As a parent, it can be difficult to walk the line of trusting in your child and giving them privacy, and wanting to protect them to the point of invading their privacy. This is especially true when it comes to their use of the internet and cell phones. Many parents struggle with whether they can or should monitor their child’s text messages and call history. Here’s a simple guide to help you determine what you should do in this situation.
First, ask yourself these important questions:
Is my child responsible?
Does your child typically act in a responsible manner? Do they follow the ground rules that you have established for them, such as coming home by their curfew, maintaining their grades, and helping out around the home? A responsible child is one that you can feel more confident in giving a bit more freedom than an irresponsible child.
Has he or she demonstrated trustworthiness?
Parents need to trust their kids before they can feel good about giving them more freedom. Be honest when asking yourself this question, and in determining whether or not your child has really shown you that you can trust them. If they typically follow rules, answer you honestly, and behave in a way that is appropriate, you will likely be able to trust what they tell you and have greater peace of mind about what they’re doing and who they’re hanging out with outside of the home.
Use a safety app
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep tabs on your child is with a family tracking and safety app. It can be easily installed on the cell phones of all family members. This allows moms and dads to see where their children are at any given time, and it can also allow them to access their child’s photo albums, track SMS, and call history. In order to build and maintain trust with your children, just let them know that the app has been installed on their device.
Take the time as a family to set boundaries for your children’s behavior, particularly with regard to their cell phone usage. In addition to setting times that they’re allowed to use the phone, make sure that you establish clear rules on the amount of text messages and calls that they may make throughout the month. Remind them that the plan that you are paying for may come with a usage limit each month, and they must respect those limits.
Talk to your kids
Lastly, the most important thing that any parent can do is to talk to their children. Have a discussion with them about cell phone safety, how to use social media safely, and how and why they should always make smart choices. Being open and honest with them is the best way to build trust, and it needs to go both ways. If you are going to monitor your child’s texts and their calls, make sure that they understand why.