Do You Think It’s OK to Spy on Your Kids? ⋆
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Do You Think It’s OK to Spy on Your Kids?

So many kids are living on social media sites with so many messages coming in or they are sending out that could give a parent some insight into what they are feeling or what they are experiencing at this time.  You might even discover where they really were on a Saturday night!

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With all the latest technology offered to us in this day and age, it’s actually quite easy to keep an eye on what your kids are up to.  More than half the parents out there say they check their kids’ social media accounts.

Believe it or not, there are parents like baseball analyst Alex Rodriguez, who said he actually created a fake Instagram account to keep an eye on his daughter!  I guess you have to ask yourself if you believe you have the right to snoop through your daughter or son’s media feeds?

The upside, this is one of the easiest ways for parents to learn whether or not your child is going through issues, the downside is that using social media can also be one of the biggest problems causing many issues.  Kids between the ages of 12 to 15 who are on social media platforms for more than 3 hours each day are at a much higher risk for mental health problems.

According to a study, these issues can include depression, aggression, and anxiety.  The study was published by JAMA Psychiatry last September.

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Too much activity on social media can have a negative effect on their future college plans and even their ability to land a job.  The rise in opioid abuse also plays a serious concern and research has revealed that social media has a strong influence on teens and drugs.  Even though it might not be common for kids to be targeted online, it does happen.

It’s actually quite scary that teens are online almost all the time. Parents want to protect their kids so going to their accounts on social media seems to be the best option. I guess, the leading question is what is the fine line between protecting children and invading their privacy?

Is Spying OK?

According to Gail Saltz, M.D., clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NY Presbyterian Hospital, spying seems to have a negative connotation.

Experts say that by definition, this seems to mean you are doing something that goes against someone else’s wishes by invading their privacy. Parents should, instead, think of this as monitoring their kids’ activities.

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According to clinical psychologist, Lisa Strohman, PhD., monitoring means checking in once a week rather than on a daily basis. Parents can use an app to following their teens on social media or even request passwords.

That said, it is advised that parents remain transparent with their kids and never use fake accounts. You can say something to the effect of –  We are glad to give you this phone but there are terms of use which includes monitoring.  I’m just checking to make sure you are safe.

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There are fine lines parents should be aware of when monitoring their kids.  Dr. Saltz is against looking at their text messages which are private conversations.  You do have the right to check potential chats with a boyfriend or girlfriend.   Social media, to some extent, can actually give you hints about what’s going on.  That said, there are times parents can go too far.

On the other hand, if your child is exhibiting signs of serious issues such as suicide, parents have every right to go further and cross the line.  If you fear your child might be thinking of suicide, it’s no longer off-limits to check their text messages.  If your child is showing dangerous thoughts or actions, all bets are off!

Before jumping the gun, always sit down and talk with your child first.