I was out for dinner with a couple of friends earlier this week. We were having a conversation about how scary it is nowadays that children are online so much, with access to goodness knows what, and how so much of their social lives revolve around social media.
Not like the good old days of having to sit on the stairs and use the house phone to talk to your friends about all the deadly serious stuff in your life, like which was the best Nirvana album.
“It’s fine though,” said one of my friends, “I have a friend who has teenage daughters and she regularly hacks into their Facebook accounts to see what they’re up to.”
My jaw may have dropped a little bit.
“She hacks into their accounts?!” I said, sounding horrified.
“Yeah, she somehow always manages to find a way in!”
Cue awkward laugh and anxious face from me.
“It’s different though,” she said, trying to back up her friend, “because her younger daughter went through a phase when she was about 15 of going out a lot and getting really drunk…”
Well dur!! That is what being 15 IS. As a parent you surely just have to accept that and get on with things, knowing that they’ll soon enough grow out of it and be a sensible person again?
I was stunned, and said so. “I would never hack into any of my children’s social media accounts!” I said. “Isn’t that just like reading their diary?”
Seriously, I care about my children as much as the next mum, but there is caring and caring. I follow Bee on Twitter and occasionally she pops up in my feed talking about feeling sick or how awesome How I Met Your Mother Is, but I would never, ever go into her account and read things she didn’t want me to read.
Isn’t parenting meant to be about building up a respectful, trusting relationship with your children so that if they do have an issue they really want to share with you that they can come and talk to you face to face about it, or am I just being terribly naive?
Would you ever hack into your child’s social media accounts?
Gosh this is a really difficult one and I am also sure that there will be lots of differing opinions. I would have gone mad if my mum had read my diary when I was 15 but on the flip side, my diary was mine. It wasn’t on the internet for everyone to see. My niece is a teenager, she has a variety of social media accounts and LOTS of “friends” that she has never even met. That is the danger of social media, in that young children “make friends” online but it is important to educate them that these online “friends” may not always be who they say they are.
As my daughters grow older, I will encourage them to be open and honest and until they are 16, I expect I will continue to monitor their online activity.
Educate them before they start using them? Yes.
Hi, I blogged about this recently too – I knew someone who regularly stalked her child on Facebook and would blab about what her son and mine had been doing – I was outraged! I agree, it’s just like reading their diary. Stay vigilant, keep communicating – but respect your teen’s privacy http://bit.ly/16jISLb
I am hoping it never comes to that. My plan is that when my kids are old enough to get accounts, the rule will be that I have their passwords. If they give me no reason to to use it, then great! Hopefully the threat of it will be enough to keep it under control.
And as for it being a normal 15 year old thing to do to go out and get drunk, ummm, no, no it’s not.
I wouldn’t do it on a day to day basis or just because I’m nosy, but I think that if I was seriously worried, I could be sucked into it. Of course, I hope that once Amy is old enough to use Social Media, we will have a relationship where we can tell each other everything, but being a teenager is a strange phase in life and I do think that some children would be safer, if their parents were a little nosier…
I knew it was only a matter of time…! Ha! In my defense, I didn’t say I necessarily thought it was OK – had my parents had the ability to do that when I was a kid I would have been mortified. On the other hand, although I don’t have kids I can understand it from my friend’s perspective that if a parent is seriously worried about their kid and what they’re getting into then they’ll want to know.
We’ve got 5 teenagers and we have their passwords (except the biggest cos he’s 19 and an adult). They also have to have one of us as a ‘friend’.
At 13 one of our girls added a stranger calling themselves ‘Father Christmas’ and thought it was a laugh. We didn’t, it broke our rules and she got a month’s ban.
Another daughter who is 13 now got upset by nasty comments on Ask and we made her close her account. She’s free to start another if she decides she wants to, but we felt she needed a reason or excuse to step away for a bit and let the situation calm down.
I do think you have to keep an eye on them, they are children and as such are not as emotionally mature, secure or strong as adults. We’re not oblivious to all that they get up to, but we can turn a blind eye if it’s not damaging to anyone. I’m really not interested in who got caught turning up late to lesson etc, or who slagged off someone else, but they do need a level of protection.
I know where they keep their diaries and I’ve never ever read them, not once. It’s totally different. One is for other people to see, and the other definitely is not.
My head is kind of buried in the sand over this as my children are only 6 & 5 but I have moments where I freak out over technology and what might be going on online once they are teenagers and need to be doing what their friends are. I hope I would give them their privacy and respect and let them be teenagers but life is SO different now. Basically, I don’t know!!
There’s no difference between a ‘friend’ on Facebook reading stuff than your parent’s reading it. None of the Social media accounts are private like a diary. I may be stuck in the dark ages but I believe you shouldn’t put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your granny to read!!!
I don’t think its like reading a diary. The internet is there for all to see. My two have fb accounts but the rules are they must be my friend and I have the passwords. If they ever get friend requests they know not to accept from people they don’t know in real life. Its the same with friends requests on the playstation. Only people they know in real life.
They don’t do twitter yet so that is not a worry at the moment.
They are under 16 and that is the rule in my house to protect them.
I do worry about them being friends with an older family member and am constantly talking to a relative about the things she is posting on fb at 14. Too many sexual videos but the problem is her Mother sees nothing wrong with what she is doing as all her friends are doing the same. I do go in to their accounts and hide things this girl posts that are not suitable for them to see as both wish to remain friends. I know my Brother feels the same about what this girl posts too. I suppose it all comes down to what you think is morally right and suitable for your child.
My Mother showed no respect for me as a child or a young adult when I lived with her and I certainly won’t behave the way she did but my two are young children and there are dangers on the internet that are not as obvious to them. I certainly wouldn’t read a diary but we do have an open relationship which I am aware my not be the case as they reach their teens