Should Parents Monitor Their Children?

Your kids and all of their friends probably have their own iPhone devices. There’s nothing wrong with that! In fact, it provides your kids with the opportunity to connect and socialize with their peers. Still, as a parent, you must be concerned about your children’s safety while they’re browsing the internet. There’s a lot of inappropriate content your child might be exposed to, including mal-intended individuals preying on young teenagers online. 

So, should you monitor their activity? If so, how? Your kids certainly won’t like it, so should you keep it a secret or not?  In this article, we’ll be answering all of these questions to help you protect your children from online threats, while still respecting their privacy and personal boundaries. 

So, without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!

Is “spying” on your child’s phone ethical?

In most cases, yes. Your child does have their right to privacy, but it’s your job to keep them safe. You’ll need to ensure to talk it through with them. Let them set some reasonable boundaries, and make sure to respect those. For example, you can ask for their social media passwords and check their contact lists, but don’t read the personal messages between them and their friends. You probably know the kids your child hangs out with. So, as long they’re not talking to suspicious strangers, you shouldn’t pry into their private conversations.  

Also, if you find something inappropriate on your child’s iPhone, make sure not to embarrass them or shame them in any way. Use this as an opportunity to educate your kids, not judge them. You should approach these matters tactfully, so your child feels comfortable telling you when something upsetting happens online. 

 What could happen if I decide not to monitor their activity?

Possibly nothing. Your child might stay perfectly safe without your involvement, especially if you taught them about the dangers of the internet. However, there’s always that possibility of someone hurting your child online, and it’s simply not a risk worth taking. Children and young teens can be a bit naïve, as they lack life experience. Unfortunately, in today’s times, everyone has access to the internet, and consequently, to your child’s inbox. Teach your children to keep their social media profiles locked to the public, and to never share personal information such as their address and phone number with anyone they don’t know in real life. 

Apps such as let you monitor your child’s contacts, so you can get notified if a stranger tries to contact them. While not everyone on the internet has bad intentions, there’s no reason your young children should engage in conversations with strangers. Prevention is always better than cure, so don’t hesitate to do everything you can to keep your kids safe. 

So, should I monitor my child’s iPhone activity?

Yes, to an extent. You want to find the right balance between trust and safety. You don’t want your kids to resent you or feel uncomfortable by your actions. So, be honest, and talk to your children before installing a monitoring system on their iPhones. 

As we mentioned before, your kids need their privacy and independence, but they also need your protection. They may not understand now, but they’ll be grateful for your involvement later in life.

When it comes to teens, keep in mind that they might be going through a rebellious phase. Be gentle and tactful, and listen to what they have to say. You’ll need to show them you trust them, but you’re also worried about their safety. Be honest and explain your intentions fully. Don’t try to do it in secret, as they’ll eventually find out. If that happens, the trust you built will be gone.  

So yes, a 10-year-old child should be treated differently than a 17-year-old high schooler. Your older kids are more mature, and they deserve the right to some privacy. Overall, you should keep an eye on your children but never go overboard.

What kind of monitoring tools can I use to track my kid’s iPhone activity?

Luckily, you can monitor your children’s iPhone devices in various ways. The most popular ones are monitoring applications. They’re quite easy to set up, and they’ll provide you with all the information you need to protect your child’s safety. Also, these are highly customizable, so you and your teen can set them up together. Again, you don’t need to control every aspect of your child’s digital activities. It would be too intrusive and unnecessary. 

If your child is very young (7-12 years old), you could make use of kid-friendly apps. Both YouTube and Google have parental control options, so you can take advantage of that.

When it comes to older teens, tracking their YouTube and Google activity isn’t the best idea. In today’s media, we’re constantly bombarded with explicit content of violent and sexual nature. You can’t prevent your 17-year from seeing any of it. Even if you try, there’s a high chance you’ll only awake their curiosity more. Instead, you should tell your teens about it, and teach them some critical thinking. Make sure they’re aware this type of content is exaggerated and in no way close to reality. 

What to do if my kids start resenting me for monitoring their iPhone activity?

As we said before, as long as you communicate your intentions clearly and involve them in the process, they’ll be more likely to accept your proposal. Help your children realize your intentions are good and promise to back off once they’re a bit older. Show them that you care and respect their privacy, and try to find compromises together. Don’t treat them like they’re naïve or untrustworthy. Have an open and honest conversation about it, and don’t ignore their arguments. This especially goes if your children are a bit older. Don’t ask for their passwords and never secretly snoop on their private messages.

If your child still starts resenting you after that, make sure to sit them down and try to find an alternative solution together. You’re not their friend, you’re their parent, but you should still consider their need for privacy.