How much privacy should your kids have?
Moms often wonder how much privacy their kids really need. While they're living under your roof is it okay to check their personal belongings, cell phones and email? Or should kids have more space and privacy?
I have a 12 fixing to be 13 year old daughter who has a cell phone. She also clearly understands that as long as i am paying the bill on it, i am entitled to search her phone whenever i feel it is necessary. I use it as a teaching guide. There have been a few random things that i have had to explain to her about the appropriateness of them. You have to kindof watch them nowadays. Yes, i believe they are entitled to privacy. Up to a certain point. She also understands that i am the parent and i am only doing it cause i love her and want whats best for her. As she gets older and can prove that she is trustworthy, then i will back off a bit. But until then, there is still a lot she needs to learn about where her boundaries are. Good luck.
Good parents know that kids cannot have too much privacy, especially in today's society. If you don't want your child being the victim of a child predator, online predator, or any form of bully, you have to know what is going on in your child's life. As parents, we provide everything for our children. We set the limits, and we decide what privileges we provide our children with. All too often, I see kids who dictate to their parents what they “need” and there is no monitoring of any kind. Kids are given cell phones, computers, and other luxuries, which are treated as a right and not a privilege. These things are not necessities! Our kids do not HAVE to have these items. What happened to earning privileges? Not only do parents give these items to their children, they fail to monitor them while they are using these items. They literally have no clue what is going on in their children's lives. I cannot understand this mentality.
On a more serious note, predators are not the only threat. I know of a parent who took the “friend” role rather than parenting her children. The oldest was not even 10 when she gave her daughter her first cell phone. She allowed her daughter to use the phone whenever she wanted, without any monitoring or rules. By the time her daughter was 12, she was sneaking out of the house to meet boys, skipping school, and using the foulest language to communicate with her friends online. The only reason why this information was discovered was because the mother’s ex-husband set up a Facebook account so that he could communicate with their daughter. The daughter lived with her mother and the father had visitation every other weekend. He set up an account so that they could communicate online, since she refused to return his calls.
Every so often, the father would log on to his daughter’s account and monitor her activity. He had noticed a drastic change in their daughter’s behavior, moods, and the way she dressed. Their daughter used to love sports and dressed in sporty clothing. She was outgoing and bubbly. She loved going to see her father for his visitations. Within a matter of about 2 months, that all changed. She started coming for her visits dressed all in black. She dyed her hair black with blue streaks and started acting lethargic all the time. She was extremely moody and started talking back and acting in an abusive manner towards her family members. She stopped wanting to come for her visits with her father. She would make up excuses that she was sick, but he would find out later that she went out with friends.
He started monitoring her Facebook account more often when she stopped communicating back with him on a regular basis. She would ignore his calls, emails, and Facebook messages. He was becoming more concerned because it had been almost 2 months since she came for a visit. She kept claiming she was not feeling well, or had other excuses why she couldn’t come. He wanted to see her because he had a business trip scheduled and had taken some vacation time to extend his trip with his new wife and their daughter. He left on his trip, and when he returned, he was mortified at what he found. He had tried to contact his daughter, but could not get a hold of her, or his ex-wife. He decided to go online to check her Facebook account. He was shocked at what he saw. His daughter was using the foulest language and talking about how she felt like a “whore” after what she did over the weekend. He saw private conversations about how she and some friends were “cutting” themselves, and she had even attempted suicide!
His first thought was for his daughter’s safety, of course. Then he became concerned and angry that his ex-wife had kept this information from him. He kept trying to get a hold of them, with no luck. He contacted the authorities to find out what he should do. He had his regular visitation scheduled for the next day, so the authorities told him to pick up his daughter as usual and then take her straight to the children’s hospital for an evaluation.
When the doctor’s evaluated her, they found several cuts on her wrists. One cut was particularly bad. They did a full physical and psychological evaluation. They tried to contact the mother, but she did not answer or return their calls. The next day, she finally contacted him. She claimed she did not know anything. He asked how she could not know what was going on in her own home. Their daughter had cuts all over her arms, her behavior was completely different than from just 2 months ago, and there were “signs” in just about every way possible that something wasn’t right. He asked how come she never monitored her Facebook as he had asked her to do. Her answer: their daughter demanded her privacy. The father hates to think about what could have happened had he taken his ex-wife’s attitude.
Moral of the story: our children NEED us to monitor their activities and behaviors. They are not mature enough to be given privacy. Too many things can happen if we do not PARENT our children and take the “friend” approach with our kids. Think about this…would you rather have your child mad at you for invading his or her privacy OR would you rather have your child hurt, or worse, because you gave him or her too much privacy?
My daughter is seventeen and has a boyfriend. She has been in honors classes since fourth grade. She is in a work study program for her senior year. The worst thing she has ever done is come home after curfew. But yet she has had her hair all kinds of colors and had her belly pierced at sixteen. I think you need to give your kids their space if it looks like they can handle it properly. Personal space is very important to kids at that age. But don't sweat the small stuff. If they want to dye their hair or pierce themselves and they are at a approproate age then let them. i don't see why a parent should look into their childrens stuff without suspicions. And I mean real suspicions, not "my child has a friend I do not know".
My daughter knows she can trust me and I know I can trust her. If she changed her behavior or her grades slipped I would probably peek. But I don't have to.
I say not to much privacy..just a little bit.You want to be able to trust one another:)
My oldest, 15, has a FB page and email. I am a friend but I have a simple icon, and I do NOT comment on his page. I told him I look around. The most his friend do is swear too much, play games and keep in contact. As a mom tell your kids you are looking because you love them. At 18 when they are on their own you will still be a voyeur. You can't turn off the love!
Every child is different. I would start with having a family meeting regarding the issue. I know I resented my parents for being intrusive. If your child(ren) is/are responsible and understand why sexting and internet chat rooms are not a game then I would simply say all internet browsing needs to be done in the common areas, but texts are like conversations, they are private and could contain information that your kids friends didn't want anyone else to know. If you still put away their laundry then dresser drawers and closet are fair game for random checks. That being said, unless there is a sudden change in behaviour there should be no need to snoop.
With kids age nine and under, right now I say they get no privacy when it comes to personal email and things they bring into the house. As they grow, and their maturity grows, it will depend on the child. Trust is pretty important, but keeping tabs on their conversations is a good way to know where their hearts are - if they are chasing after foolishness or facing situations with the appropriate behavior. I wouldn't snoop, but I would expect them to be open and honest or we need to talk further!
I have a ten. 13. AND 15 year old...all boys. All parental blocked. All with grades to the best of their own efforts. My neigher across the street has twins between my older sons who drives his sister around. Uninsured and him and some of his girl friends are leaving CONDOMS on the side of their hard working side full time Mom. I used to work full time like that as well bit again my emails and all cells were logged to my cell. My satellite is blocked to a certain age group but the time is gone as they are good boys. Just please be aware that a few simple things may save a world of pain. I am no Saint; I once told my sons Mom heard in school how the girls talked then because she was introverted heard a TON of both genders Potty mouths..."I don't expect you to not cuss. It is a personal choice of how you wish to be perceived but donth doubt for one second that I won't still spank you if I ever hear you cuss especially if a female of ANY age is around and most especially if you are not holding doors open and being polite or a gentleman" Doubt be afraid to ask your child "do you want to be a 85% man or a 100%man because the job you just did on your chores and school work is a 100% man and I know darn well you ARE capable of being a 110% man. It's up to us REAl MOMS to pass are heritage, beliefs, religion(s) and any love and cares to the next generation. Don't ignore little hints you ARE seen or kind neighbors hint at. And to joke a bit.. u never know what ends up on u tube. Married mommy of three boys at 33 : D
This can be a very tricky area .....Just a quick understanding of my back ground...I was a foster parent of several teens ( who were runaways who refused to return to there homes) when my kids were little and one of the biggest issue that I learned was that they felt untrusted and unrespected instead of there parents talking to them or asking them what was going on the would go thru or assume things instead of asking when they wanted to know something ..... In my home now I have four teenagers who have been through the ringer. We have moved across the country Three times and there has been loss and illness now . Being a teenager is hard work our kids have to get up early look in style , be attentive to there teachers, friends, and the currant things going on in school. There also expected to be in the know of what's what on the Internet and T.V. Keep there rooms clean laundry done and neat do other chores around the house and be there in mind and body for family todo's and on top of that have there bodys changing at alarming rate , not to mention partisapate in extracurricular activities , soccer, football, cheering,tennis you name it . Few there's a job many of us wouldn't take if even if the pay was good...... So as for there privacy yes they desever it but communication is key talk to your kids ask them questions. Respect them and listen to them.
I would like to know the correct answer to this also. I believe every child needs some supervision but it is a fine line between being an active observing concerned parent and becoming an annoyingly intrusive nosey one. Every child is different, my 12(almost13)year old daughter has a cell phone, Ipod, laptop and boyfriend. Although I routinely look into her texts/converstions and posts I have yet to find anything inappropriate. She's a good girl and I am beginning to feel guilty by continuing to 'spy' on her. I know she values her privacy and I want to give her as much as possible while remaining a good and active parent in her life. How often should I be looking into her online activities? When is it ok for her to keep her passwords to herself without revealing them to me?
Love my kids, want the best for them, want to raise them to be quality citizens respectful and kindhearted. What to do?