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It is agreed that it is relatively challenging to resist the temptation to know what your child is doing or who he/she is talking to when they have accidentally left their phone unlocked. After you get over the confusion and decide that there is no significant harm in peeking, you go down the rabbit hole. We all have been there, and most of us do not feel guilty about it. Well, a little guilty, but not proud.
There have been many incidents where parents literally spy on all their sons and daughters with the help of high-grade tech. There was an incident where a father spied on his three teenage daughters using keylogging software to check what they used to type and send to their friends.
If NSA-level tech were available to them, then the condition would have been very different. The governments of countries and tech giants like Google have already admitted that they do not respect privacy.
Should parents respect privacy?
There is a very logical argument here. People say that privacy does not exist on the Internet, and it is a fact. We should let our kids know about it. It is not something we dealt with when we were children. So we cannot compare what we used to write in our diaries as children versus what our children post on the Internet, even with their privacy settings on point.
Both parties, parents, and children, are learning with time. But, some things are the same even today. Kids will do what they want, and parents will do what they want. It means that if you give a child an opportunity, they will push the boundaries, and if you give a parent a chance, they will push back.
Actively spying on your children goes much further than all these things. There is a subtle difference between knowing what your children are doing on the Internet and stalking them. You should be mindful of what your children are up to on their social media. But, stalking them is indirectly a breach of trust. Not only that, but it is also a way to avoid awkward talks about sensitive topics. However, you should know that sneaking on your children is not a substitute for it.
The parents who have had the chance to talk to children about graphic content on the Internet, like pornographic videos, know that it is equally awkward for both the child and the parent. Yet, it is better to talk to them about it and let them know that these things exist online and it is not meant for children. It is better than catching them on those websites with evidence.
Many parents found out surprising things about their children while they were snooping on them. The father spying on his daughters found out how his eldest daughter tried smoking marijuana. She was thirteen at that time.
Another mother found out how her son was having suicidal thoughts. It seems like the son found a site on the Internet which he considers a safe place to talk. The mother found it out that it is an issue she needs to work on by making her son realize that he can speak to his mom safely.
Our kids are growing up in an environment where the government, tech giants, and almost anyone with tech knowledge and a particular standing can easily spy on them. Children should be educated about the dangers lurking online. Furthermore, parents should teach the kids how to browse safely.
Now the moral question, is it right to spy on your children digitally?
There is no binary answer to it, in fact, it is grey, and not black or white. If you want an opinion, here is one. Whether it is right to read your child’s texts depends on the child’s personality, age, and behavior. However, snooping on your children is not essential. What is important is to discuss responsible behavior on the Internet with them.
It will let them know what is under the limit and what is over the limit. They should understand that forwarding inappropriate messages to unfamiliar people, or even familiar people, in that case, texts that include drugs, violence, or sexual content, can get them into a lot of trouble.
It will be better to let them know that you will be monitoring their phones from time to time. Also, it will be best if you educate them about these things before you hand them a phone for the first time. It will be best to keep some rigidity in the rules in the beginning and relax them as your children grow older.
You can ask their permission to see their messages, and if something is off, they should know that they can always rely on you. They should be comfortable enough to talk to you about such things. Now, here is something for you that you can use as a backup if things go south or to protect your children on the Internet.
It is a fantastic parental control tool that gives you insights into how your children spend their time on the Internet. With Avosmart, you can block websites with sexual content, violent content, or anything that you think is unsuitable for your kids. You can also block apps on the Play Store or channels on YouTube if it is inappropriate for children. Furthermore, you can put time limits on apps and games, which will lock themselves if children spend a lot of time on them.