Let’s face it. Cell phones won’t become less popular for teenagers any time soon. Why? Because of communication and entertainment at the touch of a button! Every year, parents purchase cellular devices for their children at an even younger age than the year before. Have you ever seen a 13 year old with a cell phone? So have we.
With the communication and entertainment so readily available, it’s easy for teenagers to fall victim to scams, online predators and even online bullying. What are the chances of you seeing the events unfold? Slim to none. Teenagers today like to think of themselves as a generation that can protect themselves without the help of mom or dad. Are teenagers capable of defending themselves? Of course! But when it comes to situations regarding online predators and scams particularly, they might need that “extra hand”.
I care very much for my child; they always believe I’m spying.
As a parent, you care for the protection and reputation of your child. We’ve all seen in TV shows or movies, where teenagers are so scared and defensive to allow their parents access to their phones. It doesn’t always mean they don’t trust their parents; it’s more of a “privacy” concern of theirs. Although it’s tough to convince your child that “mother knows best”, it’s always best to explain to them why you desire to monitor them; reason being, because you care and want to prevent issues before they become a tragedy.
I normally read my child’s text messages while they sleep.
Sneaking around your child and adding spy devices won’t make the situation any better. If your child finds out you’ve installed such software, expect the rage and fight. GPS tracking is of course something you should consider discussing with your child. Explain to them that it’s nothing to do with invading their privacy and that you’d like to know where they are, should they go missing. Explain to them that many children go missing, who wish they’d have that GPS locator on them.
I’m the parent and my child will do as I say, regardless of what they want!
You have to understand that even though they are yours and shall do what you ask, forcing such things as spy devices, snooping their phone while they sleep and secretly installing GPS will only make them hide the truth. Your ultimate goal is to establish a safety relationship with your child. Talk with your child about how important safety is, the large number of predators at large and the consequences of hiding such things. If you see a news broadcast related to kidnappings, missing children, online bullying resulting in suicide and anything else that could be related back to a phone, ask them to sit with you and watch the program without their phone.
I’ve already tried speaking with them about trusting me with their phone. They end up hiding everything from me.
If you’ve caught your child hiding a safety issue, you of course have the authority to disconnect that phone from them. A lot of parents threaten to cut off services, but leave them with the phone. That does not always solve or prevent the issues. With WIFI being readily available in almost every coffee shop, mall, business, park and home, there’s always the possibility of them connecting and returning to where they left off. If safety concerns have been an issue in the past or currently are, take their phone away until they understand the consequences of hiding safety issues. Make sure of course you have a direct number to their friend, the parents of that friend and the local police department. Have them check in with you every hour or two and if they don’t make contact yourself.
With all of the crazies out there, you can’t take the chance and neither can your child. If they don’t understand the full risks, it might not be time for that cell phone privilege.