Today, New York State Senator and former police officer (better known for his crusade against sagging pants), Eric Adams, published a video on YouTube instructing parents on how to search the rooms and backpacks of their kids for drugs and weapons. His calls for parents to invade the privacy of their children has attracted considerable press attention, even though his YouTube video only has 170 views (as of 4:30 pm on January 31). NYRA believes that all people, including young people, have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that following Sen. Adams call to rifle through their things is misguided and dangerous. NYRA President, Jeffrey Nadel, will be telling this to Sen. Adams directly when he appears on CNN’s Headline News today at 6:15 pm to discuss the topic.
Sen. Adams’ pleas for parents to spy on their kids is unnecessary. Despite a great deal of focus on “out of control youth” young people today are in fact safer, better citizens than their parents were. 2009, the latest year we have statistics for, was the safest year in the United States since 1968. Indeed the murder rate hasn’t been this low since 1964. Drug use among 12 graders has plummeted 32.6% since the 70’s according to a Monitoring the Future report. This means that kids today, the ones Sen. Adams hopes parents will spy on, are in fact less likely to be violent drug users than their parents were.
Instead of invading the privacy of their kids, parents should try talking to them. An open, trusting relationship in the family is the best guard against teen crime and drug use. If your son or daughter trusts you, respects you and feels he or she can talk to you honestly, you will have far better information about their lives than you could get by snooping. If your kids trust you, they will come to you when they are in trouble or need advice and seriously listen to what you have to say. Going through their things breaks down this bond of trust, pushes your kids away from you and your home and potentially into dangerous situations.
Be sure to tune in to CNN’s Headline News at 6:15 PM Eastern time to watch NYRA President Jeffrey Nadel explain this to Sen. Adams.