Last Updated on
In this age and time, the importance of owning smartphones cannot be stressed enough. Parents have to at some point supply their children with smartphones to keep contact and emergency situations.
However, the question arises on whether we should monitor our children’s cell phone activities. For many, this may be a moral dilemma, since we often teach children the importance of privacy. Should we really invade their privacy? Is it a duty as a parent or a breach of trust?
Contents & Quick Navigation
1. Why Should You Monitor Child’s Online Activities?
Most teens these days spend a lot of time online with the parents often unaware of their activities. They are impressionable and may sometimes not understand the implications and become involved in inappropriate situations.
Often, there is a bit of strain between parents and children especially during teen years so they may not be willing to share everything happening with them.
It is normal to hesitate before checking on your kids. However, monitoring may also save both the parents and the kids before any unfortunate incident occurs.
A Pew research center survey of adults with children between 13-17 years shows that 61 percent of parents checked the websites that their teenager kids visited, 60 percent visited their social media accounts and 48 percent looked through their phone call logs and messages and 16 percent tracked their teenagers’ whereabouts through their cell phones.
There are many technological options available to monitor your kids without their knowledge so that you may intervene when things get out of hand. If you are still unsure, here are some valid reasons to make you reconsider whether you should monitor your kids.
2. Entering Unsafe Zones
It often happens that many children either willingly or unwillingly enter unsafe zones, such as a bad neighborhood or are late while returning home. Geofencing apps will help locate your child to prevent any accidents.
They are also helpful in tracking lost or stolen devices.
3. Identity theft
With increasing users of social media platforms and ease of access to personal information, the cases of identity theft have been on the rise. Children are even more susceptible to this as they are more likely to give away personal information.
According to a report published by Javelin Strategy & Research in 2017, more than 1 million children (1.48% minors) were victims of identity threat.
Around two-thirds of them were below 7 years old or younger. Most often such incidents are perpetrated by close family members who can coax information out of the child.
4. Browsing History
The internet has made access to information extremely easy. Everything that you want to know is at the tip of your fingers. Though this does have its perks, there is a lot of potential for misuse.
Children can also access mature content which can be detrimental for their mental health. They may also be exposed to extremist views or even violent content.
5. Chat Rooms with malicious content
These days there are chat rooms for everything and it is easy for children to become part of those which spread malicious content or hatred. In 2009 in Germany, a 17-year-old had warned about carrying out shootings in school on a chat room hours before the attack.
An article published by the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth discusses the link between online socialization and school shootings. Your child may become victim to or even part of such groups so it is important to be aware of their online activities.
6. Texting Unknown Friends
The thing about online communications is that it is very easy to keep your identity a secret. This is where children become vulnerable to online sexual predators who may pose as caring ‘friends’.
The threat doesn’t come from only predators but also from peer pressure. In many cases, children may be forced by peers to share sexual content under the guise of ‘pranks’ or ‘dares’.
According to the International Journal of Adolescence, most predators approach children via chat rooms in online multiplayer games. These statistics are not given to instill fear in the minds of parents but rather to advise parents to exercise caution.
This has become a hot topic since the past couple of years. A large number of high profile cases often leading to suicide has been attributed to cyberbullying.
Many children are brought up in detrimental environments which deteriorate their capabilities to differentiate good and bad. So they grow up with rather disturbing ideas.
This often manifests in the form of bullying peers or other vulnerable children online.
An alarming 25% of adolescents have been victims to cyberbullying. However, only a small percentage of them receive any support to cope with such situations.
Parents have to create an environment such that their child is free to discuss such issues and find solutions to them. Measures must be taken so that the child can talk to their parents rather than take drastic steps that may harm them.
It is understandably an uncomfortable topic for many parents. They do not want to admit that their child may be involved in such conversations.
However, parents must understand that teenagers are at an age where they might indulge in such things, ignoring it might only lead to bigger problems such as blackmailing, online leaks, etc.
Parents must approach such topics very carefully and be understanding. They have to allow their child to be able to openly share information with them.
In such cases, it may not be possible to directly intervene but parents must explain how to act responsibly online.
It is an undeniable fact how many long hours children spend online texting or on social media. Monitoring apps can help parents limit the time the child spends online.
This will encourage them to engage in outdoor activities and pay more attention to academic work. There is also the added benefit to allow them to communicate face-face more frequently rather than from behind a screen.
10. Sleep Deprivation
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 87% of US high schoolers are missing out on the recommended amount of sleep of 8-9 hours per day. The compulsion to check social media, send replies or watch videos may be overwhelming for many children.
That is why parents must monitor and set regulations on the amount of time they spend online. This is important for both their physical and mental health.
Monitoring children does not mean stalking each step they take and record every activity online. Parents must understand the fine line between maintaining discipline and becoming overbearing to their children.
If the parents hound over their children, this might instead have an adverse effect on them and ruin their relationships. They will be less likely to communicate or reach out in times of need.
It is necessary for parents and children to have an honest and open conversation about the risks and dangers of online surfing and how to remain careful.
They must also be taught about online etiquettes so they don’t unwittingly cause harm to others. Ultimately children learn by watching their parents. It is futile to try and teach a child to control their online hours when they see their parents chatting all the time.
So set an example and exercise the same discipline that you want to see in your children.
Please note: Articles you read here at FeedFond are genuinely for education or entertainment purpose only. We may earn commissions from the referral link to the products we review. However, this does not influence our judgment, but we strive to help people make an informed decision with positive and negative evaluations. We withhold any responsibility for any loss, risk, and personal or otherwise, experienced as a result, directly or indirectly, from any information or guidance given here.