By 2016, it is estimated that over 70 million people will be using monitoring Apps and more robust cell phone monitoring software to monitor what their family is doing on their mobile devices. A recent study by the PEW Institute indicates that one in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, saying that they access the Internet using their mobile phone and not a laptop or desktop computer.
In an earlier study conducted in November 2010, they found that many parents are now taking steps to monitor their children’s mobile phones and are concerned about their safety with their mobile phones and online activity. Unfortunately, many parents still think monitoring what their kids do with their computers and more importantly, their mobile phones is spying on them.
It’s time we move past the notion that parents shouldn’t know what their kids are doing with their digital devices. There are daily reports of teens ‘sexting’ or sending nude or semi-nude photos using their cell phones or iPad and the outcome is typically devastating. In some cases, the result is tragic with the victims committing suicide.
So what should a parent do? First off, parents need to have an open dialogue with their children and talk with them regularly about the dangers of sending inappropriate photos using any digital device and the impact this can have on them and their family. Reinforce the reality that once something is posted on a social media website or sent electronically it can never be erased. It’s in cyber space forever and can have lifelong unintended consequences.
When an incident occurs that makes the news use it as an opportunity for discussion. Engage your child in a conversation about what happened and what they think about it. Get them involved in the conversation and ask them pointed questions about their thoughts on sending and receiving nude photos.
While talking with your kids is an important first step, it is just as important to purchase and install mobile monitoring software, sometimes referred to as mobile spyware, on your teen’s mobile phone. Let’s face it, teens aren’t going to tell their parents everything – it’s their job to be teens and although teenagers may be ‘tech savvy’ they don’t fully understand the impact their online behavior can have on them and their family.
So parents, let’s stop thinking that installing mobile monitoring software on your child’s cell phone is spying. It’s about being a responsible parent in the digital age. Keep in mind that just because you install ‘mobile spyware’ on your teens mobile phone doesn’t mean you have to read everything they do with their mobile device. You can and should be selective about what you decide to read and when you see something that you think could be a problem be proactive and take action before your child becomes a victim.
We’re interested in your thoughts about installing mobile phone monitoring software on your teen’s cell phone. Do you think it’s spying or is it being a responsible parent?