Irish actress and comedian Deirdre O’Kane has admitted that she and her husband spy on their children to make sure that they are not being exposed to online dangers.
O’Kane, who stars in the hit TV series Moone Boy, says she is worried about her children’s safety, especially as you can never be sure who is watching them online.
The mother-of-two said: “The first time my daughter went to the shops by herself my husband didn’t want to let her go.
“I said, ‘You have to let her go’. I told him if he wanted he could go to the other side of the road and watch her. And he did have a bit of a spy. I think every parent does that.”
The 45-year-old actress says that today’s generation live in a totally different world to the one she grew up in – and with that comes different threats.
She said: “There was no Facebook when we were younger and it really does worry me. I hate it, I really do.
“There are 10-year-olds on Instagram and for them it’s just fun, they’re sharing photographs, but it just terrifies me.
“I don’t know how you’re meant to police it and keep an eye on it. You have to be all over it as a parent, you cannot be casual about it.
“I would like to be a relaxed parent but you just can’t. The internet is now a part of their life.”
While many people would say that it is perfectly understandable for parents to want to make sure their children are not being led astray online, it does open up an interesting ethical debate.
Many would argue that children are entitled to a certain amount of privacy. Others would question how far the snooping would go once the parents discovered that their children were simply doing research for their homework or visiting a social media site such as Facebook.
Some might suggest that it opens up a more serious debate about the state snooping into the online lives of its citizens, and who is to say what is best for somebody else’s own good?
O’Kane said she would draw the line at creating a fake Facebook account in order to spy on her children’s Facebook activity.
She said: “I would never do that. I would be afraid of what I might discover. That’s like reading a diary.”
The actress has been busy with Moone Boy for the last few years but is also an accomplished stand-up comedian. She is looking to revive that career and will play her first live gig in six years in Co Wicklow on Friday.
O’Kane has also hinted that there might be a Moone Boy movie on the horizon. Watch this space.