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Kids' Phone Safety Blog

What Do Kids Think about Their Parents Spying on Their Phones?

May 23, 2016
parents spying on kids

So, here is your teen kid sitting in front of you and you think he or she is safe. This scenario was true like a decade ago when all your kid’s attention was not drawn to the Internet-connected mobile device. According to McAfee ‘Teens and the Screen’ study, while 90 percent of teens say their parents trust them to be responsible online, 45 percent said they would change something about their online behavior if their parents were watching. Therefore, even with your eyes on your child, you are still wondering where he or she really is, and whether he or she is not in trouble.

As a result of this incertitude about kids’ safety, a nowadays parent starts to spy on kid’s phone, installs some app to monitor kid’s texts and locate a phone without them knowing. And it seems like a wise choice for a parent, as over 30 percent of teens admit to hiding online activities (McAfee Digital Deception Study). But would your kid like to be spied on? Surveys show that teens would prefer to be trusted with their choices, and they want adults to see they are capable of reasonable decisions.

‘If you spy on kids without them knowing, you show disrespect to their personal life’

spying on kids

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Spying implies dealing with secret information. Therefore, if you install a parental control app while your child is blissfully unaware of it and keeps sharing secrets with friends in IMs, you do spy on your kid’s cell phone. What would you think if you found out your best friend had installed such an app on your phone? Well, he or she would have a hard time trying to salvage your friendship. That is what young adult thinks of parental invasion of privacy. This way the young become rebels who are even more likely to misbehave, get more distant, and lose all the respect they once had for their parents. All that, due to this so-called betrayal of trust.

To get a smooth transition into the adult life, teens should be allowed to make their own decisions and mistakes. An excessive parental control is like useless crutches for a person who knows how to walk, slowing down the path to the adulthood, making teens dependable.

Moreover, constant control makes a child less confident, easily manipulated by not only you but also whoever happens to be nearby. Teens who are always under a watchful eye of their parents tend to seek validation and approval from others, thus, lacking leadership qualities to pursue a higher goal in life.

It’s not spying if I know about them watching

parents and daughter

Source: understood.org

It’s worth mentioning that teenagers are hypersensitive about their personal matters. To be a part of their circle of trust, you should definitely explain why and how you are planning on monitoring their gadgets. First, get across the reasons why you block certain sites and apps. Then, lay out what content should never be posted online or sent in private messages. Make it clear that you will monitor the posts and messages to prevent identity theft and possible unreasonable posts that could bear harm in future. Explain the difference between spying and monitoring. Such talks have some great outcomes: teens learn to control their emotions and actions online, this habit will entail some self-control later even offline, and you will know they are okay.

Just don’t procrastinate. Vivid statistics by Hart Research Associates reveals that 93 percent of parents say they talk to their teens about online safety while only 61 percent of teens report having this conversation.

To sum it up, once you learn how to track your kids, read their messages and Facebook posts, or simply put, once you install a multifunctional parental control app, have a talk with your family. The figures show that fewer than half of teens who were warned about their online or mobile activities being monitored are bothered by parents looking over their shoulders. This will ensure your peace of mind, encourage your children to be more mindful of your actions, and maintain mutual trust. Well, that sound like a perfect family, doesn’t it?

Do you talk to your kids about monitoring their devices? Tell us in the comments!

Petra Lipfer
Petra Lipfer is a freelance blogger living in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about everything concerting writing and the Internet. She is married and has two beautiful kids. She has a degree in Management and has taken several IT courses. Petra is a certified specialist in child online security. She enjoys blogging on everything concerning children, their security and parenthood in general. You can contact

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