Arizona politician looking to pass bill that allows parents to read kids’ texts
It is no secret that teens and children are spending more time on their cell phones, often texting their friends back and forth. Some parents would like to view these messages through the cell phone company, and Arizona Senator Rich Crandall is trying to get a bill passed that would allow parents to do so, according to The Arizona Republic.
“If I have a 13-year-old being harassed via text, I can’t call and get those texts,” Crandall told the news source. “This bill will allow me to at least pay to see the text messages for my children.”
The bill passed in the Senate Judiciary Comittee, but still needs to be voted on by the full Senate before moving to the House and the governor.
Parents can invest in parental control software to see what their child is up to, but it takes a court order in Arizona to get a cellphone company to hand records over. However, this bill would take things one step further.
The bill is seeing a lot of opposition, however. Lobbyist John Kelly, who represents Verizon Wireless, believes that cell phone companies who hand over records may be violating a federal law even though they are complying with a state law. Jamie Hastings, of CTIA-The Wireless Association, explained that the parents would still have to get the consent of their child, even if the law passes.
“SB 1219’s requirement that providers disclose the contents of communication to the parents of minors would conflict with federal law,” Hastings told The Republic. “Under federal law, electronic-communication service providers must obtain consent from the content originator, which would be the children, not their parents.”
Parents also vary on opinion when it comes to the bill. One parent, Carla Nute of Paradise Valley, was unaware that she needed a court order in the first place. However, she simply feels she can ask her two children for their cell phones and read their texts at any time – without having to go to such measures, the media outlet reports.
Other parents see its advantage, especially those who think their child is a victim of cyberbullying. According to news channel WSAV-TV, many parents are worried their children are victims, but are too scared to come forward and tell their moms, dads, guardians or other adults they trust.
According to USA Today, if the law passes, it will be the first in the nation to do so, leaving some wondering if other states will develop a similar bill.