Imagine being a parent and not knowing what your teenager is up to, especially when you ask them to come home a certain time every night at a specific time. Would you be concerned for the safety of your child? I would certainly hope so. The best part about the digital age is the ability to use technology to find out what people are up to or see what they are doing with their time. Some teens can be rather, sneaky at best and using text messaging to communicate with each other is the way they usually go about trying to plan things when it comes to going places their parents would never let them go. Also, texting can be dangerous due to the high about of sexual predators that are out there trying to find ways to get with children via text messaging apps. Of course, you could ask your teen to hand over their phone and let you look through it as that is your right as a parent. However, some teenagers can be quite good at deleting their texts from you to make sure you don’t know what they are up to. In the case of trying to keep up with your child and who exactly they are texting, I am a firm believer in making sure that your child is safe from either them going out and doing things you don’t know about or keeping them safe from predators that might try to do harm to your child.
There are various ways in which you can use technology to read or view your child’s text messages without ever needing to touch their device. The question is, should you? As a parent, you want to make sure you are teaching your children good values in life and I firmly believe that privacy is one of those values. Respecting someone else’s privacy is a value that I personally feel parent’s don’t teach their children as much as they should. I believe that you shouldn’t necessarily just use technology to be reading your teen’s messages without them first knowing about it and as I mentioned before, there are various ways on how to read text messages from another phone distantly, but that doesn’t mean that you should use those ways without first discussing with your teenager as they should be treated with respect as that is what I most certainly would want myself. Have a discussion with them and let them know your concerns and present them in a very reasonable manner, let your child know that they are not necessarily in trouble but that you are seeing a pattern in their behavior that is concerning. Explain to them that you do have ways to read their texts and that you will be monitoring their texts periodically however, don’t let them know the ways in which you are monitoring their texts. I believe that as long as you are having that kind of discussion upfront it will let your children know that you do respect their privacy but you are simply looking out for their best interests. I do not believe you should ever just start going through their texts without first letting your children know because respect between parent and child, always goes both ways.