Should You Monitor Your Teen? (Kids Privacy and Expert Opinions)

It is the responsibility of the parent to know what their kids are up to. However going through the child’s emails, cell phones, reading their journals or snooping through their rooms is not an acceptable way of keeping a check on your children. For parents whose children have stepped into teenage hood, it can be difficult to know how much privacy should be given to their children and where they should draw the line.

With the majority of the lives of teenagers taking place over the internet, parents can feel clueless as to what they may be up to which is why they should make the internet a safer place for them. Monitoring your child’s activities over the internet is acceptable as long as you are doing so to make the internet a safe place for them.

Ignoring the suspicion they may have regarding their children looking up inappropriate websites or receiving texts can be difficult for parents and it should not be done as well. You need to be responsible for the behavior of your children however a more acceptable method of doing so is to place parental control software rather than asking for their passwords to check what they have been up to.

According to the PEW Research Center

The new report published by the Pew Research Center describes that parents of children between ages 13 -17 take plenty of steps to do surveillance on children and teens. They used to of monitoring digital activities, and also encourage children to use technological devices appropriately connected to cyberspace.

Reports have further added six different ways of teen’s monitoring:

1. Parents Monitor Social Media, Browsing History & also use Parental Control Apps

Parents used to of keeping their children and teens under surveillance online activities by using monitoring apps for digital devices. Almost 1 out of 6 parents said they usually check teens visited websites or social media profile. Additionally, half of the parents say they keep teens phone call records or text messages. However, few of the parents do believe in using parental control apps or to use location tracking tools to know about their teen’s location.

  • Almost 61% of the parents have checked browsing activities of teens
  • 60% of parents have checked social media profiles of teens
  • 48% of the parents have kept the call records and text messages of teens
  • 39% of the parents have used cell phone parental control software to filter, block and monitor browsing activities of teens
  • 16% of parents have used parental monitoring apps to restrict phone activities of teens
  • 16% of the parents have used location tracking software to monitor teens location via cell phone

2. Parents do “Digital Grounding or Stop Teens from Online activities

Parents in the majority of the cases do believe in digital grounding and also stop teen’s online activities to the fullest. I mean, parents discuss with the children and teens that how they should use digital devices such as cell phones, and tablets connected to the internet. However, parents also make penalties for teens by snatching their gadgets and mobile phone to stop their online activities. Parents further say that “digital grounding” has become the need of the hour irrespective of their behavior online.

  • Almost 65% of the parents say that have get back teens cell phones as punishment to teens
  • Half of the parents restricted teen’s activities online in certain period of time
  • 92% of teens according to PEW Survey say they regularly go online but 24% use internet
  • Almost 3 quarters of teens own their individual mobile phone devices
  • 55% of parents do believe in limiting the online or screen time of teens

3. Parents know Teen’s Social Media Accounts & Email Login Credentials

There are plenty of parents in the society who are quite tech-savvy and they used to have passwords of teen accounts and mobile phones, but having children devices login info is rare. They want to know about social media activities and cell phone pass-codes.

  • 48% of the parents say they know the password of teens email account
  • 43% of the parents have their interest to get their hands on teen’s cellphone password
  • 35% of parents say they have at least one social media account password of their teens

4. Parents Follows /Friending Teens on Social Media accounts

Parents also try another trick to keeps teens social media activities under constant surveillance, they make their teens friends or follow their social media accounts. So, being teen’s friends they will be able to know what teens like, share, talk and what sort of friend’s teens have on their social networking accounts.

  • Almost 44% of parents have become friends of teens on Facebook
  • One out of 10 parents follows teens on their twitter account
  • 56% of the parents become friends with teens on Facebook, follow on twitter and other major social media platforms

5. Majority of Parents Discuss about Online Behavior being on Web to Teens

Since the technology has evolved in terms of cell phones, tablets, and in terms of cyberspace parents have reservations about teen’s online activities. They don’t want to get their teens trapped by the bully’s online, online stalkers, and other kinds of predators. Moreover, they want to prevent teens from online dating to harbor sexual fantasies on their mobile phones and from plenty of others alike. So, parents discuss with teens how they should behave online.

  • Almost 9 out of 10 parents have discuss with the parents about Netiquette of internet
  • Similarly parents have discuss with teens what is appropriate to share online and when sharing becomes shaming
  • 92% of the parents have discussed with teens that when civility online a duty and when is it a risk for them
  • 95% parents have discussed what appropriate content to view online using digital devices is

6. Mothers are more likely to Discuss about Online Behavior with Teens

When comparing with the fathers about discussing online behavior with teens, mothers are far more likely to discuss with teens about online behavior. They are always reluctant towards teens to guide tens of what to do when to do and how to do on the web.

  • 63% of mothers and 43% of fathers used to discuss with teens their behavior at school, home, social life and on the digital world
  • 46% of the mothers and 32% of fathers discuss with teens what to share online and want they should not
  • 46% of Mothers and 29% of fathers talk with teens about what sort of content they should access online
  • 41% of mothers and 32% of fathers discuss with teens about their real –life and online behavior with others

Trust is a sensitive issue which is why keeping a check on your children can have repercussions as well. When kids know that their parents trust them, they are more likely to take the correct decision. Parents should let their children know what they approve of and what is considered wrong and that the end decision is the child. Showing that you trust them and involving yourself in their lives to an acceptable level will allow them to make the right decision as well.

Child experts too believe that children should be given the independence to make decisions themselves rather than having their choices dictated. However, with #cyberbullying, #sexting, and #cyber-stalking on the rise, several parents believe that it is important for them to monitor the activities of their children. While on the other hand, some parents do believe that the privacy of their children must be respected. They believe that children have the minds to make their own decision and this too is the parent’s responsibility to instill in their child the ability to choose between right and wrong.

With such perils associated with the use of the internet, parenting skills are of utmost importance than ever. Parents need to let their children know that certain guidelines must be followed and that these cannot be compromised upon. According to the executive director of Net Family News Inc., parents should advise their children constantly about the activities they pursue online, what kind of websites they visit and if they see content which makes them uncomfortable. The use of the internet should be turned into an activity in which both the parent and child participate.

Furthermore, parents should also use the internet along with their children to help develop in their thinking skills and how to analyze the information they come across. Everything on the internet cannot be trusted and you need to illustrate this point to your child.

It would also be a good idea if you take the help of your child and get yourself acquainted with how various social media networking sites work. Ask your child to help set an account for you, preferably on the same social media network he/she uses most frequently. In this manner, you can also become friends with your teen on social media which would allow you to get insight into their activities and what they interact with their friends about.

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