Parents can be a tough lot to deal with, especially for college students. It’s uncharted territory for everyone – parents need to learn how to let go, while students need to learn how to be independent while maintaining healthy relationships with those that bore them. It’s a transition that goes better for some than others. There are hurt feelings, suspicion, stress, and aggravation.
There usually aren’t restraining orders, though.
The case of 21-year-old Aubrey Ireland seems to be an extreme example of those transition days gone wrong – perhaps made all the more sad considering that from the sounds of it, parents and child got off to a promising start (with the admission that most of this story will never be known to the public). The musically talented younger Ireland shot off applications to a number of schools across the nation, getting scholarship offers from many. Aubrey’s parents wanted to encourage her to go wherever she wanted, regardless of money – and so, she went to the University of Cincinnati, an offer that did not come with scholarship money. The parents took on the bill, and if we stopped there, we’d have a story far from unheard of.
Things went off the rails once the geographic separation began. Ireland’s parents began taking 600 mile trips from the family’s hometown in Kansas to pay unannounced visits to their daughter – unfortunately, visits that turned out less than pleasant for all involved. According to Aubrey, her parents would harass her, accusing her of living a sex-and-drugs filled life, while telling school officials that Aubrey had mental problems and needed treatment. The Irelands defended those claims by presenting evidence – in so doing, revealing that they had installed tracking software on Aubrey’s phone and computer, allowing for full access to her communications.
As an aside, that kind of tracking software is becoming exceedingly easy to procure, with countless outlets selling them with limp warnings about how the products cannot be used surreptitiously – warnings doubtless written with the knowledge that they will be ignored. It’s worth mentioning that those warnings are there for a reason – it’s illegal for adults to spy on other adults without consent. Perhaps the Irelands hadn’t yet come to grips with their daughter becoming an adult herself.
Either way, the surveillance and the Irelands’ desire to take Aubrey out of school for mental evaluations convinced Aubrey, who had experienced much success as a singer in her program at the University of Cincinnati, to file a civil stalking order against her parents in September of this year, which was granted – the Irelands are not allowed to come into contact with their daughter for a full year. Attempts made by the Irelands to recoup the $66,000 they spent on their daughter’s education have thus far been rebuffed. For their part, the university seems to see the daughter’s side, hiring security to watch out for the Irelands during Aubrey’s performances, and offering to pay for the student’s final year at school.
The story itself reads like the tip of an iceberg the size of Antarctica, but there is one takeaway here that we can be sure of – just because it’s really, really, astonishingly easy to spy on other people’s digital lives today doesn’t mean you should. There tend to be consequences for that sort of thing.
Via NY Daily News