Most Parents Are Checking Their Child’s Social Networking Activity, but Secretly!
A survey by Eset found that a majority of parents are secretly checking on their children’s social networking activity. While I absolutely believe that parents need to check in on their children’s online activity and behavior, for safety reasons, I’m not in favor of spying.
Parental awareness is key in our digitally driven world. It’s crucial for parents to know what’s happening in their child’s online world, to understand the risks and to have continual conversations about appropriate device use, activity and behavior online.
Conversations happen with awareness. When you see something on your child’s social networking account like Facebook or Instagram that you don’t think is appropriate or makes you cringe, (it’s happened to me) it’s easy to have a talk with your child when they know you’re checking–in. If you see something you don’t approve of and they don’t know you’re checking… then what? How are you going to approach your child? What can you say? “Honey, I was spying on your Facebook page and I don’t like what I saw.” A battle will ensue for sure!
Your child is going to feel violated and reasonably so. Yet if you’ve been up-front with your child about online safety rules, expectations of behavior, talked to them about the sites they’re allowed to visit, online language, pictures they post etc. then it’s easy to say… “What’s going on? When I was checking in on your page, I saw this pic that you might want not want posted for others to see. What do you think a college admissions officer would think about it or your grandmother?” A whopping 80 percent of college admissions officers consider a student’s social networking presence along with other criteria for recruiting students.
Checking-In Is Important, But Not Secretly!
Setting limits, expectations of behavior and guidelines and then checking in to make sure your child is adhering to your standards of behavior is the way to go. So check, but do so with your child’s knowledge. Let them know that you’re checking because it’s your job as a parent to keep them safe and help guide them. I assure you that there will be more peace for you, your child and your family. And your child may appreciate the limits, expectations and rules that you are setting for them. Mine did…