Gone are the days when you kept track of your kids by tying a string of bells on them (or tying them to a tree, depending on the kid). Apparently so are the days when you grilled them at dinner about how school went that day.
We live in the digital world, where digital parenting is the new norm. It's 11 a.m., do you know where your children are? Look them up on www.infinitecampus.com, a "student information service" that's been around pretty much since the Internet was invented (well, 1996, anyway).
And it's not just about keeping tabs on where the kids are roaming during school hours--school districts in 43 states, encompassing 6 million students, use the Web-based system to give parents remote access to grades, attendance, behavior, school calendars and other data.
As National Education Policy Center blogger Gene Glass describes the software suite, with more than a little Orwellian gloom: "Children's activities and their performance are surveilled while in school as never in the past. The campus is everywhere and even follows them home."
Critics, like Glass, say infinitecampus is invasive, while proponents say it keeps teachers, parents and students alike focused on education performance. Download the smartphone app and see for yourself what it feels like to be Big Brother.