Spying on your kids and teens has gotten a lot of media attention lately. But if you’re a parent who spies, be sure not to blow your cover. Getting busted reconnoitering on your kids’ Facebook page can land you with the condemning title of “helicopter parent,” a term that is often used to describe parents that are, let’s say, a little intense when it comes to parenting. Often used in the media, the term “helicopter parent” has varying degrees. You just might be a helicopter parent if you’re doing your kid’s homework. When you call your teen more than five times in an hour when they are at a friend’s house, yes, you’re definitely hovering. If your kid has gone off to college, but you continue to watch their every move through spyware you’ve installed on his/her laptop and cell phone, you’re the equivalent of an autonomously navigating Black Hawk drone. Check out this extreme example of helicopter parenting http://abcnews.go.com/US/student-wins-stalking-order-overly-involved-parents/story?id=18080707
But are you considered a “helicopter parent” if you scroll through your kid’s text messages on their (read your) iPhone every now and again?
I’m often asked my professional opinion on the topic of spying on kids, and I always answer it the same way, “if you ask a Private Investigator, someone who earns her living through investigating and spying on other people, whether she thinks parents should spy on their kids, what do you think the answer will be?”
You guessed it – I spy on my kid too!
And I’m proud of it.
There’s just too many ways our kids can get into trouble these days. Through the internet they have access to adult content, products, and resources at any age. Even with parental controls, they can figure out ways to find almost anything they want – My 11 year old can out maneuver me on a computer any day of the week. Well, not quite just yet. He’s still honing his skills. But, keep in mind, I’m an expert. So just let that sink in and think about what your kids may know that you don’t. Scary thought, isn’t it?
Even if they are not looking for it, trouble is looking for them. Take the pedophile who poses as a 15 year old boy who “friends” your 15 year old daughter on Facebook. He tells her he is a friend of a friend of hers, she accepts his friend request and then he watches. He learns about her, her friends, where they go, what they do, what they like, and slowly begins to insert himself into her social circle. Before you know it they develop a Facebook friendship, and then one day they make plans to meet at the mall…well you can imagine the rest.
So spy, spy, spy my fellow parents. Become your children’s friends on Facebook. Become their friends’ friends. Follow them on twitter. Look at their pictures. Check their Instagram accounts. And keep learning the new apps. Watch what they talk about, and watch for what they don’t talk about. If you suspect something, investigate further!
A lot of people might say that they trust their child and believe he/she deserves some privacy. Well, I’ve got news for you – there is no privacy in today’s world. If strangers have full access to your child – don’t you think you should too?
Remember, it’s not a matter of trust – it’s a matter of safety. And that, fellow parents, is our job. So, the next time your kid tries to offend you by calling you a “helicopter parent” take it as a compliment – Helicopters are amazing flying vehicles. Unlike planes, they can take off and land without a runway. They are small enough to land on the roofs of buildings, and can easily get to places like the highest mountains and the widest oceans. They can hover, flying still, long enough to rescue those in danger. Helicopters save lives.