Monitoring Phones:

GTW's Mommy

Silver Member
#1
Do you monitor your children's phones, ie texts, facebook, internet etc.? How do you do it? I mean I know they want privacy. Do you just say, hand it over for your weekly check? My little sister who is 15 is having issues and I told my mom she needs to be monitoring her phone. Just curious how others go about it.
 

LisaY

Bronze Member
#2
I think there are apps/tools etc for monitoring phones.

I would absolutely monitor if I had a minor child using all that technology. Heck yeah they want privacy, but my rule: under my roof I am the dictator. My house is my castle and while I will grant privacy, I will also monitor what I want (i.e. technology). They can make up and live by their own rules when it's their castle.

I hope your little sister isn't in to much trouble.... or having too much. Being a teenager is rough.
I want to be 10 again. :)
 
#4
I'm usually the odd vote on here - but unless a teenager is depressed, suicidal, showing signs of drug abuse, having a relationship with someone much older, is pregnant or threatening to run away - I'm not a fan of monitoring their phone.

If you want them to behave like adults, treat them like adults and allow them some privacy to communicate openly with their closest friends. My kids are in their young 20's now, and I never once monitored their phones/computers, read their diaries/letters etc, searched their closets/cars/lockers - etc. I tried instead when I noticed them under some personal distress to sit down and have a one-on-one candid conversation without it being a lecture. I'd always say there is nothing you can tell me that will cause me to stop loving you. Then at that point, they became very transparent and candid.

I'm glad my parents didn't snoop through my pants pockets for the notes passed around at school from my friends, or letters from girlfriends (before texting/email LOL), read my sisters' diaries or eavesdropped on our phone calls. All of us would have been embarrassed at some of the inappropriate words that would have been written when our teenage hormones were raging. Sure we made a few mistakes (and my kids did too) - but they were learning experiences to become self-reliant adults.
 
#5
I'm usually the odd vote on here - but unless a teenager is depressed, suicidal, showing signs of drug abuse, having a relationship with someone much older, is pregnant or threatening to run away - I'm not a fan of monitoring their phone.

If you want them to behave like adults, treat them like adults and allow them some privacy to communicate openly with their closest friends. My kids are in their young 20's now, and I never once monitored their phones/computers, read their diaries/letters etc, searched their closets/cars/lockers - etc. I tried instead when I noticed them under some personal distress to sit down and have a one-on-one candid conversation without it being a lecture. I'd always say there is nothing you can tell me that will cause me to stop loving you. Then at that point, they became very transparent and candid.

I'm glad my parents didn't snoop through my pants pockets for the notes passed around at school from my friends, or letters from girlfriends (before texting/email LOL), read my sisters' diaries or eavesdropped on our phone calls. All of us would have been embarrassed at some of the inappropriate words that would have been written when our teenage hormones were raging. Sure we made a few mistakes (and my kids did too) - but they were learning experiences to become self-reliant adults.
I agree with TDC... Our son is 15 (will be 16 in February). As long as his grades are good, acting like himself, etc. I see no reason to. Once in a great while I look at Twitter - but just as a general search, not through his account. He mainly talks sports with the guys so not too much to worry about at this point :). He plays high school athletics - gets up at 6:30 in the morning for practice, goes to school all day, with homework in the evening he doesn't have time to get into trouble!
 

askipper

Silver Member
#6
Absolutely, TDC. Never once monitored my now 20 year old son's phone or laptop, never once searched his room, and if I did come across notes in his pants pockets while doing laundry, I handed them to him still folded and unread. I believe that because I respected his privacy, he always wanted to earn that continued respect. We'd make dinner together once a week and chat so I was always very in touch with him. I treat my 13 year old son the same way and he is responding the way his older brother did.
 
#7
I'm glad some of you agree. Yep, respect their privacy and I think the majority of teenagers will do their darnedest to maintain that level of mutual respect and mutual trust. My kids constantly told us (and bragged to their friends) that we were not helicoptering parents. And my kids in particular did everything they could to keep themselves in this good status and the privileges/freedoms gained.

Sure if they had screwed up - and had not come clean with my wife or me in our candid conversations, We would've been like "white on rice" in monitoring their activities more closely.
 

cowlady

Silver Member
#8
I do random checks, and if they are frantically trying to delete things before they had it over they know they are not going to have a phone for long and that is my clue to check more often. I just ask them to hand it over, I just mainly check pictures and then the history on the browser.

Yes, there are several Key Stroke programs you can get to have every keystroke emailed to you at the end of the night. That is for the computer and the phone.
 

Marion

Bronze Member
#9
I'm glad some of you agree. Yep, respect their privacy and I think the majority of teenagers will do their darnedest to maintain that level of mutual respect and mutual trust. My kids constantly told us (and bragged to their friends) that we were not helicoptering parents. And my kids in particular did everything they could to keep themselves in this good status and the privileges/freedoms gained.

Sure if they had screwed up - and had not come clean with my wife or me in our candid conversations, We would've been like "white on rice" in monitoring their activities more closely.
Agree, we must have been raised by the same generation parents....
 
#10
If my kids were abusing a privilege to the point where I needed to monitor its use......
The privilege would simply be revoked.......
I don't really know what I'll do when my kids get to the teenage years. However, I found your comment interesting.

How would you know they are not abusing the privilege if you weren't monitoring it? So basically you assume the extended privileges are being handled with maturity just because there hasn't been any negative consequence that has come to light?

I know I abused many privileges as a teenager, and was extended a great deal of privacy....and my parents never once knew that I was abusing the privileges. I was a good kid with a good reputation....but given the freedom, I couldn't turn down doing the opposite of what was expected. I just never got caught. I was lucky enough to where my choices based on the privacy I had did not haunt me going into adulthood.
 
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#11
I think checking your kids phones and activity on the many social networks and apps is not only your right as a parent, as the one who pays for said phone and service, but it is also your duty. Now, I am not saying you should check it daily, but they should be checked. I also don't mean you should make it a big production asking for it, I think you should randomly pick up their phone and check it. This is a protection of you, your household and definitely of your child. I have heard way too many stories of kids who were otherwise great kids, who were texting, chatting and just having overall interactions with random people on their phones via any of the many communication apps (most many of us parents don't even know about.) If you check it randomly and never find any red flags, then you can check less often, but if you find red flags, then there needs to be some serious guidelines set in place (these guidelines should already be in place the moment you hand them a phone). There are lots of predators out there and they are always looking for new and better ways to contact kids...ALWAYS!

For those of you who think they deserve their privacy and you don't want to snoop around in their business...well...sorry, but their business is your business. I don't think monitoring your kids cell phone habits is "helicoptering" in an effort to make sure they are making safe decisions...It turns into helicoptering when you go back to them and discuss their regular discussions you might see within their texts. Like: " So I saw that Debbie likes Timmy, I thought you liked Timmy...." etc. etc.

Don't get caught up in trying to be your kids friend, or trying to treat them like adults...they are not adults and they are not your friends...you are there to protect them...and no I don't mean hover over them...just make the right choices as their parent, as the person who is supposed to protect them, not walking on eggshells around them so that they don't tell their friends what a horrible parent you are. You really shouldn't worry about what their friends think of you and your parenting style.

So and so's parents dont' ever check their phones!....blah blah blah...well then I guess their parents don't care what they do...There are LOTS of parents who don't care and don't want to be bothered with what their kids are doing...and that's pretty sad.


http://www.netsmartz.org/CellPhones

http://www.netsmartz.org/predators
 
#12
I don't really know what I'll do when my kids get to the teenage years. However, I found your comment interesting.

How would you know they are not abusing the privilege if you weren't monitoring it? So basically you assume the extended privileges are being handled with maturity just because there hasn't been any negative consequence that has come to light?

I know I abused many privileges as a teenager, and was extended a great deal of privacy....and my parents never once knew that I was abusing the privileges. I was a good kid with a good reputation....but given the freedom, I couldn't turn down doing the opposite of what was expected. I just never got caught. I was lucky enough to where my choices based on the privacy I had did not haunt me going into adulthood.

I think that's sort of my point and TDC's point too......

You teach them right from wrong and lead by example.
After that they are free to make their own choices and accept the attending consequences.


One of which would be the suspension a privilege if they are caught abusing it.
You can't punish someone for something they haven't done yet or that they are only suspected of doing.

And you can't protect them from every single thing life has to offer.
The best lessons in life are the ones learned the hard way.



Remember that kids will do what their parents TELL them to do while the parent is present.
Kids will do what they SEE their parents doing when the parent is not around.
 
#13
We randomly check our child's social activities. Now less frequently than before because we are more comfortable. That being said, last year we noticed extremely offensive material posted on one of this "friends" on Ask.FM. We had to have a conversation with our child about that stuff and what you should not be posting online (which in that case pretty much included where the kid lived, phone number, etc. - together with pictures, that was prime material for offenders). Anyway, my guess is that kid's parents did not monitor his activities but, personally, I think they should.
 
#14
I think that's sort of my point and TDC's point too......

You teach them right from wrong and lead by example.
After that they are free to make their own choices and accept the attending consequences.
...and if those consequences include them making their "own wrong choice" by inviting their new 13 year old "facebook friend" who loves soccer just as much as them over to the house to hang out...or even worse, to meet at the park to hang out, kick the soccer ball, etc. only to find out that 13 year old girl is actually a 42 year old guy...oh well, you made a bad choice, you suffer the consequences my sweet daughter...I know I could a prevented this by paying a bit more attention to who you were talking to on that phone that you keep in your hand 24/7, but well, you know, I didn't want to hover...I didn't want you to tell your friends what a snoop your mom or dad is...I didn't want you to "hate" me for looking at your private messages...

I'd rather be labeled over-protective or even paranoid than to have to look back and wish I was...
 
#15
...and if those consequences include them making their "own wrong choice" by inviting their new 13 year old "facebook friend" who loves soccer just as much as them over to the house to hang out...or even worse, to meet at the park to hang out, kick the soccer ball, etc. only to find out that 13 year old girl is actually a 42 year old guy...oh well, you made a bad choice, you suffer the consequences my sweet daughter...I know I could a prevented this by paying a bit more attention to who you were talking to on that phone that you keep in your hand 24/7, but well, you know, I didn't want to hover...I didn't want you to tell your friends what a snoop your mom or dad is...I didn't want you to "hate" me for looking at your private messages...

I'd rather be labeled over-protective or even paranoid than to have to look back and wish I was...

All due respect.......if you have concerns of that nature with your children.....
.....you may want to look at what's really going on with them.


I will add this much......my kids didn't have a cell phone or access to Facebook at 13.
They didn't get a cell phone until they were old enough to work and pay for it themselves.
At 13 there computer was for school work only and they were installed in the computer lab.
I had parental controls installed that blocked pretty much anything that I didn't give specific permission to access.


So if your kids have a cell phone at 13 with unlimited access to social media......well......
That's on you.
 
#16
All due respect accepted...checking phones is no different than installing parental controls...but that is a good point. There are parental control apps that can be installed on phones, ones that monitor activity and ones that block activity...

I don't think our opinions are as far off as you might want to admit. I will add, how do you know if you are to have such concerns if you aren't monitoring and keeping somewhat of a watchful eye, no matter if that watchful eye is pre-installed parental controls or regular "manual" reviews of their phone use.

Btw, I used 13 as a random example, if people don't think a 15 or 16 year old can also get caught up in the same types of online traps, well then, they need to get their heads out of the sand...

Finally, I am not saying you need to "have concerns of that nature" with your children to try to be proactive in the area of protecting them. What should create such concerns are the facts that those issues do exist and their existence alone should be enough to want to protect your kids from them. If anyone thinks the time to make the effort to protect their children is AFTER they see signs, they are going to find out it's way too late...just ask those parents of kids who have fallen into the traps of teenage drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sex abuse, etc.
 
#17
Also, I feel like the "I raised my kids to the best of my ability now it's time to let them make their own choices and accept responsibility/consequences for those choices" time starts around 16, when they start to have that built in freedom that comes with driving...but isn't in full "hands-off" mode until they are away at college.
 
#18
I think that's sort of my point and TDC's point too......
One of which would be the suspension a privilege if they are caught abusing it.
You can't punish someone for something they haven't done yet or that they are only suspected of doing.
So are we saying checking their phones is a punishment?

If we are trying to argue against checking their phones, then how do you suspend privileges if you never know what is going on with their phone/online activity?

Here's the deal, when my kids were handed their phones for the first time, they were told what they could and could not access with their phone, which apps were okay and also which types of apps needed parental approval before they were even installed. Also included in those rules was a clear pronouncement that their devices were ours and were on loan from us which meant we had access to review their devices at any time. Violation of any of those rules and guidelines would result in suspension of privileges.
 
#19
"So and so's parents dont' ever check their phones!....blah blah blah...well then I guess their parents don't care what they do...There are LOTS of parents who don't care and don't want to be bothered with what their kids are doing...and that's pretty sad."

And there are "lots of parents" like myself, TDC and Coach that feel all that phone checking and snooping isn't productive or necessary because our kids have earned and continue to earn our trust, respect, and some privacy. Don't assume we don't care and don't want to be bothered...you couldn't be more wrong.
 
#20
I am not suggesting daily or weekly checks, just random checks, no different than the random drug checks our teen athletes are subject to at school...if you have nothing to hide, then these checks/tests are absolutely no big deal...

So you check and find nothing...the trust bucket stays full or even grows, you check and you find some red flags, some issues, etc...the trust bucket springs a leak and you openly discuss ways to fix those leaks...my opinion is that the harm of not checking far outweighs what should be the "zero harm" of checking, ESPECIALLY if the child is told from the start that their phone should remain available for random reviews.

What are parents worried about, really? Damaging trust in the other direction? Worrying that the kids won't trust the parents whom they label as snoops? Kids who think their parents are "snoops" because they are monitored in any way tend to have something to hide.

As it is with anything in the area of trust/snooping/privacy in the parenting realm, I do not disagree that each parent must strive the find the right balance as it applies to their child.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/risa-ferman/what-are-your-kids-really_b_3007504.html
 
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