Should I spy on my kids

Sarah - posted on 01/28/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )




Both my girls have the computers and access to the internet in their bedrooms. They are 12 and nearly 15 and need it for school work. They are much more technically minded than me, and have overtaken my computer skills. I've said over and over again "don't go in internet chat rooms, don't talk to strangers, don't give out your full name and address, and most importantly, never arrange to meet someone you've met through the internet" Should this be enough trust, or should I look through their internet histories to see where they've been. I do trust them normally, but think they maybe as bit gullible, particarly the older one. Would other parents look through their histories while they're at school?


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Erin - posted on 01/28/2010




Yes, you should look through the histories and find out what they are doing, but let them know you are doing it, when you do it not beforehand (so they can't delete history before). It is your job to protect your children and your right to know what they are doing. I've seen too many stories of a young girls going to meet someone they have been talking to on the net and her parents never even had a clue. Too scary for me. My son is only 2 1/2 but when he is old enough to go on the net it will be in a family room where I can see where he is going and who he is talking too period end of discussion. Good luck to you!!

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Sarah - Go for it. I have an 18, 16 and 11 year old kids. I have told each of them that I get to snoop history, IM logs, whatever my little heart desires. I also tell them that if I suspect tampering with history or logs I will assume guilt. (Man, I sound so mean!) I hardly ever actually check, but I have found a couple of interesting things. A classic was my son breaking the "don't talk to strangers" rule. He was playing an online game and some guy asked him VERY inappropriate questions. What was great was that he handled it by blocking the guy and promptly telling all his friends "Don't ever respond to _____. He's a perve" and so forth.

I also believe pretty strongly that the computer should be in a more public area of the house. I heard that somewhere along the way very early and have just stuck with it. We have a desktop out in the living area and a laptop they can cart around to sit on the couch and do homework on the couch.

Be prepared for what you see to be painfully dull. :o) I never found any riveting conversations to read.

Cherie - posted on 01/28/2010




OK, I have a 15 month old son, and am pregnant with my second, so I have no experience with this, but I think it is better to be safe than sorry and check. The internet is a very dangerous thing, and I remember what it is like being a 15 year old girl. You check, see they aren't doing anything bad and feel better, or you check and see they are doing something bad, and you can stop them before something worse happens. JMO. Goodluck!

Jessica - posted on 01/28/2010




i would, when i was younger my parents had a program that recorded my every keystroke. because of the program they read my emails, and found my website and facebook, where i had a bunch of pics posted..stuff that a teenager would think is innocent and now that i am a mom i would have beaten my kid for half the crap i pulled. (lol). my parents also loved to read my diary.. which got me in trouble on more than a couple occasions. its your house isnt it? they dont pay the mortgage, and the electricity bill that supplies that computer with power? its your house and if you are feeling a little put off about what your kids could be doing on the computer you definately have a right to investigate.

April - posted on 01/28/2010




They are children and it is your responsibility to protect them! They are living in your house. You do what you need to to protect them. If it means going through their room and internet histories so be it. We did not allow my son to have the computer in his room until he was 15 then the door needed to be open and he knew we would check the internet histories and either my husband or I would walk in at any time to look at what he was doing on his computer. We also were up front with him about the fact that we reserved the right to look through his room. I never looked in secret I might leaf through things while he was in the room. He sometimes showed me things(on facebook) that were going on with his friends.

Shelagh - posted on 01/28/2010




The internet is a funny thing. With a 12 year old and a 15 year old we would feel perfectly happy to insist on knowing where they were going if they were outside, and would have no worries about checking that they had got there safely. We would be happy to ask them what they'd been doing while they were out, and if we felt they were likely to go somewhere inappropriate, we would do something about it without a moment's hesitation. So why is it different with the internet??

Renae - posted on 01/28/2010




To be honest, most kids would know to clear their browsing history if they have been somewhere they shouldn't. I think you should have a rule that they only talk to people on the internet that they already know in real life (very hypocritical of me as I write to you who I have never met!). Explain that if you ever find put that this rule has been broken they will have restricted access to their computer and the internet (as in they will only be able to look at what are called "trusted sites" which means sites that you actually type in and tell the computer they are allowed to go to, that is how schools control internet usage). Look into some child protection software that can track whether your kids have been doing anything they shouldn't (like going on chat sites).

Also keep in mind how they will feel about you intruding into their personal lives. I think this is a little bit like the old "should I read her diary" question. Kids need a certain amount of respect and privacy, but I understand its a fine line between privacy and keeping them safe.

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Yes I would. As long as I am resposible for their safety and providing such facilities as rooms and computers then there is no garuntee of absolute privacy. I would try to be discrete about checking though although I wouldnt lie about it. Everyone has their own ideal on the issue of 'childs right to privacy' though so go with what makes you feel most secure. If you dont feel the need to check then leave it. If you have concerns that they arent discerning enough to keep themselves safe on the net then it is up to you to make sure they arent making themselves too vulnerable. Just my view though.

Jodi - posted on 01/28/2010




My 12 year old has a computer in our living area, and he has to ask me for the password to access the internet, so I know when he is online and when he isn't. That's the way it will stay for several years to come :)

He totally understands why. I have also explained it is not HIM I don't trust, it is other people. We have discussed things such as cyber bullying, child abduction, inappropriate content, etc. He knows why we have these rules, and he has never had an issue with the rules.

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i say a big yes. we don't my eldest son got in connect with family members which where not nice. by side that there are so many weird looking for young kids . i learn my lesson too late tho but the we let but we watch time and check his histories and e-mails and facebook accounts.

Moshira - posted on 01/28/2010




No I don't think you should. Trust them as you would want them to trust you. All you can do in guide them not live their lives. True that there are some bad things out there but spying on them won't help cause they will end up hiding things away from you and when they do need help they won't want to come to you. I know it happened to my mother and I.

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