Pros and Cons of Reading Your Kids’ Text Messages
Parents are naturally concerned with their children’s safety, and the worries differ depending on the age of the child. Which vitamins to take when you are expecting, how to toddlerproof your home when your baby starts to make its first steps, what protection to buy along with the first scooter or a pair of rollerblades. All those precautions are to prevent a possible negative outcome. It seems that being proactive is a part of being a sensible parent. So, why not to learn how to check text messages online when you hand your child his or her first mobile device?
Several totally opposite questions may naturally spring into your mind, such as ‘Why would I need to look at text messages online’ and ‘How can you read text messages online?’
Let’s begin with the ‘why’s’ first
Why would you pry into someone’s life, even if that someone is your kid? Seems like a pretty valid question, depending on your willingness to give your child some freedom and space, and, of course, on your child\’s age. While your children might be adult enough to decide which T-shirt to wear today, what game to play, they seem to lack judgement as to potential dangers this world holds for them. None of them expects to fall down when they are riding a scooter, the same way they don\’t expect to fall the victim of a cybercrime, get bullied while reading text messages online, or get their identity stolen. Yes, you teach them not to talk to strangers, but somehow a person who’s got your cell number or managed to contact you on the Internet isn’t perceived as a stranger anymore. And with the variety of social media and different interactive websites and games, it’s not difficult at all to get in touch with, well, anyone.
Although you may stand against the idea of violating your kid’s privacy, consider monitoring your child a part of your parental role. Through text messages, teens might be subjected to bullying, as well as sexting, either of which might become quite annoying, and neither of which they might feel comfortable to report or talk about. Examples of sextexting can be easily found online. Feeling insecure and looking for approval and appreciation, teens find those messages fun at first. Later on, sexting might get ugly, and not that easy to get away from. It can result in lower grades at school or even shameful exposure should those messages get revealed to the public. Assess those few issues before saying ‘yes’ to leaving a minor with a phone unmonitored. It’s not about privacy, it’s about family safety. Consider getting it a bit under your control and maybe learn to block both ingoing and outgoing messages, just to be on the safe side, in case there is a need.
You might reject the idea of making decisions about this world for your child. It’s a good intention to let a teen learn from his of her own mistakes. And that is true. Nonetheless, bear in mind that learning how to trust others in the cyberworld without monitoring may result in, for instance, an identity theft. Also, cyber-criminals might get access to quite sensitive information on your entire family, your address, your working hours, when the house get unattended etc. Suddenly, the advantages of reading the texts of your children may outweigh the disadvantages.
And let’s get to how’s
First, take a look at your child’s phone settings. Chances are, it has some backup functions to set up. Those will help you to view the messages after they were viewed by a recipient. But what if you want to see a message before it reaches your kid, and possibly stop it from ever being delivered to that sensitive mind of your little one? You should consider getting a reliable parental control app which will allow you to monitor all the communication through all the messengers installed on a phone or tablet, like Viber, Facebook messenger and others. Modern parental control software has plenty of additional benefits, starting from simple GPS-tracking of a phone and up to a full control of your kid’s device. You can turn certain apps on and off, set time restrictions for some apps thus teaching kids some discipline. Each function has its own benefits and might be useful in your family. Keep in mind that even if you decide to opt for a piece of software, take a moment to have regular conversations with your kids about their worries and their online safety. Make sure they know you are just keeping an eye on them, blocking all the trash and scams; and not spying.
All in all, giving your kid a phone, don’t forget about protective gear. And it is not a phone case or bumper as you might have thought. Remember, that your goal is to protect your child, not the phone. That is, to be proactive in terms of your child’s cyber safety, consider some reliable software to watch over your loved ones.