The #1 Secret to Not Violating Your Child’s Digital Privacy

Some parents think they have every right to see what their children are doing on their phones, tablets and computers. Other parents are worried about violating a trust with their child.

This is a common problem because as teenagers get older and more mature, parents need to start trusting them to make their own decisions. On the other hand, there are no clear cut answers that give the right age to completely let go of monitoring their lives. At age 18 they are legally allowed to make their own decisions, so before that, when does a parent begin allowing them to test their freedoms?

As the internet and media fill our heads with horror stories of teens and young adults commiting suicide, many parents want to land on the side of caution and monitor everything their child does. This behavior causes more complications at home, more arguments, fights, and a lack of trust that pulls teens away from their parents even more. There doesn’t seem to be any sure-fire way to be sure a parent is doing the right thing, so what should they do?

Regardless of which parent you are in situations above, there’s one way to make the whole privacy issue much easier: Tell Them You are Watching!

The first thing to do when you give your child the opportunity to start using digital websites and devices, is to tell them you are watching what they do. You’ll see the websites they visit, the information they share, etc.

The same goes for their smartphones and tablets. With the parent monitoring programs out there, it’s easy for you to see what your child is doing on their cell phone. You can track how far they’ve gone, when they’ve left certain geographic areas, and when they’ve used certain words in texts.

If your child is still young and you feel the need to make sure they stay safe, you should use these features. And, if you are worried about violating their privacy, you can tell them right from the beginning that you’ll be watching, and exactly what you’ll be able to see.

Why Does This Work?
Kids act different when they know they are being watched. When you tell them you’ll see their conversations, pictures, and whereabouts, they know they have to behave. Sure, you could give them the device and let them think they aren’t being watched, and then confront them about every topic you oversee, but will that lead to issues – most likely.

Instead when you tell them, they’ll understand the guidelines you’ve put in place for your family about social media, texting, devices, and privacy, and that whatever new toy (device) they have, they’ll still have to abide by those rules.

How To Handle Issues?
Inevitably, if you are monitoring your teen’s behavior, there will come a time you want to question what they or someone else has said or done. There isn’t a perfect way to handle this, but we can offer some advice. Start by considering their safety, is it really at risk? If it is, obviously proceed with confronting them.

Confrontation isn’t always pretty, but give them the space to explain themselves. If their safety isn’t at risk and it is a matter or someone else’s safety, you’ll also need to intercede. When the issue has more to do with respect, and minor infractions, consider how important it is to bring up.

Maybe you’ll want to bring up small things in groups, or wait and see how problems play out.

In Conclusion
You decide if you are doing the best thing for your child or teen. Monitoring software, advice from blogs and the media are just there to give you suggestions. Decide what is important to your family, talk it out, and follow up with issues as you see fit. You are the parent after all, and even worrying about this shows how much you care.

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