Should a parent

Tracy - posted on 05/25/2009 ( 63 moms have responded )

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Should a parent " check out" the text messages" of their 12 year old child. He just received it as a present because he is starting football conditioning and needed to call us to pick him up.

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Charity - posted on 05/25/2009

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If my 12 yo had a cell phone, I will check everything on it, but I might also restrict it to "no" text messages or take it away if it was being abused. I am sure the school will let him use the office phone or the coach's office phone to call for a ride.

Adrianne - posted on 05/28/2009

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I think you know your child and if you think that he might be doing or saying inapporpriate things then yes check them but other wise show you child that you trust him.

Silvanita - posted on 05/26/2009

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I have a 14 year old son - and I admit I have checked his text messages :) I told him when I added the feature that I reserve the right to check his messages whenever I wanted!!

Auri - posted on 05/26/2009

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my sister in law said you could get an AMIGO phone just 5 speed dial numbers and nothing else. i never heard of it until now.

[deleted account]

Your child is only 12, and there is no reason why you shouldn't check his texts. My daughter got to addicted to texting and had to have her phone taken away. It was her world!

63 Comments

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/28/2014

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If the parent pays the bill, the phone is not the child's. The parent is responsible for any and all content.

Kids need to understand that.

Mekaila - posted on 07/28/2014

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hi..im not a mom im just 14 and i gave my current phone to my little sister and im awaiting one in the mail..but my mom checked my messages and it really annoys me...because she asked the stupidest question like 'who is this and why did they send you whats up' i cant wait until im 16 and done with highschool so i can get more freedom

User - posted on 05/29/2009

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If you are paying for it then I think you have the right to even if your not I think you have the right too him being under 18 years old

Kelly - posted on 05/29/2009

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While I do believe that every child deserves a certain amount of privacy, I think that if the occassion arises that you are concerned about what he/she is doing or into that you definently have the right to check out their messages. It's all about knowing your child.

Kylie - posted on 05/29/2009

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I would only if you suspect he is up to no good. I would make it known that you have the right to check it but you want him to know that you do trust him and if he would break that trust then you will.

Karen - posted on 05/28/2009

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Ummm absolutely! Have you seen some of the text messages that go around? I just read an article by Dr Phil, it says "A parents job is to cherish your children, PROTECT THEM, and prepare them for the world. Everything else is just a luxury."

Melissa - posted on 05/28/2009

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I already replied to this but someone has since mentioned sexting. This is one of the reasons I advocated checking it from time to time while being up front about doing so. I feel that reading a diary is a totally different issue because that is a place where someone releases their feelings in a private manner. I would never read my daughter's private thoughts and feelings as I feel everyone deserves to have a place where they can safely unload that. However, a cell phone is a communication device and therefore not private. Sexting involves nude photos can cause pain and embarrassment if they are spread around but it has gotten a lot more serious than even that. This whole issue of sexting is exposing children (both boys and girls) to being charged and labeled as sex offenders for sharing their nude photos with their peers. I think we can agree that none of us would want that stigma on our children for life because of something stupid they did as children. We did not have this technology to expose us to these kind of mistakes as teenagers so we have to be aware of these risks to our kids.

Chris - posted on 05/28/2009

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Be careful! You might not like what you see! My son is 14 and he is so sweet, very kind, wouldn't hurt a fly, but when I checked his phone I wasn't sure if I should wash his mouth out with soap or smack his hands for putting those words in a text. Also, try not to let his phone have internet access if you know what I mean!!

Melissa - posted on 05/27/2009

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I would check up from time to time. I wouldn't do it every day. I would also talk to him about the importance of this priviledge. DEFINITELY talk about the whole sexting thing. Kids at this age are starting to explore. Let him know how much you trust him and want him to be safe!

Holly - posted on 05/27/2009

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yes i agree that you should check up on him its not that yo udont trust him you are just looking out in his best of intrest and hopefully keeping one step a head of him

[deleted account]

I have to agree with most of the postings. If a child (of any age) is under your care and support you have a right to check up on what they are doing. I have a 19 year old and a 15 year old. They both know that I can check their phones and emails if I feel the need. I usually don't, but if they know the possibility is there, it helps keep them honest. Nine times out of ten you won't have anything to worry about and the one time can usually be explained.

User - posted on 05/27/2009

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First and foremost, needing to call from football practice doesn't necessitate a cell phone. There is a schedule so be there at the end of the designated time or a little earlier just in case. Also, coaches have phones and they can be used for the purpose. Believe me, my youngest child, 13, got a cell phone for Christmas and he is the only one of my boys that got one at that age. Times change, his older brothers didn't get a cell phone until they were 17 and 16, those two are now 23 and 21. I'm dropping off and picking up my two teens from various practices and never once is there a need for them to call me to pick them up since I make it a point of knowing when they should be finished beforehand.

Now, onto checking text messages. Of course, and their myspace or whatever social networking site they might be a member of, if they are. You are the parent and as such, being a parent means you do check on your child.

Sara - posted on 05/27/2009

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With my kids I tell them that I will be checking their texts randomly if I decide I want to. They are not allowed to erase any texts. (You can check online for this. It doesn't show the actual text but shows how many incoming and outgoing there were. At least on verizon prepaid it does) If their inbox is full and they need to delete they have to come and tell me first and see if I want to read any first. If they are caught deleting them without asking the cell phone goes away. They know that a cell phone is a privelage, NOT a right and so it's my rules or no cell phones. So far none have disagreed.

Shelly - posted on 05/27/2009

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I have a 12 year old daughter and I check her texts. some are small but u might be surprised at what you see on them. I told her I was checking them every day so don't delete them till I have seen them.

Samantha - posted on 05/27/2009

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I did and was shocked to found out the verbiage they are using! So yes! You can never know to much or be too involved.

Ambia - posted on 05/27/2009

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I run the sexual assault and family violence program here where we live, and it's sad to say but our victims are getting younger and younger!! Should u check the messages? Absolutely!!! If u don't u may regret it. I have 11 kids and 7 phones each one of the kids that have a phone know that if they are going to use the phone we have the right to check the messages and pictures and videos TOO!!!! We as parents have to keep our children safe!! My kids know at any given time we will ask for the phones for a random check. it' legally is the adults property and with all the things that I see with sexting and textual harrasment we need to be there for our children!! Even if they feel like we are invading their space!!

Daphina - posted on 05/27/2009

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Absolutely, you should check the text messages. You pay the bill that is your child and it is your responsibility to be his parent first and friend second. This can be a tool to open up conversations about being appropriate, and phone etiquette, and how words and images can hurt. Also I find that as long as you keep the lines of communication open when someone sends him something that is offensive or inappropriate he wont be scared or ashamed to show you and talk to you about it.

Amy - posted on 05/27/2009

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I have a 13 yr old. I check his cell phone several times a week. You can learn a lot about what is going on with your child by reading the texted message's. We are the parents, cell phones are a privilege, we have the right to be involved with our children.

Lindsey - posted on 05/27/2009

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yes of course i check my sons all the time and his emails he is the same age twelve we had an understanding right from the beginning no secrets everything shared and that i would regulary check his texts and emails not that i dont trust him its other people !

Ruth - posted on 05/27/2009

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I don't know. That's a dificult one. I think I'd be inclined to let him have his privacy unless there was a specific suspicion that there is something wrong - eg, you think he may be being bullied.

Evelyn - posted on 05/27/2009

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Yes, yes, yes, yes. I like what Vicki says below. It really is about them knowing that you can and will check if you think it is neccessary. My sons are 19, 17 and 9 (he doesn't have any), and I know what is going on in the life, email, phones, facebooks, etc. They have never given me reason to check on them, but they know I will. Don't let people feed you crap about their privacy. We are their parents and protecting them is our job.

[deleted account]

If you are paying the bill, I feel you have evy right to monitor everything on that phone, I wish I would have, then I may have been able to prevent somethings that happened to my son.

Jaime - posted on 05/26/2009

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I still have difficulty with the idea of kids having cell phones...what's wrong with a payphone? Also, his coach will likely have access to a phone for him to use be it a cell phone or office phone, so getting a phone for your Son isn't exactly necessary---especially if you feel the need to check up on him to see what he is texting and receiving. Before 1990 we all got along just fine without the internet, cell phones, ipods, nintendo DS and whatever other technological gadgets are out there to sucker kids into a virtual social life. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having cell phones and such, but at what age is it actually necessary? And of course, there is the issue of 'wanting' a cell phone, as most kids have it as a daily accessory--but this is a scary thought!

Melissa - posted on 05/26/2009

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Quoting Veronica:

I dont think bringing up like a diary can even compare -- a diary didnt have the filth that is online and through texting that we have today -- unless they drew a picture (or perhaps some may have taken a personal pic, etc.) So you reallly can't compare to that --- ok, i feel like im becoming a big bitch in these forums - i just can't believe some ideas these days throughout everything on here....



totally agree!  A diary and phone texting have nothing to do with eachother...sexting is HUGE and scary.  My husband is also a police officer...and with the stories he tells me that teens have with cells...my daughter isnt getting one until she is able to pay for one!

Melissa - posted on 05/26/2009

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Quoting Veronica:

I dont think bringing up like a diary can even compare -- a diary didnt have the filth that is online and through texting that we have today -- unless they drew a picture (or perhaps some may have taken a personal pic, etc.) So you reallly can't compare to that --- ok, i feel like im becoming a big bitch in these forums - i just can't believe some ideas these days throughout everything on here....



totally agree!  A diary and phone texting have nothing to do with eachother...sexting is HUGE and scary.  My husband is also a police officer...and with the stories he tells me that teens have with cells...my daughter isnt getting one until she is able to pay for one!

User - posted on 05/26/2009

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Yes, you should check the text messages. My daughter is 11years old and has a cell phone and I check hers. Since he is 12 and your the parent you have the right to see whats happening on the phone your paying for. And if he's doing nothing wrong than he will have no problem letting you see the phone

Annemarie - posted on 05/26/2009

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does he pay the bill and do you completely trust him? you are really the only one that will be able to decide.. each child and how they see responsiblity is important, but if they are sneaky.. like some "pre"-teens and teens can be... see if your service lets you check them online then you wont need to actually touch his phone....

Sabrina - posted on 05/26/2009

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of course you have the right to check but would it be a good idea. if you feel youcan trust your son and he is doing good then dont. you might get him to act out cause he feels you cant trust him anymore. if you feel he is responsible enough for the phone then you should just use your motherly instincts. but if you think you cant trust him with texting then take it off the phone. they have phones out there that you program the numbers they can call and only the numbers you put in the phone can call him. that way he cant get calls from strangers. just remember pick your battles wisely.

Veronica - posted on 05/26/2009

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I dont think bringing up like a diary can even compare -- a diary didnt have the filth that is online and through texting that we have today -- unless they drew a picture (or perhaps some may have taken a personal pic, etc.) So you reallly can't compare to that --- ok, i feel like im becoming a big bitch in these forums - i just can't believe some ideas these days throughout everything on here....

Veronica - posted on 05/26/2009

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Im young, but old fashioned - why are kids getting so many privaleges now a days anyways? There's a phone at school - and if he really needs a phone to contact you, then just get a phone period -- texting and internet use (unless for homework) i think is bs for kids -- there is too much sh*t -- nude pics, and offensive words are able to be sent through texting too --- but if you must -- i wouldn't hesitate at all to check up on him -- if things look good then maybe let him a lone - but like another lady said if things change different attitude etc. - definatly just keep an eye and ear out ---

Shelagh - posted on 05/26/2009

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It's a tricky one. It's a bit like reading their diary (in the old days, when kids actually wrote on paper..) - not good, but possibly justifiable. If you do check them, don't freak out at what you read! It's more important to develop trust - can he tell you anything? And I mean anything? If you're shocked at the small stuff, he'll never tell you the big stuff. Also, it depends why you're worried - do you think other kids might be sending abusive messages - or do you think he might be the one doing it?

[deleted account]

YES! My daughter is 15, and she is not allowed to have Facebook, MySpace or e-mail unless I have full access to everything. I also check her phone if she just happens to leave it lying around. Just don't make it obvious that you are checking, and don't check constantly. If you see something that upsets you, try to bring it up in a way that's not making them feel as if you have invaded their privacy. Good luck!!!

Ellen - posted on 05/26/2009

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My opinion is YES. I assume you check other areas of your 12 year old's life, his homework, when go goes over a friends house, how he's behaving at school/football practice, etc. Who he is calling or texting on a cell phone is no different. Some might say that if you "trust" you son you don't need to check his cell phone. However, as a parent it is our "job" to help guide our children to make good decisions. At 12 a child might think texting certain things is okay. They might not see/understand all the consequences. That is our role to help guide them and teach them to know what are good decisions. You need to see what/who he is texting/calling in order to guide him. Check his phone. Make it part of the arrangement for having it. Good Luck!
Ellen

Jeanne - posted on 05/26/2009

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I wouldn't check out the test messages on the phone....I just would not allow text messages. I know we have to pay for text messages and that when it is a secondary phone on a plan and it's for a child the application can be blocked altogether. Check with your provider. I know that with some pay as you go phones you cannot even send text because of the limited money and time and the price of the messages eats up the money on the prepaid card.

Kylie - posted on 05/26/2009

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you both need to trust each other and he wont if you read hes messages, just ask him outright and let him no you trust him and hell tell you anything, i havnt an older child but i told my mum everything because i trusted her, good luck

Lori - posted on 05/26/2009

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If you feel you can't trust them in anyway, you have every right to check his texts....

Auri - posted on 05/26/2009

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but if it was me, i would. not all the time but curiosity kills me all the time. my parents would always tell my brother and i that we didnt have privacy until we started paying for our own stuff but then again we didnt have cell phones when we were in our pre teens just our sophmore year. and i never really gave them a reason to check anything, i was very open with my mom about alot of stuff in my life.

Salena - posted on 05/26/2009

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I wouldn't check them unless he gives me a reason to. Would you listen in on phone calls or read a diary? I think mutual respect deserves a chance. If he does something to make you not trust him then take the text message option off the phone completely.

Shana - posted on 05/25/2009

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Absolutely! My 10 yo daughter has a cell phone and I check it all of the time and she knows it. I will continue to do it as she gets older. I'm not mean about it. I just tell her that I want to make sure that I know who she is talking to. She is only allowed to call or talk to a few people. As she gets older, the rules will change accordingly. Just let him know that you plan on checking the phone every now and then because you are his mom. Your job is to make sure he is safe.

Jaclyn - posted on 05/25/2009

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You can check it if you want but how do you know he is not erasing the messages he does not want you to see. Kids are pretty smart these days. I am not saying he would erase them but it is a possibility.

Karen - posted on 05/25/2009

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My husband is a police officer in a high school. He has confiscated many cell phones because they are not allowed during school hours. The stories he has told about text messages are absolutely scary. A child needs to know you trust him, but he also needs to know that you will be keeping him honest. Kids are way more computer smart than most of us parents anyway so you will still only get half of the story.

[deleted account]

Since it is a phone and its to call you up for a ride, he doesn't need text messaging at age 12.

Melissa - posted on 05/25/2009

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If you are paying for the phone and are up front about the fact that you might check them from time to time then yes. I would not be sneaky about it. My friend has the same rules with her daughter about her computer and it has worked fine.

Donna - posted on 05/25/2009

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I agree with Tina Mendonca. Nothing to hide-hide nothing. You know your child better than anyone else-you will be able to tell if you need to check them-whatever is your comfort zone. I have an 10 year old girl and a 29 year old son. The world is different today then when he was young and I would definitely check my daughters messages.

Jenni - posted on 05/25/2009

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i absolutely believe as long as ur child is under ur roof u have the right to check up on them!!!! especially when it comes to the inet... it is ur right and duty as a parent to make sure ur child is not getting into any kind of trouble... dont let him give u the "i need my privacy or it's none of ur business" routine... it is... he is ur child and especially at 12 he is too young to have that much privacy... but i would sit him down and at least explain to him why you need to check up on him... b/c u love him and u dont want nething bad to happen to him and remind him (as much as he may hate it now) that he's lucky to have a mom who cares so much about him ;) but of course dont go overboard... and if u see that it's all pretty innocent u can let ur guard down a little... u know ur son better than ne of us so u should know if u really have nething to worry about

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