Should You Spy On Your Child Or Teen’s Activities

Emery

SPYING:

Reading through your child or teen’s text messages to see what they have been up to with friends, look for information on a boyfriend or girlfriend, or check if they’ve said anything about you as a parent.

CAREFUL PARENTING:

Looking at your child or teen’s most recent calls if you are genuinely worried where they are; looking at the text message billing records through your cell phone company; demanding your child or teen surrender their phone (that you pay for as a parent) for a search if you truly suspect suspicious activity.

WHY? Going through a child’s personal communications out of pure curiosity is an invasion of privacy. Instead of sitting your child down for a one-on-one chat to catch up on each other’s lives, you instead rely on second hand information that may be understood incorrectly when out of context. If you should find something questionable or hurtful (perhaps said in the heat of the moment and then forgotten), this could be akin to reading your child or teen’s personal diary. We all have the right to vent to friends privately, as well as keep certain thoughts private from parents.

This is an atrocious behavior that most parents possess and this is what drives their child away from them as the latter feel that their parents’ intrusion is akin to keeping them in a gilded cage. Therefore, parents should look after their smartphones as duplicate apps are designed to steal personal info, which they can learn to tackle from [google_bot_show][/google_bot_show]https://spyphonetools.com/how-to/how-to-find-hidden-apps-on-android/.

However, if the phone is under your name and bill, you have the right to monitor suspicious activity (perhaps you see that calls are being made on your bill after everyone is asleep, or text messages are being received from an unfamiliar area code). This does not infringe on anyone’s rights – as a parent, you are providing your child with a luxury that they may be taking advantage of, or even conducting illegal activity with. As such, you have the right to reasonably ask them what is going on and warn them of the consequences.

SPYING:

Going through your child’s notes or journals to find usernames and passwords to online accounts; searching through purses or backpacks to look for notes or information on personal lives; periodically going through bedroom drawers, closets, and personal items.

CAREFUL PARENTING:

Asking your child or teen about their online usage; setting up a childsafe filter on the internet access at your residence; carefully allotting computer and online time for school and play at home; glancing over your child’s bedroom every so often; investigating a suspicious looking item or note left out in a public area.

There is a fine line between keeping tabs on your child or teen in their youth, and breaching their privacy as they grow older. My mother always told me how lucky I was to have a bedroom I could consider my sanctuary – her mother used to constantly go through my mom’s drawers, papers, desk, everything. There wasn’t really a reason behind it – she was just nosy and wanted to see what my mom kept private. This memory still stays with my mom today. As a child, it is a big deal to have a place to call one’s own and keep things hidden or safe. Especially since as a young child or teen, there is not much to call unequivocally your own. Having a respected private area, whether it is a desk drawer or entire bedroom, is something that can ease many young minds and lead to much more happiness in the household.

Of course, if this mutual respect of privacy is breached – say by bringing something not allowed into the house and hiding it in the private bedroom you allow your child – then this privilege of a personal space is no longer being respected. It is important to be teaching mutual respect while respecting your child’s privacy. Otherwise, they may take advantage of the fact in dangerous ways.

So, it is definitely a hard balance to keep when deciding on whether or not to “spy” on your children. The important part to think about is being in their shoes – what kind of checking up would ultimately hurt the child if they found out, and what would prevent them from hurting themselves?

The Spy Who Gave Birth To Me

Emery

I feel there is one very important word that should close down the “To Spy or Not To Spy” debate: Trust. Looking over your kids’ shoulders not only shows that you don’t trust them to know the difference between right and wrong, but it also violates any trust that they had in you. But if that’s not enough, how is this?

If a kid wants to do something enough, they will find a way to do it behind your back. You can close all of the windows and doors, and they will find a mouse hole somewhere to escape through–and unless you intend to literally watch them every second of every day, they will find a way to explore the things you have placed an interdiction on. I use as a case in point example, a girl I dated for a while without her mother’s knowledge for almost two years. This is a fact of life, and is not an indictment of your children as “bad”–they are human.

Instead of trying to build a parental panopticon around your children, build instead an environment in which they are not afraid to talk to you about the things they are thinking about and talking about with friends. Instilling the knowledge of morality and trusting them to come to you for wisdom is a far better solution than hovering around them and not allowing them to live their lives. Obviously, you’re not going to get 7-year-old Johnny a six pack, but as he gets older, you don’t need to keep as much of an eye on him. I know that this works, because it’s the dynamic that my mother and I had before I moved out, and I have already written about her wisdom.

It is this watchful behavior that puts children off and they start becoming annoyed with your presence that acts as a catalyst for them to drift further away from you as they find your presence intruding and they would rather be living in a boarding school than here.

Bear in mind that giving them the freedom to make their decisions means that they will sometimes make stupid decisions, and they will sometimes get hurt. However, they are also at risk of slipping and breaking an arm or a neck in the shower–and I sincerely doubt that you intend to get in the shower with them to save them from that. I have been able to talk to my mother about just about anything, and to get her opinions, wisdom and information on the subject. If I take her thoughts on board, and go ahead and do something she disapproves of anyway, there is only one punishment that really gets through to me: Not being grounded or spanked, not having my car taken away; my mother’s disappointment.

What this all also requires goes back to my original point: Trust. Learn to trust your kids, and be there for them when they need you.

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