The internet and cell phones have completely changed the world. Whether it is kids having the ability to watch funny videos of animals on YouTube or them finding out how to solve a rubik’s cube, the internet has given them unparalleled access to information. Since the internet provides such a great amount of information, there is also a downside to it. Things like the dark web, online predators, and cyberbullies can affect anyone, and we all don’t want our kids to become victims to any of these things. Many parents will then consider monitoring their kids’ phones to keep them safe, while others trust their kids enough to let them maintain a certain level of privacy. There are benefits to both sides, and here are some arguments to consider for each of them.
All parents with kids know that they like to keep a lot of their stuff private from their parents. They may share information about their day, but many are shy about talking about their social lives to their parents, which is why they would not like parents looking through their phones. They do not want their parents seeing all of the inside jokes with their friends and their attempts to make interactions with the opposite sex– many would just feel embarrassed. Since phones weren’t around when many parents were growing up, they do not know the feeling of being monitored. Parents could really only look at something like diaries in that time, and no one really wants their diary looked at.
Part of growing up is increased independency. As teenagers get older, they will start to hang out with their friends more than their parents. Don’t worry, it does not mean your kids do not like you anymore. Parents can just keep an eye out on their kids, and this doesn’t require them to monitor them. However, parents who monitor their kids’ phones can certainly reap some benefits.
The main argument for phone monitoring for parents is to keep their kids safe. However, phone monitoring requires parents not to invade their kids’ privacy. Instead, parents can look at monitoring as a continuation of parental responsibilities. Parents are responsible for their kids until age 18, and the first step of monitoring should be keep an open dialogue with their kids. Weighing up the need for privacy against safety is also important with monitoring because of the number of dangers the internet can pose.
Giving devices to our kids immediately exposes them to the dangers of the internet. Just texting can affect their livelihood, and kids may become easy targets to become bullied. Almost 43% of kids have been victims to cyberbullies, and 87% of kids have admitted to being cruel to someone else online. Kids can also be drawn into sexting, and 22% of teenage girls and 18% of teenage boys have engaged in this activity. There are also online predators, and some reports say there is as many as 700,000 of them online daily. Protecting our kids from these potential dangers are great reasons to monitor kids’ phones, and kids can ultimately appreciate that you are looking out for them.
The Law with Monitoring
Monitoring children’s phones is legal in most countries. The main reason for this is that parents have the legal responsibility of taking care of their children until 18 in many countries. Part of this parental responsibility is the moral and legal duty to help protect our kids in the future. We all want our kids to grow up into becoming functioning adults, and phone monitoring may be crucial in this development.
Overall, privacy and monitoring go hand and hand. It is ultimately up to the parents to decide what they do. If you do decide to let your kids have their privacy, it wouldn’t hurt to check up on them once every once in awhile. If you monitor your kids, make sure you are upfront and honest with them about it. With any decision you make, keeping kids safe online is every parent’s ultimate goal. Make sure agreements are in place to make sure this happens.