teens

"I am an out and proud stalker of my children via technology."

Debates about children and their right to privacy always astound me, particularly when it comes to smart phone use. I am an out and proud stalker of my children via technology, having given each of them a phone of their own to make my monitoring of them easier.

Thank you technology.

But there are still parents who feel as though they don’t have a right to keep a close eye on their children’s smart phone use, even though their kids are their legal responsibility until they are 18.

A mother has posed the question “Should I have access to my nearly 12-year-old’s dd’s [daughter’s] phone” and on parenting forum Mumsnet and the resounding response was “hell yes”.

She writes:

So far I have always known her password but now she’s changed it. I check her messages etc every so often. She knows this and has changed the password more than once. She is sensible and I don’t think she would do anything daft online and I’ve spoken to her about messages from people she doesn’t know (she says sh3 just blocks them instantly). Should I just leave her to it and let her have privacy?

Because, apparently, being a neglectful parents means being a good parent. Until something happens to your child and then you’re the worst parent in the world.

We can’t win, and that’s why we should just parent in a way that makes us feel comfortable.

I’m yet to meet a mother of adolescent and teenage children who don’t worry about their smart phone use, concerned about predators and bullies who can potentially contact them using a device we have purchased for them.

So the answer is of course this mum should have access to her 12-year-old daughter’s iPhone and should do until her daughter turns 18.

do kids need to do homework
Parents are the ones who buy our children smart phones and it's our responsibility to keep them safe. Image: iStock
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Majority of responses to this concerned mum's questions went along the lines of:

Your daughter is probably very sensible but it only takes one predator playing a long game and that's when problems can start. Or a friend no longer becoming a friend and sending hurtful stuff.

I have passwords to both daughters' phones - they are 14 and 12. They are sensible kids but it's my responsibility to keep them safe and there are many pitfalls out there - I'm more talking about bullying etc than getting involved with weirdos.

LISTEN: Yumi Stynes checks her teenage daughter's iPhones. Article continues...

Because that's the whole point. They are children, and don't yet have the experience or the maturity to deal with half of what they're going to be forced to deal with courtesy of technology.

Technology has definitely been a gift and a curse for parents but there's no going back. Now we have to balance being good parents and raising good people who can care for themselves.

That means we have to monitor their smart phone use, talk to them whenever we encounter something concerning and then hope we've taught them enough about personal safety by the time they turn 18.

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