Some parents get a little squeamish when it comes to monitoring social media of their children. They often ask themselves one question: Are they invading their child’s privacy? When it comes down to it, we have noticed that parental social media monitoring isn’t about privacy; it is about your child’s safety.
There are two sides to monitoring your teen’s social media. One side suggests it is the parent’s responsibility to be aware of their teen’s digital life whereas the other suggests parents should not spy on their teen’s online activity.
In an article published on Time.com, the author Lisa Damour, who also happens to be a psychologist, discussed a case about one of her patients who was a 16-year-old girl. Apparently, her parents had tracked her whereabouts and they had come to find out that she was hanging out with a group of friends at an all-boys high school.
Her parents were clearly upset with her as they wanted to know what she was doing at the all-boys high school and why she hadn’t told them where she was going. By monitoring their daughter’s social media, they collected more information about her than was useful.
The author suggested parents have a sturdy and stronger relationship with their teens so they can let them know whether or not they are monitoring their social media activity or keeping track of their whereabouts.
While this was one side of the story, most parents think that monitoring social media of their teens is quite important and relevant in today’s digital age. Parents who are tech-savvy and fully aware of how to use the internet and social media would want to know what their children are doing online.
And this does not only concern tech-savvy parents. Children’s safety on the internet is a serious concern for most parents. They believe keeping a close eye on their children’s social media activity will help them protect them on the internet.
They also know that excessive use of social media can disrupt their sleep patterns, homework, face-to-face conversations, or expose their children to several online threats.
Tech Executive Parents Monitoring Social Media of their Teens
It was interesting to see how tech executives also have concerns about their teen’s online safety, especially on social media. An article published on WSJ about how tech experts monitor their teens on social media helped in opening our eyes.
Even experts on the internet, social media and information security often wonder what hidden online threats are lurking on social media apps. They also wonder how many possible paths a hacker might take to invade their teen’s online privacy and how he can reach out to their teen.
Many tech-savvy executives chose to take different routes to keep their teens safe on social media platforms. From close monitoring to teaching them decision-making to helping them identify and manage online threats themselves, tech executive parents have been able to protect their teens on social media effectively by adopting different ways.
In the same article, we also come across how closely Brad Arkin, the chief security officer for Adobe, and his wife monitor their eight-year-old son’s online activity. For now, their son is only limited to watching children’s videos on YouTube and sending email.
They have restriction their son’s screen time to 30 to 60 minutes on most days. Whenever their son is reading his emails, they check them over his shoulder. They also stream his children’s videos on the family TV and have set YouTube on restricted mode so they can keep a close eye on the content.
Brad is trying his best to make his kid understand how the internet works and what happens to the content when they post on social media. He wants his son tech-savvy but not over-fearful.
Reasons to Monitor Your Teen’s Social Media Activity
It feels great to be a part of social media but one should also make sure that they do not fall into the trap of online threats lurking on these online platforms. This holds true for most teens. While adults can manage to protect themselves from potentially dangerous online threats, children and teens might not be able to do that.
This is where parental monitoring comes into play. Parents need to act responsibly when it comes to social media monitoring. We will discuss some reasons for parents to start monitoring their child’s social media activity.
Cyberbullying is one of the major reasons why parents need to start monitoring their kid’s social media activity. Most young children are teens who are bullied online by cyberbullies suffer from depression and emotional stress but never tell their parents.
Cyberbullies hurt mean, offensive, and rude comments at them online and send them messages on social media platforms or instant-messaging apps using profane language. Monitoring your kid’s social media can alert you if someone tries to bully your child or if your child id bullying someone else online.
Many teens are involved in sexting these days. Instant-messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat have helped them carry out sexting privately. They think it’s sexy to capture and send inappropriate pictures of themselves to someone else. They even find it amusing to forward someone else’s inappropriate pictures on social media.
If you start monitoring your teen’s incoming and outgoing text messages, you can step in the right time and stop your teen from sexting.
Most sexual predators find easier access to their targets on social media platforms. They think these platforms help them find and develop friendships with young children and teens quite easily. They add them on social media, send them sweet messages, and become friends with them.
Children are innocent and they easily get lured into their sweet talks. They think they have found real friends in their form. However, sexual predators have their own evil reasons for doing that. After becoming friends with children, they demand nude or inappropriate pictures and videos from them only to use them against the children in the future or sell them to the dark web at a good price.
Parents can never find out who their children have been talking to unless they are not monitoring their social media activity or checking their messages. They can protect their children from pedophiles or sexual predators if they closely monitor their online activity.
Identify Theft and Bad Apples
Monitoring your teen’s online activity can help you identify theft and bad apples. It’s common for your teens to give out their personal information to someone else on the internet. Any person can try to steal your teen’s private information such as their bank account or credit card details. They can steal your teen’s identity without them knowing. Therefore, parents should keep an eye on their activity.
On the other hand, some of your teen’s friends could be trying to persuade them to do drugs, shoplift, drink alcohol, engage in sexual activities, or do something else that goes against your family’s moral values. Before you find your teen getting involved in any such wrong activity, it is better to talk to them about sensitive topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, sex, and relationships, etc. and make them comfortable around you.
Limit Screen Time
Parents who regularly monitor their child’s online activity are more aware of how much time their child is spending on the internet. Therefore, they are more likely to set boundaries on screen time. By limiting screen time, children will get some time to pay attention to other activities.
According to an article published on USAToday.com, recent research on screen time has suggested something entirely different. It has been suggested that screen time does not bring any long-term psychological harm among kids. In fact, it does not also replace family time.
Just like family does other domestic activities together such as making dinner, playing outside, watching a movie together, they can also use screens at the same time. It is better if children use their screens in their parent’s presence. They can watch movies and play games together online.
The internet is known to be a big city but without any police. Therefore, it can be a scary place to let your kids spend time on it unsupervised. If you think you are invading your teen’s privacy by monitoring their online activity then do not think like that. Only you can protect them from online dangers and ensure their online safety.