Is it OK to Spy On Your Kids?



Spying on your kids. It’s a divisive issue. But, like it or not, monitoring your kids is all a part of parenting. I was asked by CNN’s Kelly Wallace how I felt about the issue. Here is what I said. And, below, is Kelly’s entire piece published on this morning. What do you think about spying on your children?

Spying. It depends on your kid and his/her age. Intellectually, I can understand the nanny cam. First time moms are anxious about leaving their precious babies with a stranger. So, the camera is more about keeping an eye on the nanny versus the baby. But, I don’t approve of spying-type cameras for older kids. There needs to be a certain level of trust established. Kids need to spread their teenage wings and start having experiences outside of the parental realm. However, if my daughter (I have two daughters, 9 and 12) started acting out in a way that signaled a problem, I would need to re-think this stance. Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with this issue. Yet.

Social media? That is another story. I prefer to use the term “monitoring.” Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are virtual feeding grounds for all types of illicit behavior. I constantly talk to my 12 year old about privacy and the presence of perverts online looking for innocent girls. I monitor her content (she’s into Instagram) but also her privacy settings to make sure that perverts (and cyber bullies) can’t access her accounts. I really believe in establishing a high level of trust. In order to have access to a phone (she claims to be the last of her friends to get a phone) my daughter had to prove that she could follow rules (my husband had her write an essay!) and commit to limits on phone/social media use. She has really followed through so I do not read her texts.

When I was a kid my parents definitely spied on us via a low-tech intercom system. HA! We always heard them tuning in and modified our conversations accordingly.

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