Your teen has just gone to the toilet and they have left their phone open, do you take the opportunity for a quick look? What’s the harm? They won’t know you have looked! You need to know what’s going on right, esafety is important? So what’s the harm? Here are 5 Considerations if you are thinking about having a snoop on your teen’s phone

1. Teens have a right to privacy too

As part of growing up teen’s need to develop independence. During this time, it is natural for a teen to pull away from their parents and to want more privacy.  They will explore who they are, their values, ethics, sexuality and relationships. They will learn to problem solve various social situations independently. To be able to do all this under the close eye of a parent or guardian goes against all that we are as human beings. We all need privacy to be who we are and to try out who we want to be. To be given the space and privacy to do this plays an integral part of developing a healthy self-esteem.

2. It breaks their trust in you

Every healthy fulfilling relationship needs trust between both parties. It’s the equivalent of your parents reading your teenage diary. If they cannot trust you, they are more likely to lie about what they are doing or what sites they are using. If they trust you, they are more likely to tell you things that are of a private nature and they are more likely to seek advice from you too.

3. Information is hidden

Teens will usually set their account names as a nickname or random name that you would not necessarily know, and makes it difficult for you to know how to find them. There are also many apps that now allow direct messaging of text, video and pictures or images. Some of these apps allow messages to ‘disappear’ after they have been seen and some apps have a hidden section for privacy (my eyes only), which is password protected. Snooping puts you at risk of being caught looking for information that you cannot access and that it often won’t really show you all their actions online.

4. Our teens need us to believe they are good

Ultimately our teens have a need to be liked by their parents and this includes parents having a genuine belief that they are inherently good. When we snoop the message our kids hear is that they must be up to no good. If as a parent you have a belief and expectation that your teen or preteen makes healthy decisions most of the time, and your behaviour and language reflects this, your teen is more likely to behave in accordance to that belief.

5. Opportunity to create conversation, connection and join in the fun

As soon as your child is using a device for accessing media, games or social media, it’s important to use the technology together. Create moments of connection and conversation about what are you watching, favourite memes etc. Be open to laughing even if you don’t completely understand the humour. Be present and connected. Do this even if it doesn’t interest you in the slightest. This will open up more opportunities to get an insight into their worlds online. It will give you opportunities to have conversations about what they think and what will they do in different social situations online. It will build trust in your relationship and your teen will be more open to guidance and feel they can share with you any tricky stuff that comes up. What’s more it can feel great to have a common site or theme (e.g. funny cats), that you both share.

It is absolutely human nature to want to double check that your teen or preteen is safe online. Parents checking their teens device is often done out of fear and in a desire to want to protect their young person. Consider it from your teens perspective. Be aware of the possible consequences for your and your child’s relationship should it come out that you have had a snoop.

Blogs coming around how to proactively keep your teen safe online without snooping. If you enjoyed these 5 Considerations if you are thinking about having a snoop on your teen’s phone make sure to join our newsletter so you don’t miss out on upcoming blogs.

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