No, He's Not Your Puppy, He's Your Narc
February 4, 2005 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Couple Offers Drug Dog for Hire (Reuters link)
A couple bought a dog trained to sniff drugs for $20,000 and now they will hire it out to sniff around your kid's stuff to see if they've been doing drugs within the last 30 days for a mere $20 a sniff (they also have a sliding scale for businesses that need them).
Where to draw the line between concern and obsession for keeping one's children safe? Some sites are keeping tabs on the infringement of children's rights including privacy. Which begs the question, Do Children Have a Right to Privacy?
posted by fenriq (46 comments total)

 
Child under 18 living at home? Then no, they have no right to privacy from their parents.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2005


This is good. As an American can view over our Northern Border Fence about a family discussion.
Not being Canadian, the thread will be hard reading since I’d be wise to keep my 2cents to myself.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:15 PM on February 4, 2005


It's hard reading anytime you say anything, thomcatspike.
posted by interrobang at 4:16 PM on February 4, 2005


Child under 18 living at home? Then no, they have no right to privacy from their parents.
Question, not 2 cents, does Canada have similar/same laws regarding illegal activity in a home. Meaning, if my wife is busted with cocaine in our home, could I be charged as an accessory to the crime and my property be forfeited too? Even though I did not know about it. Because illegal activity in a home is illegal, no matter who is doing it.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:32 PM on February 4, 2005


Huh?
posted by interrobang at 4:34 PM on February 4, 2005


Wow, MrBobaFett, I heartily disagree.

Human beings demand respect, no matter what age they are, and I think privacy is an element to that respect.

Which is not to say that there are grey areas.

Making your three-year-old empty their pockets because you suspect contraband? Sure.

Calling the parents of an underage college student who was caught drinking? Yeah. Seems like common sense to me.

Raiding your child's room with a drug dog? Reading their diary? Listening in on their phone conversations? Absolutely unforgivable.

It is most unfortunate that some parents' communication with their child is so lacking as to prompt something of this ilk.
posted by Specklet at 4:34 PM on February 4, 2005


I just want to clarify, when I suggested a three-year-old with contraband, I did not mean to insinuate drugs. Heh. I meant something along the lines of a pilfered cookie or mom's earrings.
posted by Specklet at 4:43 PM on February 4, 2005


The thing about it that bothers me is that, if my parents brought a drug dog into my room, found a roach from a joint or something and then read me the riot act about it, I would never trust them again.

The parents that would use a drug dog on their kid are the same ones that want schools to teach their kids about sex because they aren't comfortable talking about it.

And, for the record, I wholeheartedly believe that kids have a right to privacy, at home, in school and anywhere else they go. To deny them that right is to foster one seriously embittered kid who will grow up and become a bad adult who thinks its totally okay to toss a kid's locker based on an anonymous tip.

thomcatspike, I believe it would be up to the prosecutor to decide if you really are culpable or not. But I could be wrong though I do watch an extraordinary amount of Law and Order.
posted by fenriq at 4:44 PM on February 4, 2005


Anyone else have good ideas on how to alienate your children? Why don't you hook them up to a polygraph every night around the dinner table and interrogate them about their impure thoughts? We should also take the doors off of their rooms and remove the curtains so we can spy on them 24/7. Sheesh, some people are so tragically misguided.

I think that some American parents (this would never happen anywhere else in the world) need to bring their heads out of the sand (and their own asses) and realize that this type of treatment towards their children will only result in the creation of yet another fearful, misinformed and distrusting generation. You should talk to your children instead of persecuting them.
posted by weezy at 4:44 PM on February 4, 2005


This goes back to the Ask Mefi thread about childhood experiences that left a permanent mark.

Classic Catch-22: As parents, you have the choice to either trust your child(ren), or snoop around to determine for yourself whether or not your child(ren) can be trusted and risk shattering their trust in you.
posted by pmbuko at 4:45 PM on February 4, 2005


When I was under 18, I had the right to privacy in parts of my room -- parents never looked in drawers or cupboards (I'm pretty sure of this, because if they had then we would have had some interesting discussions). Even if they did, then they never let on, which is much the same when you're 17.

However, they had belief in and respect for me; I repaid that by not driving drunk, not getting stoned on a school night, doing enough of my homework to get good marks, and getting into a decent university.

When my daughter gets to a similar age, I'll treat her space with the same respect; but I also have the benefits of experience my parents didn't have so, rather than snooping and attempting to prevent her "making the same mistakes", we can sit down and have a frank and candid family discussion about it, perhaps over dinner, and defuse the situation that way.

Some people simply seem too embarrassed to talk to their kids about awkward subjects. It's just sex and drugs and rock and roll, people. Remember when you were 17.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 4:46 PM on February 4, 2005


Huh?
posted by interrobang at 6:34 PM CST on February 4

interroband, if I rode with in your car and the police pulled us over for a traffic stop, the police found that I had a large quantity of cocaine on me. What would happen to you & your car? They may do nothing yet depending on the state laws, they could try to connect you with my drugs & prosecute you too.

So basically the owner of a home in the US better know what is in his/her home.

So seeing 18 ok to search, over 18 no, it reminded me of when I lived at home past 18 and respected my parents wishes because of laws on the books that could forfeiture their home from them. Which made wonder what the Canadian laws were regarding illegal drugs in a home and who would actually be prosecuted.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:47 PM on February 4, 2005


If I entered my room when I was sixteen, and found my dad and a German shepherd sniffing around my stuff, I would be so pissed off, I am pretty sure I would end up shooting any kind of hardcore drug I could lay my hand on, just to piss the MF off .

It's funny how people ignore/underestimate the "rebel factor" on the teenage behavior.

I never tried hard rug in high school (or later) but that wasn't because I was scared that my parents’ sniffing dog might find my stash. It was because my parents -slowly and painfully through all the years of my childhood- had earned my trust and made me realize that hard drugs were not in my long term interest :)

So, dear parents, you have choice:
- you can spend time with your children, respect them, reason with them, and then trust them, or,
- alternatively, you can hire a trained German shepherd.
posted by lenny70 at 4:48 PM on February 4, 2005


Dr Munro: My studies have established without a doubt that children are, by adult standards, insane!
Johnny: And that's bad?
Dr Munro: Well, sure!
Johnny: So what should we do about it?
Dr Munro: Round the little guttersnipes up!
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on February 4, 2005


My mother managed to read my diary all through high school. I still haven't quite forgiven her. I'm 40 now.
posted by melixxa600 at 5:09 PM on February 4, 2005


Cayenne.
posted by trondant at 5:18 PM on February 4, 2005


If this became common, many kids would just find safe drop spots (maybe a jar hidden somewhere outside the house) in which to keep their stuff, and they would blame smells on other (anonymous) kids at school or parties.

I don't think children have a legal right to privacy from their parents (do parents even have a legal right to privacy from their children?), but you had better strike a reasonable deal with your kids (no one searches anyone's stuff, which also means kids have to stay out of mom's and dad's stuff or the deal's off) or you will create a sneaky adversarial relationship with them, because all people have secrets they should be able to keep.

BUT: if I had good reason to think my kid was up to something dangerous and I couldn't get the kid to talk about it, I would search her stuff, privacy ethics be damned. If I had ever been, say, a heroin addict, I would never had told my parents, and they would have had to search my stuff or wait until I died or was arrested to find out. I wouldn't bring in a damned dogs, though; snoopy parents are one thing, but bringing in outsiders and their fucking bloodhounds is the end of the family.
posted by pracowity at 5:28 PM on February 4, 2005


Specklet, anyone can take any view they want on parenting, there are plenty of arguments for building trust and giving you child privacy. However it's just that, you are GIVING it to them.

Fact of it is, legally speaking they have no right to privacy from their parents. They are minors, they are not adults. Their parents have ultimate responsibility over them.

Ideally you should find a way to raise your kids in an atmosphere of trust and respect. etc. However ultimately, they have no inherent right to privacy from their parents.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:33 PM on February 4, 2005


if my parents brought a drug dog into my room, found a roach from a joint or something and then read me the riot act about it, I would never trust them again.

Yeah, but what does that exactly mean?

I'm with melixxa600. When I was *21*, my mom violated my trust by reading my journal and learned that I had been arrested and was awaiting trial (misdemeanor). I was in college at the time, living with my parents in the summer.

I have forgiven her completely. people make mistakes. I've certainly looked at things I shouldn't.

Legally, kids don't have many privacy rights (hell, many rights at all), but of course they should.

all people have secrets they should be able to keep

Amen.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:07 PM on February 4, 2005


Fact of it is, legally speaking they have no right to privacy from their parents. They are minors, they are not adults. Their parents have ultimate responsibility over them.

Ideally you should find a way to raise your kids in an atmosphere of trust and respect. etc. However ultimately, they have no inherent right to privacy from their parents.


If you assume that "rights" are things that only exist through law, then sure. American idealism--if not its practice--however is based on the principle that there's such a thing as inherent human rights, that we don't always require a law just to recognize what's a decent way to treat people.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:14 PM on February 4, 2005


Adults generally fear and loathe the young. We pay billions a year making and watching movies and TV programs that perpetuate a false ideal of our loving them, but we fear kids, even hate them. We want to control them; and if we cannot, we destroy them. Regardless of what we say or depict, this is what we do.
posted by squirrel at 6:20 PM on February 4, 2005


Improper use of "begs the question" is a major peeve of mine, but seeing as you accidentally used it almost correctly, I'll keep my mouth shut.
posted by team lowkey at 6:31 PM on February 4, 2005


Not only do children have no right to privacy from their (live-in) parents, the parents are legally culpable for the childrens' actions and therefore have a legal need and responsibility to know exactly what their children are up to.
posted by NortonDC at 6:44 PM on February 4, 2005


mrgrimm, it means I'd spend all of my time working to get out and away from them.

nakedcodemonkey, that comment is one of the reasons that I love this place. That was perfect.

team lowkey, golly, thanks, sort of.

NortonDC, yes, you are true technically speaking but there's knowing and there's digging through their things without their knowledge in the expectation of finding something.

This has been on my mind all evening and I think, if you're thinking about bringing a drug dog in to snoop your kids out, you have already failed as a parent.

also, pretty much exactly what pracowity said.
posted by fenriq at 6:52 PM on February 4, 2005


When my aunt and uncle suspected that my cousin was using at 15 y/o, my uncle had his two german shepherds trained to sniff for drugs. He could do that - his brother was a cop. But that didn't stop my cousin from using and dealing until he went to rehab at 18. Of course, he'd been doing it since he was 13, so maybe they just waited too long . . .
posted by Uccellina at 6:55 PM on February 4, 2005


Nakedcodemonkey - Even beyond the law of the land, the child has no inherent right to privacy from their parent. Law of the land only clearly establishes the age of 18 cut off point.

Without such a law the kid is free to take off and try to take care of themself. But as they saying goes, live under my roof, live under my rules.

Parents, by and large in my experience, love their children and do what they do in an effort to take care of them. They are not some overpowered central gov't that we need privacy protection from. Rights come with responsibilities, you blow that and your parent is doing nothing wrong to restrict the rights they gave you.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:28 PM on February 4, 2005


I worked at a phone center for a while, outbound. It sucked.

There was a woman there who'd been a psych major at the same university that I'd just graduated from. She was a telemarketer, and her husband managed an arbys.

She was an ugly specimine, intelectual to a point, but almost always convinced of her correctness not a trace of self doubt and almost always spouting off about some topic she was ill aquanted with.

Anyway, one day I overheard her talking to a co-worker about how she and her boyfriend planned on putting cameras in their childrens rooms as they grew up! I couldn't belive it, and then she mentioned how one of her psych professors had said "If I'd put cameras in my daughter's room, she wouldn't have been raped."

Or maybe if he'd actualy payed attention to what she was doing.

----

Anyway, a while ago (like, when I was busting my ass at this phone center) I thought it would be cool to get a dog and train it to sniff out drugs. That way, you could make sure any 'packages' you might want to carry in your car were undetectable :)
posted by delmoi at 7:40 PM on February 4, 2005


Nakedcodemonkey - Even beyond the law of the land, the child has no inherent right to privacy from their parent. Law of the land only clearly establishes the age of 18 cut off point.

Sadly, you're still missing the point. If you truly believe that there is no "inherent right" worth respecting unless it is specifically codified in law, how sad. What a shallow view of the world. Call it religion, ethics, compassion, morality, decency, or principled pragmatism--the rest of us operate in a world where law (whether governmental or parental) does not provide the sole guide for human interaction and where a "right" is not something than can be either given or revoked but only honored or dishonored. Other people have expressed the principle far better.

Disrespect your kid's privacy if you want to. You won't be arrested for it. But that doesn't mean he or she has no inherent right to privacy or dignity. That's you making a choice.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:25 PM on February 4, 2005


To paraphrase nakedcodemonkey: your statements are correct, but I'm a better person.

Right, gotcha. Because you know that a parent valuing their child's health and safety above their desire for privacy is always making the wrong choice. </snark>

A parent's ultimate responsibility to their child is not to treat the child as if they had an adult's rights, freedoms and responsibilities, it's to prepare them for when they do.
posted by NortonDC at 9:11 PM on February 4, 2005


A parent's ultimate responsibility to their child is not to treat the child as if they had an adult's rights, freedoms and responsibilities, it's to prepare them for when they do.

Investing them with rights and courtesy does prepare them. It's Give and Take.
posted by daksya at 9:49 PM on February 4, 2005


nakedcodemonkey, I apologize for the unneccessarily sarcastic tone of my last post. Your post is full of shit, but I should have found a better way of saying so.
posted by NortonDC at 9:50 PM on February 4, 2005


gee, that was *such* the improvement in tone.
posted by notsnot at 10:18 PM on February 4, 2005


Pedantafilter in 3, 2, 1:

I wouldn't bring in a damned dogs, though; snoopy parents are one thing, but bringing in outsiders and their fucking bloodhounds is the end of the family.

Agreed. Kids have dignity. If you're snooping through a room because you think your kid is on crack, that's not undignified. If the kid's already been arrested fifty times and has stolen money from your wallet and seems to be getting into drugs again and you've pleaded and screamed and tried draconian groundings and are at your wits end and have made this apparent to the kid many times, even dogs might not be undignified (parents have dignity too). But if you've got a drug dog ready because Billy violated curfew, there's a lot more to worry about than what Billy's been up to.

When I have a kid, the little saysthisling and I are going to have a chat at 11-12-ish. "So, what do you know about sex, drugs, and rock & roll? (Here there will be a long explanation all the good dirt someone entering middle school would need to know.) Ok, so, Saysthisling, here's the deal. I did it when I was a kid, and I expect you'll want to, and I won't stop you. Experimenting with the world is a crucial part of growing up and they'll be some of the best times and memories you have. If you need condoms, I've got 'em. If you want to know how to roll a joint, I'll show you. All you have to do is ask. But since I'm your parent, there will be some ground rules. One, don't get in trouble. If you get caught breaking the rules, you're not breaking them right. Be smart, know them, know where they apply, and don't get caught by people who can hurt you. Two, be safe. That means condoms/birth control, doctor's visits, awareness of which drugs do what, staying away from friends who'll kick the shit out of you, etc. Three, do well in school. Your future is important, and the whole point of me being a parent, and you growing up, is so that when the time comes, you'll have learned enough to do anything you want. You'll need school to do that. I won't give you answers, but if you need to change schools or a sick day here and there, we can do that. Four, do your best, always. If, for some reason, you get in any kind of trouble and you've done all you can to avoid it, I'll help you, but if you've not followed those rules, I'll only bail you out far enough that you're not royally fucked. Five, we always talk. Even if the only thing you have to say to me is you can't trust me, or that you'd rather keep this a secret, or you hate me, say that. That's that. There's nothing else I can say. I'll always help you any way I can, and thank you for being my son/daughter. Now go tear shit up, little dude." And then I'll raise a perfect child and never make any mistakes, 'cause I'm money like that.
posted by saysthis at 10:51 PM on February 4, 2005


He didn't volunteer for the sarcasm, but he did volunteer his comments for intense scrutiny. The sarcasm can only be about trying to needle him personally, but harsh criticism of his comments is about his comments.
posted by NortonDC at 10:52 PM on February 4, 2005


To paraphrase nakedcodemonkey: your statements are correct, but I'm a better person.

Thanks, but translation services not required, especially when Bablefish would have done it better. If you need a single sentence version then this would at least be more accurate: Mr BobaFett, your statements are wrong because you're confusing "legal rights" with "inherent rights". The latter is based in principled beliefs; the former works is based in fear of punishment.

Rights != laws. It's a basic distinction usually introduced in Philosophy 101 and PoliSci 101.

Because you know that a parent valuing their child's health and safety above their desire for privacy is always making the wrong choice. </snark>

Making a value choice is exactly the issue here. Trying to strike a balance between conflicting values is a problem most parents wrestle with constantly. The lazy solution is to dispense with any weighing of values to boil the matter down to a one-size-fits-all rule: "As long as no one will punish me for treating you as if you had no inherent rights, I can stop thinking right there. Matter resolved: no privacy for you."

A parent's ultimate responsibility to their child is not to treat the child as if they had an adult's rights, freedoms and responsibilities, it's to prepare them for when they do.

Kids need to learn how to make principled choices even when there's no one standing ready to dole out consequences for a rotten choice. Parenting that models, and requires, rigid adherence to formal rules without respect to principled judgement does not build an adult capable of obedience (maybe) but not judgement. It does, however, prepare them for a distinguished military career culminating in the ever-popular Nuremberg Defense.

He didn't volunteer for the sarcasm, but he did volunteer his comments for intense scrutiny. The sarcasm can only be about trying to needle him personally, but harsh criticism of his comments is about his comments.

"Piece of shit." +1 Insightful Scrutiny

/See? I prefer sarcasm.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:08 PM on February 4, 2005


...does not build an adult capable of obedience...
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:15 PM on February 4, 2005


So, if we assume kids have no rights to privacy at all, then where do you draw the line? <sarcasm>If sniffer dogs are OK, why not cameras installed in their rooms? Portable metal detectors? Hell, why not strip searches everytime they come back into the house? What's that, Bobby, you've been round to Chet's house? Chet, the well-known weed user? You know the rules, son, bend over while I get the gloves out, it's time for the cavity search ...

Still, why not get them used to this while in the home? It'll have them ready for adult life in a few years, the way things are going ...</sarcasm>
posted by kaemaril at 1:36 AM on February 5, 2005


Interesting business model, which no one seems to have commented on. Won't it take them 1,000 searches @ $20 each to recoup their investment?
Will they drive from appointment to appointment? See where I'm going with this?
posted by fixedgear at 3:38 AM on February 5, 2005


fixedgear: They charge more for businesses. Hmmm ... I wonder how much they'd charge schools?
posted by kaemaril at 3:43 AM on February 5, 2005


Yeah, I saw that, but still...

I think the local PD might sweep your school for free!
posted by fixedgear at 4:21 AM on February 5, 2005


So, if we assume kids have no rights to privacy at all, then where do you draw the line...

The use of dogs is bad because it involve people who say stuff like "We'll obviously make recommendations to call authorities." You don't want people like that in your house and knowing your business. To hell with the sniffer dogs and the people who run them. I'm not in favor of bringing any outside agencies into family matters unless there's no other way to save a very bad situation.

But don't be like those people who blame everything bad (kiddie porn, kidnappings, etc.) on the internet just because the internet is a new technology. That stuff has always been around and always will be around. Likewise, parents have always done whatever they could to check whether their kids are out getting wasted and kids have always done whatever they could to avoid being discovered.

Only now, children don't just smoke or drink, so parents can't just give their children's breath and clothes a quick sniff (as many have always done in the past) to know what's going on. Children take things that parents might never detect on their own, or that parents might detect but not be able to identify.

If, to counter this, parents now wanted to use fancier stuff (perhaps a home chemical test, not the dog squad) to check their children's breath or belongs, they would be doing essentially what many have always done. Nothing would have changed but the drug, which is just another technology to deliver a high, and the test, which is just another technology (if using your eyes and nose can be called a technology) to detect the drug. The privacy issue remains the same, and you've got to go right back to whether it's proper for a parent to sniff a kid's breath and dirty clothes.

And if you decide that using an unaided nose is OK, shouldn't using a more sensitive mechanical nose (or the equivalent) also be proper? Or if using their noses is not OK, even if the parents have had some other indication that their children are taking something perhaps dangerous, does that mean parents must stay the hell out of their children's business and let them fend for themselves? It's a difficult question and I'm not telling you I am absolutely certain of the answer. I suspect that the answer might change from case to case.

Another point you mention (sarcastically) is cameras. Constant camera surveillance would of course be awful. You want the kid to grow up, not in, so cameras in the bedroom would be bad (and perhaps pervy, depending on the situation). But cameras in schools, if they are used in spaces that are already public (spaces in which a child should have no expectation of privacy) might be used, for example, to deter bullying and promote friendly socializing and education. That would be a good thing, though the benefit must be weighed against the children's loss of privacy from adult supervision in the halls. Again, you would have to look at each case and see whether the loss of privacy is justifiable.
posted by pracowity at 7:33 AM on February 5, 2005


Sadly, you're still missing the point. If you truly believe that there is no "inherent right" worth respecting unless it is specifically codified in law, how sad.

No.. Try again. I said "outside of the law of the land", beyond the concept of codified law, children do not have an inherent right to privacy from their parents.

The only thing I said about codified law was the creation of age 18 as a cutoff between child and adult.

No one is debating the child's inherent rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However a child is not an adult, they can not make the same informed choices that an adult can make. until the child has learned all the responsibilities that come with certain freedoms, they don't have access to those rights. It's rights and responsibilities. Until a child has learned ful responsibility they do not have access to full rights. And who better to individually judge that, than their parents?
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:37 AM on February 5, 2005


The thing about it that bothers me is that, if my parents brought a drug dog into my room, found a roach from a joint or something and then read me the riot act about it, I would never trust them again.

The thing about it is that if you've been told that it is absolutely unacceptable to have or use drugs in your parents' home, and they discover that you are, they might never trust you again.

The street goes both ways, young man.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2005


The thing about it is that if you've been told that it is absolutely unacceptable to have or use drugs in your parents' home, and they discover that you are, they might never trust you again.

I think that the parents who feel this way are setting themselves up for a lifetime of bitter disappointment. Children will break rules, and of course there should be consequences, but trust runs deeper than that. If you never trust your children again after they've broken a rule, then you would likely be a paranoid wreck by the time they got to three years old.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2005


I live in a world where parents are terrified to tell their children what to do and don't monitor their behavior (fear, lazy, too busy?). These parents are retarded. I see third graders watching totally inappropriate movies because their parents don't want little Billy left out of the group. I see our entire neighborhood lose its ability to drive golf carts in the neighborhood because the parents wouldn't (couldn't?) control their teens. I know that a 16 yo died from an overdose at 3AM in his bedroom because he was out partying before hand and his parents had no idea where he was. I see parents throwing parties for their teens with alcohol, because they are going to drink anyway. These parents are like the mom in Mean Girls. I can assure you that these kids have no respect for their parents. I know because I know these kids.
Yes, I am hard on my kids and will know all of their friends and where they are going, with whom, etc. They aren't supposed to like me right now. I'm their parent first, then their friend.
BTW, I get along great with all my kids.
NakedCodeMonkey, are you a parent of teens yet?
posted by davenportmom at 9:03 PM on February 5, 2005


Damn straight!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 AM on February 6, 2005


« Older move over, Mass!   |   Pay It Forward. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post