Snooping on your kid might just be the thing to do

What a strange thing it is to be a parent! Who knew you’d have to tune up all kinds of skills to be one, least of all your spying skills! For many parents, this one’s a tricky one.

You want to trust your child. But you are not sure. You have a feeling something is going on and you think you need to know about it before things get out of hand. Brushing aside a lurking feeling and ignoring your instincts is not a good idea. Of course, your teenager will throw the privacy argument at you. So, then, is your teenager entitled to complete privacy? Should you be snooping on her emails, texts, her social media?

Unfortunately, history does play a role. If your child has been very trustworthy, is open about her/his relationships, follows the rules mostly, does not skip school, and in general has been a conscientious child, your child can expect privacy. However, if in the past your child has not been trustworthy then don’t even bother with privacy. You are in charge and you need to do what you have to do to make sure your child is safe. Your child needs to know that privacy is a privilege, not a right.

While our parents just had to keep an eye on whom we hung out with, where we went and what we spoke about, much of what our kids do is not readily visible or even audible. The digital world transports our children into another world silently and swiftly. We could be in the same room as our kids and be totally clueless as to what is going on. Today, there are numerous parental control software available in the market. From simply blocking undesirable websites to getting a detailed report of what children view, download and share online, the scope of these services vary based on cost.

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When my daughter turned 13, she got her email account. We created it for her. But we told her that she cannot change the password until she is 18. We have told her upfront that we had the right to check her email any time. We had an instance of cyber bullying where my child was involved, which is why we felt this was necessary. While we always do want to respect our children, teenagers sometimes do stupid risky things. Naked pictures finding their way to social media having frightful repercussions is on the news regularly. I do not login everyday to check her email. But I need her to know that it is a possibility that I might. If my daughter gets a Facebook id, I will insist on being her friend till 18 years of age. Sure, I am aware of restricted lists and all kinds of ways around it, but I will do what I can!

Parents world over are split into two camps when it comes to spying on their kids. Some parents say they hated it when their own parents read their diaries and invaded their privacy, and would never do the same to their kids. Other parents call it monitoring, and  in today’s world of digital predators, one can never be too safe. If there is no hanky-panky going on, what is the harm in having access to your child’s digital foot print? Whatever it is you do, let it be a conscious parenting decision based on your child’s temperament and your values. Let it  not be something that you just roll along with unconsciously and find yourself rudely awakened to certain realities of today’s world. That way you won’t beat yourself up when something goes wrong and you would have done your best.

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