Is it a privacy taboo to peek at your tween’s social media or is it more of your responsibility as a parent? This is a debated question you may have already answered in your mind, but is it right for you?
Is it really peeking or responsibility?
This is a discussion of privacy versus responsibility. Peeking isn’t really what I want to unpack, here. Maybe it’s more: viewing, looking through, understanding, watching, monitoring, or seeking out instead of giving them privacy and letting them handle things online.
Destructive rants can get out of hand easily, and without parents knowing a thing about it on social media. I have friends who ‘think’ they know what’s going on with their tweens social media, but honestly, they have no clue. Most of us think our kids are doing okay with it all in reality. They are taught at school to be socially responsible. So most parents ‘think’ they are on the inside track, and ‘believe’ their kids are old enough to handle peer relationships. Do we know what’s really going on? Do you make it a practice to look through your tween’s messages, media, links or even talked to them about it at a DEEPER level?
Some would say it’s a breach of their privacy and trust. Other would say it’s a parent’s duty and responsibility. I think there is an incredible balance between the two.
1. Phones Come With Responsibility
First things first. When we handed our kids their phones, it came with a condition- they must always know we will look at their phone whenever we want. It’s not their social media account, they don’t pay the phone and Internet bill, they still live by our rules under our roof, and they are still responsible for their actions regardless of their age. And we are still child-rearing them…
If they want privacy, they can:
- write in their diary, under lock and key
- call a friend up
- visit a friend
- have friends over to visit
- write a letter snail mail
2. Remind them their privacy isn’t private on social media
Secondly, if they don’t want to show a parent something on social media, then it’s obviously not supposed to be ‘out there.’ Screenshots can be taken with another phone that isn’t even the one showing the threads and picts. Some parents may think their kids know what they can and can’t do online. They’ve told them…and their kids listen.
Did you completely listen to your parents 100% of the time? Our tweens are not too old to ‘pry’ and ‘spy’ on. It’s not spying, it’s responsible parenting. It’s healthy to have consistent conversations to tell them it’s our duty to ask them about it. We can take it to a deeper level and actually tell them why through examples. If we are always communicating with them about it, then they will just know that’s part of the deal.
3. Scanning versus prying
Finally, don’t worry about breaching privacy with your kids. We are not their friends first, we are the parents. Our kids will always have secrets from us. Adults have some secrets from the tween years that we might even be taken to the grave. We can scan and look for possible situations to speak to our kids about instead of prying and looking through every thread and photo. I believe it is a responsible approach for adults to at least tell your tweens you will be looking at their accounts and follow up by doing it.
In conclusion, until they begin to pay for it and are over 18, and I stop washing their underwear, is the day I won’t, as a responsible parent, to look at their phone.
What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and also your suggestion on how you actually make it work for your family.