Over half of parents surveyed in a recent poll said they regularly read their children’s social media interactions including Facebook messages, private emails and texts.
In addition, a majority of moms and dads felt it was “necessary” to snoop on their kids in order to know what they’re saying and who they’re saying it to in today’s modern digital age. In fact, one in ten parents admitted to going as far as discovering their children’s private passwords in spite of the kids trying to not let that happen.
The poll, conducted by internet security firm BullGuard, also indicated that many parents live with guilt for having invaded their children’s privacy. Alex Ballan of BullGuard said:
“Parents do face a real moral dilemma as to whether they should check what their children are doing online. It’s understandable to want to keep tabs on the sites that they are visiting but whether to read private emails, texts and messages poses a real quandary for parents. While you want to look out for your child and ensure they are safe you also want them to be technologically savvy and have their own independence.”
Other information ascertained from their survey of 2,000 parents of children aged 10-17:
• 1 in 5 parents “shocked” by what they found
• 1 in 5 parents believe their children lie about age to access restricted sites
• 1 in 10 parents had to directly deal with their children being bullied online with 17% of those having to directly intervene. In these cases of bullying, 23% said their kids didn’t know who the bully was.
• 38% of parents believed they would completely lose their offspring’s trust if they were found out
• 34% of the parents did not know what the passwords were for their kid’s accounts and gadgets.
Also included was the top 10 ways parents do their snooping around:
1. Reading messages on social networking sites
2. Checking their internet history
3. Reading their text messages
4. Monitoring their list of friends on social networking sites
5. Checking their pictures on social networking sites
6. Reading their emails
7. Checking their call list
8. Finding out their passwords
9. Asking teachers to keep an eye on their internet use
10. Getting a sibling to help to snoop
Ballan added, “It’s a minefield for parents. You want your children to have freedom and make friends but you want to ensure they are safe when they are online. It’s hard enough watching your children 24/7 in the real world, but keeping tabs on their movements online is the real challenge.”