I’m Watching You: How Parents Are Monitoring Kids Online Activity

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Parents & Families
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s no secret that parents have long had to resort to using sneaky methods in their parenting repertoire.  Whether its finding those hiding places around the house for gifts, watching (from behind a corner) how their kids resolve conflict between each other after an altercation, secretly video taped that impromptu dance, song or rodeo trick, or checked up on them to see if they really apologized or made good on a certain promise.  Parents have become somewhat of experts at covert parenting tactics…or at least we think we have!  But what about parents checking up on their kids online social media accounts?  It appears some parents are going to extreme lengths to monitor the in’s and out’s of their kids internet use, or at least the social media element of it.

In recent social media surveys conducted, 66% of Canadian parents, and 61% of US parents admitted to secretly accessing their kids facebook accounts to monitor their online behavior.  The Venture Beat article, including an infograph, seems to contradict a Winnipeg Free Press article suggesting 51% of Canadian parents are hacking.  Either way, that’s a lot of parents secretly watching their kids online activity, with reasons varying from worry about future employment opportunities being affected, inappropriate sexual activity, bullying, and dating/relationship issues.

What do you think?  Should parents need to secretly hack into their kids social media accounts, or should they have out-right permission and trust?  Is there any reason a child age 12-17 shouldn’t need to give access to their parents for their online accounts?  At what age should kids have a social media account (I blogged about this earlier), and at what age should parents feel the need to stop monitoring?

I’d love to hear from both parents, and youth on this…although hopefully no one under 11 or 12 is surfing the net alone, without parental supervision!  In the meantime, here’s an infograph illustrating some ways in which parents are spying on their kinds online activity, what they’re looking for, and what their reasoning is.




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