Tuesday, 08 November 2016 09:41

Should you tell your child that he or she is being monitored?

In an age where children and teens face so many dangers online (cyberbullying, sexual predators, exposure to pornography and inappropriate content, etc.) many parents have wisely opted for installing monitoring software on their kids’ smartphones, tablets and dIn an age where children and teens face so many dangers online (cyberbullying, sexual predators, exposure to pornography and inappropriate content, etc.) many parents have wisely opted for installing monitoring software on their kids’ smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

Parental monitoring apps, such as the products marketed by mSpy and SpyStealth, can be easily installed on a child’s internet-connected devices, giving parents a window into a child’s online activities. Once such an app is installed, a parent can remotely and discreetly monitor nearly everything their teens or pre-teens are doing while online.

A good monitoring app can reveal who the child communicates with online, what is being shared, how much time they are spending on their devices, and how much of that time is spent on various activities, such as gaming, chatting with friends, watching music videos, etc. These apps can also monitor a child’s physical whereabouts via GPS tracking.

Monitoring apps are the most effective way to keep track of a child’s online behavior, and more and more parents are recognizing their value in helping to make sure their kids remain safe while surfing the net.

Privacy vs. Safety

Although most parents can immediately recognize the value of such a powerful parenting tool, many are also concerned about the invasion of their children’s privacy. Most experts agree that children should be allowed a certain amount of privacy, but at the same time it’s very important to make sure a child is not engaging in risky or dangerous behavior while online.

Often children are unable to grasp the full consequences of some of their behavior, and it’s generally acknowledged that parents need to actively monitor their children to some extent - both on and offline - but no caring parent wants to become a dictator or an all-seeing eye. And many parents would prefer not to snoop on their children’s activities without their being aware that it is taking place.

Because of this, the use of a monitoring app can present something of a dilemma - these apps are valuable, possibly even essential, tools for keeping a child safe, but they can also represent a certain level of privacy invasion.

To tell or not to tell?

To make things a little easier (or more complicated, depending on your point of view), parents have the option of informing their child or not that monitoring software has been installed. Depending on many factors, parents may opt for transparency or secrecy regarding the use of such apps.

It’s completely up to the individual parent, of course, but here are some general guidelines that may be helpful in deciding whether or not the child should be informed, as well as deciding how much monitoring is actually necessary.

First, if you feel that your child is trustworthy in general and has little to hide, and if you feel that you can communicate easily with him or her, you may want to discuss the need for such monitoring in terms they can understand and accept.

You may also discuss how much or what aspects of their activities will be monitored - for example, you may agree not to intercept personal communications and only monitor how much time the child spends online daily.

Certain features on most monitoring apps can either be enabled or disabled, and if you and your child have a healthy degree of mutual trust, this can be a good method of letting a child know that monitoring is taking place, but that it is being done at a minimal level.

On the other hand, if you feel that your child may be hiding things from you - if you are concerned, for instance, that the child may be using drugs or hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” you may want to install a monitoring app without their knowledge so that you can find out the truth.

Both approaches, as far as I am concerned, are valid ones and depending on the circumstances and your own attitudes regarding your child’s right to privacy, you can make your own decision accordingly.

The fact remains, however, that any concerned and caring parent should strongly consider installing one of these apps on their child’s internet-connected devices. There are simply too many possible negative consequences associated with unsupervised internet usage by a child or teen.

The decision whether or not to inform the child, though, is entirely up to your own discretion.

Parental monitoring apps, such as the products marketed by mSpy and SpyStealth, can be easily installed on a child’s internet-connected devices, giving parents a window into a child’s online activities. Once such an app is installed, a parent can remotely and discreetly monitor nearly everything their teens or pre-teens are doing while online.

A good monitoring app can reveal who the child communicates with online, what is being shared, how much time they are spending on their devices, and how much of that time is spent on various activities, such as gaming, chatting with friends, watching music videos, etc. These apps can also monitor a child’s physical whereabouts via GPS tracking.

Monitoring apps are the most effective way to keep track of a child’s online behavior, and more and more parents are recognizing their value in helping to make sure their kids remain safe while surfing the net.

Privacy vs. Safety

Although most parents can immediately recognize the value of such a powerful parenting tool, many are also concerned about the invasion of their children’s privacy. Most experts agree that children should be allowed a certain amount of privacy, but at the same time it’s very important to make sure a child is not engaging in risky or dangerous behavior while online.

Often children are unable to grasp the full consequences of some of their behavior, and it’s generally acknowledged that parents need to actively monitor their children to some extent - both on and offline - but no caring parent wants to become a dictator or an all-seeing eye. And many parents would prefer not to snoop on their children’s activities without their being aware that it is taking place.

Because of this, the use of a monitoring app can present something of a dilemma - these apps are valuable, possibly even essential, tools for keeping a child safe, but they can also represent a certain level of privacy invasion.

To tell or not to tell?

To make things a little easier (or more complicated, depending on your point of view), parents have the option of informing their child or not that monitoring software has been installed. Depending on many factors, parents may opt for transparency or secrecy regarding the use of such apps.

It’s completely up to the individual parent, of course, but here are some general guidelines that may be helpful in deciding whether or not the child should be informed, as well as deciding how much monitoring is actually necessary.

First, if you feel that your child is trustworthy in general and has little to hide, and if you feel that you can communicate easily with him or her, you may want to discuss the need for such monitoring in terms they can understand and accept.

You may also discuss how much or what aspects of their activities will be monitored - for example, you may agree not to intercept personal communications and only monitor how much time the child spends online daily.

Certain features on most monitoring apps can either be enabled or disabled, and if you and your child have a healthy degree of mutual trust, this can be a good method of letting a child know that monitoring is taking place, but that it is being done at a minimal level.

On the other hand, if you feel that your child may be hiding things from you - if you are concerned, for instance, that the child may be using drugs or hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” you may want to install a monitoring app without their knowledge so that you can find out the truth.

Both approaches, as far as I am concerned, are valid ones and depending on the circumstances and your own attitudes regarding your child’s right to privacy, you can make your own decision accordingly.

The fact remains, however, that any concerned and caring parent should strongly consider installing one of these apps on their child’s internet-connected devices. There are simply too many possible negative consequences associated with unsupervised internet usage by a child or teen.

The decision whether or not to inform the child, though, is entirely up to your own discretion.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 03:59