Should you monitor your child’s online activities? This question never fails to get a strong response.
When we published some statistics on teen texting a while back, there was a very animated discussion about this. On one side of the discussion are the people who feel that:
- Parents should trust their children
- Monitoring is the result of insecure parents
- Kids have the same right to privacy that adults do
On the other side of the debate are parents who feel that:
- Sometimes we need to protect kids from others (for example, in cases of cyber-bullying, online predators, etc.)
- Sometimes we need to protect kids from themselves (for example, in cases where they are making bad decisions about drugs, sexting, etc.)
- Kids don’t have the same right to privacy as adults, and this falls under the “my roof, my rules” portion of the parenting program.
Everyone wants to trust their kids, but we’ve found that parents apply a broad set of approaches to this, particularly in online situations. Some parents give their kids complete freedom to do what they please on the Internet and cell phones, some parents don’t allow their kids any access to these modern day communications tools, and many of us struggle along somewhere in the middle, trying to give our kids some freedom to learn how to use these new technologies, but trying to keep an eye on them at the same time.
Here at TxtWatcher we feel that, to be a responsible parent today, you have to accept the fact that kids are growing up more quickly than we did, and develop some new strategies for dealing with this. In the online world in particular, we think there are a few areas to focus on:
- Understand how your kids communicate with one another online
- Develop a strategy to educate your kids (and yourself) on the realities of online communication
- Monitor online dialogues within their network of friends and acquaintances.
While this may seem excessive to some parents, if you want to protect your kids from various life altering decisions and activities, you have to develop a monitoring strategy that allows them to benefit from technology and communication options while enabling you, the parent, to simply “know what is going on.” The treasure trove of information that your kids leave behind in the wake of their online dialogue is possibly the most powerful tool a parent has today. Bottom line: Taking advantage of this tool can make you a much more effective parent in many areas and keep your kids safe. Failure to take advantage of this tool can have dire consequences.
Tell us what you think!