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Talking To Your Child About Text Monitoring

Talking to your child about spying on their messages can be awkward.

When you sit them down to talk about it, it’s likely that you will face some resistance.
They will ask you ‘Why?’, they will say ‘You don’t trust me!’ and no doubt you will hear ‘But none of my friend’s parents are spying on them!’

In order to build trust with your child and maintain open and honest communication, it’s really important to talk to them about why you want to be able to see what and who they are texting, as well as who is texting them.

So how should you go about having this all important conversation?
Here are our top tips to make the talk go smoothly.

 

The best time to have the conversation about monitoring is when you give your child access to a phone. Whenever a child is given a device, some rules and boundaries should be set.

 

When should I raise the subject?

The best time to have the conversation about monitoring is when you give your child access to a phone. Whenever a child is given a device, some rules and boundaries should be set.

If you have decided to give your child a phone, you can explain to them how the phone works, what they are allowed to do with it, when they are allowed to use it, and what you have set up on the device that allows you to monitor their activities.

If your child has been begging you for a phone for ages and you have finally relented, you can make monitoring of text messages a condition of allowing them to have the phone.

 

texting-talking-to-your-child-about-text-monitoring-2What should I tell them?

Try to give your child as much information as possible without scaring them too much! Tell them about some of the the things they might have to deal with once they have a phone and access to text messaging.

It’s worth mentioning the mounting problems of sexting, cyberbullying, online predators, extortion and digital footprints in an age-appropriate way.

Younger children might simply need to know that sometimes text messaging is used to bully or for strangers to get information about them.

Older children and teenagers should be given a more detailed picture of the inherent dangers and how they might inadvertently become a victim.

Make it clear to your child that your role as a parent involves keeping them safe and happy and that monitoring their messages will help you to do so.

 

It is worth having a discussion with your child about their own texting behaviour. It’s essential to educate children how to be good digital citizens.

 

What should they be texting?

As well as talking about some of the inappropriate things others may be texting, it is worth having a discussion with your child about their own texting behaviour. It’s essential to educate children how to be good digital citizens.

Tell them that it is not acceptable to use text messages to hurt or harass others. Children often find it easy to behave differently than normal when texting, but it’s important that we teach them that they shouldn’t say anything in a text that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Explain to them that whatever they say or send via text message can be shared with others and may stay online forever, even if they think it’s been deleted.

Make the point that monitoring their text messages can help them to behave appropriately when texting, taking away the temptation of sending something that is unacceptable.

 

teens-talking-to-your-child-about-text-monitoring-2Ask their opinion

Whenever we talk to our children, it is a good idea to get their opinion. This helps to build trust and keep the lines of communication open.

Having explained to your child why you think it’s important to monitor their text messages, ask them what they think. Listen to their concerns and experiences. Chances are that they will at least understand why you would want to spy on them in this way, even if they still don’t like the idea.

Listen to their opinion without judgement, but explain that for their own safety and wellbeing this has to be a condition of them owning a phone.

 

Talking to children about what they are doing on their phones and other devices can be hard, but these open and honest conversations will pay off in the long run.

 

Don’t be a sneak

It’s not a good idea to do things behind a child’s back. Trying to ‘catch them out’ will not help to build trust with your child and will only serve to alienate them.

Once they discover that you have been spying on them without their knowledge, they will not be inclined to share other aspects of their online lives with you and will find new ways of hiding information.

It is far better to be honest and upfront  about the fact that you can see their text messages. As with all parent-child communications, your willingness to be honest and share information with your child will inevitably lead to them being more honest with you.

Talking to children about what they are doing on their phones and other devices can be hard, but these open and honest conversations will pay off in the long run. Talking to your child about text messaging and text monitoring will inevitably make it easier to talk about other online behavior too. Although they might find it irritating at first, your child will ultimately know that you care.

 

 


About Us

KidGuard's sole mission is to protect your children online. Our team spends every waking hour thinking about how to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. KidGuard employs a team of researchers and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems and also runs a popular child cell phone monitoring software to allow parents to stay involved in their child's life online.
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