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Social Network Monitoring: The Story Of A Dad And A Son

Paul, 14-Year-Old, Avid Facebook User

About a year ago, my dad started monitoring my Facebook page. It’s super annoying. He can see everything I write and everything my friends write. He watches everything. And he asks 100 questions a day about things I post or things my friends post on my page. It’s embarrassing. I can’t control what others write, and it’s not like I am doing anything wrong! Do I mind him monitoring Facebook? Yes, I do. I write stuff on there that is private and only for my friends and me to see. I think that I deserve my privacy and he says I don’t.

Father of Paul

I wish my son would understand that anything he posts online is not private. Posted information is public, searchable and permanent. Am I spying? Yes. Do I feel bad about spying? Absolutely not. I love my kids more than anything, and I want to know what they are saying and what other people are saying about them. So I use a service called to monitor my children’s social media activity – posts, friends, pictures, whatever I can find. I also use a content filter on the home firewall so that I know what websites they visit. With this mix of technology, I’ve found things that I never would have found manually.

In my son’s case, I have found plans for sneaking out, improper sexual innuendos posted to his wall by his female friends and much more. Part of me can’t believe kids post these things so freely, thinking that it’s private.

As it turns out, my little boy, my little angel, is not so angelic. Unfortunately, he had already learned the freedoms of social networking before I decided to take a look at what was going on. I trust my children in many ways, but teenagers aren’t known for their ability to make wise choices based on logic and reason.

He is my son, and I will protect him to the end. While he deserves a measure of trust and privacy, sometimes that comes at too high a price. I want to be aware of what he is doing because I don’t always trust his judgment.

Teen Privacy Online: Safety Or Privacy

When our kids are younger, we repeatedly tell them never to trust strangers. The Internet is home to infinite strangers; yet, we let our kids use it without supervision. Lack of supervision on the Internet is comparable to handing your kid to the weird guy with a van and candy.

I realize that many parents aren’t paying as much attention as I am. Therefore, they might not realize the amount of personal and inappropriate information exchanged on social networking sites for everyone to see, and I do mean everyone. I encourage every parent to monitor these sites. In addition, parents should have regular conversations about the potential danger online while stating clear rules and expectations. Monitoring our children’s “online” world is just important as monitoring their “real life” world.

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