Dialogue and communication

It is appropriate to spy on your child's mobile to protect him, yes or no?

It is appropriate to spy on your child's mobile to protect him, yes or no?

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It's appropriate spy on our son's mobile to protect him from dangers What can you find on the Internet and social networks? The answer of many parents is a resounding yes, since they find this invasion of children's privacy justified in order to safeguard them from online risks. However, what is the point of view of a psychologist who is also the mother of a teenager? We have talked to Gabriela Matienzo to know where the limits are between protection and privacy of children.

When we see our children talking for so many hours a day through mobile messaging applications, even outlining a smile when a message they like arrives, we cannot help wondering about what could they be doing or talking to their friends. If you have ever ventured to ask your son or daughter directly, you may have received a curt reply: 'They are my things', 'you are not interested', 'we did not talk about anything special' ...

Faced with these non-transparent answers (and that invite us to think that it is very likely that there is something behind it), many parents decide to wait for their children to leave their mobile on the table (with a bit of luck) or to get into the shower, for spy on conversations and social media of their little ones.

They do it to be aware of what their children are doing in the online world: if they are exposing themselves to any danger, if they talk about something they should not, if they send compromised messages, if they are getting into trouble ... Without However, although the objective is to protect them, the truth is that it is about an intrusion to children's privacy. This issue provokes conflicting points of view between some parents, who consider that it is necessary to spy on children's mobile phones, and those who consider it to go beyond the limits of privacy.

As children grow, they demand to have a personal space more urgently. Is under all from 9 years approximately when the little ones begin to claim their right to privacy. And this is something that as parents we have to accept and accept.

It is not only about your privacy on the Internet, but this privacy extends to many other aspects of day to day. Many times we are not so aware of small daily actions that we carry out that undermine your privacy.

An example of this could be when we go to the bathroom without warning while they are taking a shower or when we enter their room without knocking on the door ... But also when we look at the internet search history of our children and, of course, when we pick up their cell phone or spy on their profile on social networks.

Is there really no other way to protect children than by secretly taking their cell phone away?

- Make a reflection as parents
In the first place, the fact of feeling the need to spy on our children's cell phones should lead us to reflect as parents. And this debate invites us to ask ourselves what kind of relationship we have built with our children and how we are nurturing it day by day.

For example, if we need to see children's cell phones to find out if they are talking about inappropriate topics, we may not know their friends well enough. It should also make us think about whether we trust them or whether we are sure that they trust us (and that if they need it they will come to us without thinking).

- Improve communication with children
Do we have strong and effective communication with our children? Can we ask you about this issue that overwhelms us as parents? Perhaps it is worth improving the dialogue with our children so that they are the ones who tell us more about their habits on the Internet, instead of being the ones who feel the need to spy on their mobile.

- Before the warning signs, ask them to let us see the mobile
If they change their mood, if they seem sad all the time, if they have become more irritable lately, if they make negative comments related to social networks, if they start to get bad grades ... If we notice these red flags, we will have to sit down with them and ask their faces to let us see their social profiles or conversations. We must make it clear to them that if we are asking this of them it is because we love them and that we seek the best for them.

- Install a parental filter
If we establish a filter or parental control on the children's mobile or tablet, we can be sure that they will not enter certain websites that we consider inappropriate for their age without having to spy on their mobile. These applications allow us to limit access to websites of our own choosing.

- Reach an agreement with the children
Negotiation is a tool that can help us protect children from the risks that can be found on the Internet. We can reach an agreement, for example, that every so often they should show us their mobile phone but, in return, we will assure them that they will be present. When we agree in advance and understand that the reason we want to see it is its protection, children will be more open to showing us the device.

- Take an interest in your day to day
If things are going well at school, if they have good grades, if they don't have problems interacting with their classmates, if we know where they are and where they are going ... We would not have to live so burdened as parents!

We cannot forget that although screens, the Internet and social networks can present dangers to children, they are also a very useful tool for their education. That is why we must teach them to use them in a responsible way and aware of everything that can be found there.

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