Childrearing

Obsessively Monitoring Your Kids’ Social Media Isn’t Parenting, It’s Spying

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The article also argues the other side, that parents may not be totally hysterical in their urge to install spying apps and read everything their child is doing with their phone:

According to Gabel, at least 60 percent of parents believe they should have control over exactly what their kids do on their phones and other technology, which has translated to nearly $1 billion in annual sales for products like his. And the numbers continue to grow.

And while these parents might seem like the ultimate control freaks, recent news suggests they might have good reason.

In Georgia, the appellate court has revived a negligence lawsuit against the parents of a boy who allegedly created a false Facebook profile of a female classmate. The court said that a reasonable jury could very well conclude that the parents are liable for having “failed to exercise due care in supervising and controlling” their son’s activity.

Knowing that I could be held liable for my child’s bad internet behavior is pretty terrifying and I can completely see how a parent would be motivated to spy on their kid’s every digital move. However, I still argue that teaching them how to handle themselves appropriately is a weapon far more effective than spying. For instance- if I thought my child may be immature enough to create a false Facebook profile for someone else then they would not have a phone or unmonitored access to the internet to begin with. That may sound naive and simplistic but before my kids are allowed to use Facebook or any other social media, they will need to be at an age and level of trustworthiness where I am not concerned that they will do something wrong.

That said, I don’t see an issue with some monitoring and I will be making it clear to my kids that I will always have access to their phones and computers in case I become suspicious that something is amiss in their online activity. As long as I am paying for the internet, I will be in charge of it. However, I will not be the parent to read every text and pore over every email. Once the decision is made to give my children the chance to go online, it will be because I trust them and I feel they are adequately prepared to make the right choices. I am convinced that the more taboo I make it, the greater lengths they will go to thwart and work around my efforts. After all, they will have friends with unlimited internet access- I will never be able to control it all. The best thing I can do as a parent is teach them responsible internet behavior and hope the lessons have sunk in.

(Image: Nikola Solev/Shutterstock)

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