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Is Spying On Our Teenagers Good Parenting?

  1. Seeker7 profile image94
    Seeker7posted 5 years ago

    The internet seems to be getting flooded with new technology such as Android Tracking App and so on. This software basically allows parents to track and view all their kids messages on their mobiles etc - without the kids knowing anything about it! Now, while I do concede that for safety reasons this software/technology could be very useful, I think the fact that it encourages parents to spy on their children makes me feel very uncomfortable. What do other people think - is it a good way forward or not?

    1. Justjed profile image60
      Justjedposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I feel it is necessary to keep a tab on them. Well in a case i know, the monitoring was done mainly because of the house of the househelp handling the children. The truth is they cant be monitored all the time. But this parental instinct would want to make you do such all because of the best interest for them

    2. Dave Mathews profile image60
      Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      If checking on their internet activity keeps them safe and out of danger and trouble go for it.
      If checking up on their choice of friends, their habits ie. use of alcohol and or drugs, go for it.
      If enforcing a curfew keeps them in check, go for it.
      If going through their room and their drawers or their bag for porn or anthing else that might get them in trouble like maybe a gun or a knife, go for it.

      You are the parent, the teacher, the conscience, the home police, you do what it takes to keep you kid out of trouble including preventative measures.

      1. A Troubled Man profile image62
        A Troubled Manposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        That's it Dave, teach your kids to be dishonest and deceiving. Why bother teaching them morals or ethics when you can simply be a dictator. smile

    3. LoriSoard profile image80
      LoriSoardposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      My children have trust until they lose the trust and then they have to earn it back. I don't "spy." I point blank tell them that I pay for the cell phone, Internet, etc. and reserve the right to look at it if I feel they are doing something immoral or dangerous to their well-being.

  2. ALUR profile image67
    ALURposted 5 years ago

    I don't know if it should be deemed "Spying" if you are aware of your children's doings, especially when it comes to internet. We seem to think children know right from wrong at all times. Sadly they are still innocent in certain regards.

    1. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I think you've made a very good and valid point, but I think when you are looking at messages etc. without someone's consent - even if it is your own child, then I would class this as spying. If the kids found out I'm sure they would consider it at the very least prying but many would themselves use the word 'spying'.

      1. teaches12345 profile image92
        teaches12345posted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Whether is is spying or not, parents need to keep tabs on a child's use of the internet.  I would let children know that monitoring will be done so that you can protect them from harmful communication. Children are not capable of discerning right from wrong at times and parents need to intercede on their behalf.

        1. Seeker7 profile image94
          Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I don't have a problem with this at all since your being honest and up front wtih your kids - and yes, there are many dangers on the internet and I would feel the same way. But what I am uncomfortable with is parents who are going behind their kids backs and searching through their private phone messages etc..

  3. SmartAndFun profile image91
    SmartAndFunposted 5 years ago

    I think that some "helicopter" parents could take this to the extreme and get way too far into the minutae of their kids' business, to the point of being overly meddlesome and smothering. On the other hand, if a teen is getting into risky situations such as having sex or using drugs and alcohol, or if they already have and the parent feels the need to monitor them based on past experience, it wuould be beneficial for parents to have some tools to know that the kid is in trouble and needs the parents' help. Call it spying if you like. Depending on the parent and the child and each individual situation, it could be either helpful or damaging.

    1. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi -  I do agree that where parents have legitimate concerns for their kids' safety and well being then technology like this would be not only helpful but reassuring for the parents. And this is the problem with this technology - that in some cases it could be great for helping families but for others it might do damage to relationships that are not easily repaired.

    2. teaches12345 profile image92
      teaches12345posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I agree with you SmartAndFun that some parents will become intrusive to the point of overprotecting their child. This type of parenting only puts the child in a defensive position resulting in withdrawal of communication. A parent's best position would be to discuss the "rules" of computer use and ask the child for input.  Talking through this before online permission is given is most beneficial.

  4. kirstenblog profile image78
    kirstenblogposted 5 years ago

    Would it be spying if the kids know that the parents can and might monitor activity on their computers or cell phones etc.? I mean chances are all these gadgets are things you bought for them, not something they bought for themselves, so its your right to monitor it and being honest about that just doesn't sound like spying to me.

    1. debbie roberts profile image91
      debbie robertsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I think the word spying is a little harsh. You've only got to see the news to realise what degree of damage can be done to a childs well being, by them sending unthoughtout texts. They could be sending nasty texts or receiving such texts and if we don't know about it we can't help. They are still children and whilst they do need their privacy they also need our guidance too.
      Random checking would certainly be a healthier approach than full on reading of all their texts- that would make me uncomfortable.

    2. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi to kirstenblog & debbie - the advertisement for this software specifically states that parents can put this software in place without their kids knowing anything about it. The software is for tracking without their children knowing anything about it. The word 'spying' wasn't my first choice, this is what some of the software mentioned. The ads also don't mention anything about having mutual discussions and being open about anything, they are encouraging parents to use this technology covertly. For me this is 'spying' and my thoughts are firstly how much damage could this do to parent-children relationships balanced against what the benefits would be?

      1. debbie roberts profile image91
        debbie robertsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I think it at the end of the day it would have to depend on what kind of relationship you have with your child as to whether or not you would tell them that you are tracking their messages. If I  tracked my childs messages, I would be up front about it and tell them, but I wouldn't be obsessional about it. Maybe it's not so much if you track your children or not , it's how it's done that can effect your relationship with them.
        I think it could be a good thing handled in the right way.

        1. Seeker7 profile image94
          Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Hi Debbie, I agree with you. This technology could be so beneficial if as you say it is handled in the right way and we are honest with our kids. If as you mentioned the relationship is very poor but you also have legitimate concerns as a parent - perhaps due to drugs, gangs or whatever, then I could understand a parent taking this course of action.

  5. Jeff Berndt profile image91
    Jeff Berndtposted 5 years ago

    See, when I was a kid, my parents expected to be kept in the loop about where I was going and who I was going to be with. This is reasonable, and I willingly complied.

    They also told me that if I was ever in a situation where I couldn't get home by curfew, I should call them and let them know where I was, and when i could get home, and it would be okay.

    Then I made the mistake of believing them.

    I was at a party, and a friend of mine got embarrassingly drunk (I hadn't been drinking) and I decided that I'd stay with her and keep her from doing anything stupid until she sobered up enough that I could take her home. Well, this took a while, and I realized that I was late, so I called home to explain the situation.

    My parents freaked out all over the place, and demanded that I abandon my friend and get my butt home right away. After trying (fruitlessly) to reason with them I flatly refused to come home, and stayed until my friend was sober.

    They were furious with me when I arrived home, and accused me of having been drunk myself, and who knows what they thought but didn't actually say.

    I never trusted their BS about "As long as you tell us what's going on, it'll be okay" after that.

    I imagine that if I ever found out that my parents were spying on me, I would have felt equally outraged.

    If your kids are trustworthy, trust them. If you show that you don't trust them, they will start hiding things from you.

    If you have reason to suspect your kids, then tell them. "The way you've been acting makes me think that you're doing some things I wouldn't approve of. Are you? Because if you are, I'd rather hear it from you than someone else. If I find out from a third party that you've been doing [whatever], there will be consequences."

    But of course, for that to work, you'll need to build a trust relationship ahead of time.

    1. innersmiff profile image78
      innersmiffposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      @Jeff Berndt hear hear, what a perfect story to explain this.

      In order to have any sort of debate we need to be on the same page and use the same definitions from the same dictionary. Covertly monitoring someone else's private doings is SPYING, whether it is your parents, the government or some other individual. So now we can argue whether it is right for parents to spy on their children. No it is not. It is not right for anyone to spy against anyone.

      The method for keeping your children safe is having an open dialogue with them, having mutual respect, whilst respecting their privacy. Would you expect them to spy on you on the auspices of keeping YOU safe? That's exactly how they feel about you spying on them.

      1. Jeff Berndt profile image91
        Jeff Berndtposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        "It is not right for anyone to spy against anyone."
        Well, even I wouldn't go that far.
        Is it better to be able to trust your kids and never spy on them? Of course.

        Is it ever okay to check on them to make sure? Yes. If they've given you a reason not to trust them, like, they've already been caught lying to you, or you think they're about to do something dangerous (really dangerous, like, life/limb danger) or criminal.

        If I thought my kid was on drugs, I'd totally snoop through his stuff to see if there was any drug stuff in there.

        I'm willing to lose my kid's trust to save his life.

        But. I would hope that I've raised him well enough that there'd be no reason for me to be suspicious in the first place, or at least, that he would feel safe being honest with me when I told him about my suspicion.

        1. Seeker7 profile image94
          Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Hi inner smiff and Jeff - I think that's the problem with this technology that there are many good things that it could be used for if you have sensible parents. The concern for me is the damage that would be done to kids knowing that every private conversation they had had with friends, siblings etc had been 'spied' on. If this had been me many, many years ago I honestly don't know how I would have felt towards Mum and Dad - but trusting them again would have been very hard.

          Thankfully, like you Jeff, we were brought up by strict rules while you lived in your parents house and if you didn't stick to  them there was severe consequences - I would definately prefer this than to think my private life was being scrutinised without my consent.

      2. teaches12345 profile image92
        teaches12345posted 5 years ago in reply to this

        There is an element of trust that parents and children must build regarding online usage. Communication is key and helps prevent the frustration that goes with a child's feeling of being "spyed on".  There are parent blocks for internet usage (however tech savvy kids get around this) and firewalls that help prevent harmful sites. Placing the computer in a high traffic area, such as the kitchen, will also keep tabs on usage without being too intrusive. It's tough being a parent raising children in these day and age.

  6. Shawn May Scott profile image61
    Shawn May Scottposted 5 years ago

    I agree with Seeker7 that for safety purposes this software could be benificial. But... Look at the situations with Lesly Mahafy and Kristen French. Would Bernardo just have discarded the phone? Of cousre he would have. So that throws the safety issue into question as well. If someone wants to abduct your child technology is not going to stop them.

    Now on the other hand we wrap our children in all kinds of protective layers to keep them safe. In doing so we have created a generation of children that cannot take care of themself. And let me tell you I do not want any of these people taking care of me in my old age if they cannot care for themselves. Our children no longer walk to school togehter, they must check with Mom and Dad before they can cross the street at 10 years old, and certainly are not allowed to play on the street with the other children , it must all be fully supervised!!!

    So to spy on your teenage child through this software. No thank you. Can you imagine the betrayal your child would feel when they found out? And they will find out. How do you repair that in a parent/child relationship that has been built on trust since the day of birth. It would be a very long way back if at all.


    Have we not invested enough time in raising our children to trust them to manage themselves as teenages? I would think that if you have instilled your child with good values from day one that you would have enough faith in your own parenting skills to not need such software. Who really are we trusting here? Are we spying on the child or are we spying on our own work as parents? Trust the child they are growing up and we learn from our mistakes. If we are not allowed to make those mistakes we will continue to create a society that has no ability to stand up for itself and take responsibilty for their own actions.

    1. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Shawn, I couldn't agree with you more. I think the utter devastation a kid - especially perhpas a teenager would feel -  would be horrible for them. I think trust and mutual respect along with good healthy ground rules should be enough, unless there are definite  things such as concerns that your kid is in dangerous waters with drugs etc. that could potentially threaten their lives - I don't think I could blame a parent for being underhand in this situation if they think it would help to save their kid.

  7. Shanna11 profile image91
    Shanna11posted 5 years ago

    As a teenager who just left home, I'm SO grateful my mom was NOT the spying kind. I remember I once accused her of listening in on one of my phone conversation's and her withering look and reply "Why would I even care?" was enough to make me realize my mom had better things to do. It actually helped nurture trust and responsibility. My mom trusted me to make good decisions. Now, the same can't be said of my dad-- he liked to know what was going on, but it was a good balance.

    IF my mom had been a helicopter parent, I would have gone nuts and my relationship with my parents would be very, very weak. Parents need to keep an eye on their kid, but they need to teach them properly and then trust them. I wanted to keep my parents trust and the freedom that accompanied it, so I stayed out of trouble.

    1. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Shanna11 I think that's a really good point about how you felt when you thought your Mum was spying but also how much you trusted her when you realised it wasn't the case. As I've said before, I guess if parents do have legitimate and worthwhile concerns then perhaps this technology could do a lot of good. But I guess it's the parent who will abuse this new techno stuff that concerns me.

  8. GDiBiase profile image83
    GDiBiaseposted 5 years ago

    I would say it depends on the circumstances. If a parent has caught their child lying and feels the child is in a self destructive place in their life and is involved in things that could hurt them. I think as parents it is our duty to try to get a handle on exactly what they are involved with. I think my daughter always knew I would do whatever needed to be done if I felt she was being deceitful or doing things that could cause her harm. Thank goodness I never had the need to check on her behind her back. But I would have if needed. After all who is the parent? Are we not suppose to be wiser than or children? Sometimes they do need us to intervene.
    Gail

    1. Seeker7 profile image94
      Seeker7posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Gail, that is one of my main points that if parents do have a legitimate fear for their kids safety then I think it's only natural and right to do whatever you can to ensure they are kept safe. So I guess where I'm coming from is the potential for some parents - probably a minority - who would abuse this technology  and interfere in their kids private life without just cause.

      1. GDiBiase profile image83
        GDiBiaseposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Seeker7,
        I do see what you are saying and unfortunately I would imagine some parents might take it to the extreme.

      2. profile image0
        kelleywardposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I think if you have a reason to spy then it's your duty to do so. There are a few who can take it too far but I think it's better to be too safe, they are still children.

        1. Druid Dude profile image60
          Druid Dudeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE, WAR...AND PARENTING.

  9. profile image60
    mindi1030posted 5 years ago

    There may be ways to address the issue with your children.  Our childern are growing up with technology in their daily lives and so much so that some of us don't know the half of it.  I think it is important to teach children/teenagers the safety of being online.  What is okay and what is not.  I think it is also important to tell if you are monitoring their activity.  It can be done in a way that your kids won't feel 'spied' upon, but it also keeps the trust in the relationship.  When kids find out they've been lied to or even spied on it may mean they lose respect and trust for the parents.  Keeping the communication open will help and the parents have a back-up plan to make sure their kids are safe.  Since each person is different one person's children may handle the situation differently than anothers.  As parents we have to do what is right for them and do what we can to make sure they are safe.

  10. profile image60
    mindi1030posted 5 years ago

    There may be ways to address the issue with your children.  Our childern are growing up with technology in their daily lives and so much so that some of us don't know the half of it.  I think it is important to teach children/teenagers the safety of being online.  What is okay and what is not.  I think it is also important to tell if you are monitoring their activity.  It can be done in a way that your kids won't feel 'spied' upon, but it also keeps the trust in the relationship.  When kids find out they've been lied to or even spied on it may mean they lose respect and trust for the parents.  Keeping the communication open will help and the parents have a back-up plan to make sure their kids are safe.  Since each person is different one person's children may handle the situation differently than anothers.  As parents we have to do what is right for them and do what we can to make sure they are safe.

  11. Disturbia profile image59
    Disturbiaposted 5 years ago

    I was using that type of software on my computer to filter, control, and monitor my kids years ago. I didn't do it in secret, the girls both knew about it. It was a condition of use. The rule was if they were going to be online, I was going to know what they were doing. It was just that simple. Unfortunately for him, my now ex-husband, who came along after the software was installed, didn't know about it.

    1. brakel2 profile image87
      brakel2posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Can we really trust anyone? The more I hear these days, the more skeptical I become. Luckily, when my kids were growing up, some of this stuff did not exist. Today, there are too many temptations, I believe. To disturbia -  Sorry about what happened to you. I guess you software caught your husband.

  12. sassydee profile image49
    sassydeeposted 5 years ago

    I think my daughter rather me spy on her through the technology way, rather than have me be in my car hiding spying on her when ever she went some where with her friends.  Seriously though with all the "technology" these days and our children putting them selves out there where pedophiles and what not are just waiting for them to bite onto their fishing lines, we (us parents) should be able to protect our kids any way possible (not so much spy but be safe than sorry)!  Us as parents should teach our kids or we hope what we teach them is trust our words and worries and not be victims of the sick world out there and respect what we say but sometimes they don't listen and things happen to them; like that teenager Megan, and others who were tricked by the sick bastards who pretended to be their age and got them to meet up with them and then did sickening things and then killed them.  Many children are still missing and uncounted for, thanks to technology so therefore to answer the question, its not good or bad parenting; it's parenting that is NEEDED!

  13. Alastar Packer profile image82
    Alastar Packerposted 5 years ago

    I guess it's what you consider spying. There's a difference between spying and making sure you know what your teenagers are doing and who they are doing it with. I think they're allowed privacy and trust but if they break that trust then spying becomes a necessity. I just feel like if you have a good relationship you shouldn't have to spy on them. Perhaps the best rule is to remember what it's like to be their age. We can't expect them to be perfect because they are teenagers- adults aren't perfect either for that matter.

    1. sassydee profile image49
      sassydeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      well stated alastar

  14. pedrn44 profile image85
    pedrn44posted 5 years ago

    My computer used to be in the basement when my kids were in middle and upper grade schools. Then, quite by accident, I discovered some stuff I didn't like hidden in the computer. I moved the computer to the main level. They were afforded some privacy but knew I was close by. I had talks with my older son who I suspected was visiting some of the forbidden sites and I also discussed this with his friends. It was simply not allowed. Things went pretty well. I did check the history from time to time (I did warn them I would be doing that)
    In terms of looking through drawers, reading diaries (I also have 2 girls) or notes found in pockets when doing laundry, I never did that. As long as they gave me no reason to distrust them I was not a snoop.
    We expect our kids to respect us and I believe that should be mutual. Open dialogue is important. There should not be a subject you can't broach with your kids.

    1. teaches12345 profile image92
      teaches12345posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Pedrn44 you have summed it up well. Respect on both sides is needed and that comes from trust over time.

  15. Mighty Mom profile image89
    Mighty Momposted 5 years ago

    If it's stated up front and is done honestly as a condition of use of the technology, yes.
    If it's truly "spying" then no. I think that just encourages the kids to be sneakier and devious and drives them underground.

    It has been my experience that the tighter you try to control a behavior the more rebellion you create.
    smile

  16. Adams-ebooks profile image72
    Adams-ebooksposted 5 years ago

    Ohh my god, people actually track there teenagers messaging!?
    Shame on you...

    15 years ago, this was impossible. Imagine if your parents did this to you!
    What if you found out your wife / husband had this tracking app tracking you? You would be disgusted!

    I think you can educate teens on the dangers of the Internet and all that but ultimately it is up to them to have the cop-on and common sense in life. Over protective parents lead to out of control kids. It is stupid and selfish.

    Trust your teens to make smart choices.

    You raised them didn't you!?!

    1. edhan profile image59
      edhanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      We as parents do trust our kids. But at times, we do need to monitor their activities with regards to who they are going out with and so forth. Keeping tabs on your children once a while will be a great idea so they when things happen, you will know how to react.

      If you simply leave them to do what they want, they might feel that you are kinda of unconcern type of parents.

      We do our parts to keep our children safe and keeping them on our tabs will be necessary.

  17. momster profile image59
    momsterposted 5 years ago

    I would have to say that being a good parent depends on the parents values and goals for the child, and the parent following up on these things. All children have different personalities and each have to be handled in a different way.
    And having to spy on children YES, if you know that something is wrong or if they are doing something that you know may cause problems for them or someone else, and your child is not communicating with the parents.

 
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