A recent survey shows that 60% of US parents of teenagers are okay with monitoring their kid's social accounts without the teen's knowledge. And moms are usually the ones doing the "spying". Even more American parents "stay connected" to their teens on social network sites. However, another survey showed that 35% of teens will ignore their parent's friend requests. With all of the technology and dangers at their fingertips, is it spying or responsible parenting to know what our teens are doing with these gadgets?
Parenting in today's culture requires constant vigilance and contant prayer for wisdom. When our teens got phones, we set guidelines on when they could be used as well as monthly texting limits. We also discussed random phone checks. During those checks my husband or I will read through all of the text messages. We will have conversations with our boys about any questionable texts. They also understand that if texts have been deleted then they will lose the privilege of having a phone.
We also have their facebook login & passwords. It was part of our agreement to allow them to get a facebook account. Another part of our agreement was that we would be friends on facebook. If they had chosen to ignore that, then they would not have a facebook account. My teens know that we monitor their accounts but they don't know when or how often we check it. And just like the phone, if we see posts or messages that are inappropriate in any way, we discuss them and use them as a learning experience. They have both lost the privilege of accessing facebook for a period of time for questionable activity.
When we monitor our kid's activity on electronic devices, we don't do it to snoop or invade their privacy. Our purpose is to to follow God's call to parents in Ephesians to "bring up our your children in the training and insruction of the Lord". Proverbs 19:18 says "Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death". Our children are bombarded daily by the temptations and seductions of an evil world. They are not emotionally or spiritually mature enough to handle most of it. That's why it's so important as parents to stay connected with our children and do the hard parts of parenting that may not make us very popular with our children. Proverbs warns parents that "to forbear from chastising is virtually to expose the son who needs it to a far worse penalty." (Barnes Notes on the Bible) "Nothing affects the heart of a parent so much as a child's cries and tears. But it is better that the child may be caused to cry, when the correction may be healthful to his soul, than that the parent should cry afterwards, when the child is grown to man's estate, and his evil habits are sealed for life." (Clarke's Commentary of the Bible)
You can call it whatever you want to call it...spying, monitoring, or responsible parenting...just make sure you know what your children are doing on their electronic devices. You may find out things that will surprise you, anger you or disappoint you. When you do...take action. Ask God for wisdom, guidance and the strength you need to impact to the heart of your child.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.