Kids spend nearly nine hours per day in front of their phones, tablets, and computers. What exactly are they doing? It’s tough for parents to tell—that
There’s no point in having this conversation with your child unless you are ready and willing to be transparent. Talk to your kids about what you will be monitoring instead of just vaguely telling them you will be watching their digital activity. This way, kids don’t feel as if they are being spied on because they know exactly what you are looking at. If you can’t be honest with your kids, you can’t expect them to return the favor to you.
Discuss the “why.”
During this conversation, you should also go into detail about why you feel the need to look at their digital activity. Make sure your kids know this is not a form of punishment, but rather a way for you to ensure they are safe both online and offline. Your kids may think they’re digital experts, but they probably don’t realize the dangers they could encounter online. Use this conversation to talk about these dangers so your kids are more prepared to deal with them. Talking about this will also help your children understand why you feel so strongly about monitoring their activity.
If you’re going to be monitoring your kids’ online behavior, you might as well let them know what you expect from them. Make sure your kids are aware of the digital etiquette rules in your home. If you don’t want your kids to use specific apps, make this clear during this conversation. Emphasize that your kids shouldn’t be talking to strangers, exchanging inappropriate texts or photos, or cyberbullying anyone. If you don’t set these boundaries upfront, you won’t have the right to take disciplinary action if your child violates the rules.
Ask their opinion.
After you’ve explained the situation, give your kids the floor. Ask them how they feel about you monitoring their online activity. What are their concerns? Do they have questions? It’s likely that your children will understand why you feel the need to monitor their behavior, but they still won’t necessarily be happy with it. Let them express their feelings, and acknowledge that they have a right to feel this way, but then firmly explain that this is what you feel needs to be done to keep them safe.
Follow these tips so your children feel more comfortable with you monitoring their digital behavior, and you feel less like a spy, and more like a parent.