Tuesday, 12 November 2013 00:00

The Ethics of Monitoring Your Child's Online Activity

The use of social networking platforms on smartphones and tablets by teens has increased almost exponentially in the past few years. Social networks such as Twitter and Instagram are now surpassing Facebook in popularity among teens and it seems that our children are spending more and more of their time online. This has raised a number of concerns among parents - many worry that not only are their children are too immersed in the virtual world for their own good, but also there are fears for their safety. These are legitimate issues and often parents are at a loss coming to terms with them.

A List of Concerns

Here are just a few of the concerns modern parents have concerning children and their use of smartphones, the internet and social networking platforms:

1) Time Management

Social interaction is important for children, of course, but so are their studies and their physical health. Many kids are neglecting their schoolwork in favor of chatting for hours with their friends on the phone or with texts. Also, there are concerns that children these days aren’t getting enough exercise and fresh air.

2) Online Bullying

This has become a major problem for a number of teens and has even led some unfortunate victims to take their own lives. What children share online can come back to haunt them, and too often they are careless about what they make available to others.

3) Sexual Predators

One of the scariest aspects of the Internet is the anonymity it affords for criminals and sexual predators. It is common, for instance, for pedophiles to pose as children online in an effort to prey on innocent youngsters. This is a real threat and should not be underestimated.

ethicsStrategies for Monitoring Children’s Online Habits

It is important to discuss the potential dangers of online activity with your child and it’s also important to set limits, in terms of time spent and what should and should not be shared with friends (and especially strangers). However, many parents feel that this isn’t enough. One very effective way to know what a child is engaged in online is to install mobile monitoring software onto their smartphones and/or tablets. With a spy phone app installed on a child’s cell phone or tablet, a parent can view all the activity taking place on the targeted device. Parents will have access to details such as how much time the child is spending online and whom they are engaging with.

Ethical Concerns

Many parents would prefer not to “spy” on their children - in that case, there’s also the option to install the spy phone software with the child’s full knowledge that they are being monitored. However, parents may choose not to let their children know that they are keeping an eye on their online activity. In the end it’s up to the individual parent, but spy apps are probably the only truly effective way to have full knowledge of their child’s online habits.

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 12:06