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Parental Monitoring: Should I Monitor My Teen’s Technology?

Many parents grapple with the question of how—and how much—to monitor. Our experts offer ideas for how to approach parental monitoring in a way that works for you.

Should I Monitor? Digital Parenting


Jennifer Cohen: Hi, and welcome to Digital-Savvy Parenting: Should You Monitor, presented by Your Teen Media and Verizon. Today is the second of a four-part webinar series on technology and teenagers. I’m Jennifer Cohen and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion on parental monitoring. Thank you all for joining us tonight.

Let me introduce our panelists. Hemanshu Nigam is the founder of SSP Blue, the leading advisory firm for online safety, security and privacy challenges, and Amy Speidel, a certified parenting coach.

Hemu will present 4 different technology parenting styles and Amy will offer parenting advice for each style.

Hemu: What kind of parent did you have when you were a child? Some of you were on the phone and you heard a click and you knew that someone was listening to your call. You realized your parents were spying on you. Now you are a parent and you have teenagers. Do you pick up the phone? Do you look at their phone? This style can work in certain households. So if you are this type of parenting, what type of software is there for monitoring everything your teenager is doing, including every key stroke they type, all the websites they visit. These monitoring devices are called Key stroke logging.

Suggested Software: SpyAgent, Norton Family.

Amy: If you choose to monitor, be upfront about it. The reason is that it allows you to have a discussion about why you think this is a responsible piece for us for your safety. Why you think this is important. Your teen will not say thank you; he will respond kicking and screaming. The reason for the anger is that no one wants to be controlled by someone else.

The best way to set this up is that as soon as electronics are brought into the home, you tell your children that you will monitor. “We will monitor because we believe that it is our job to keep you safe.” The advantage to setting up monitoring from the very beginning is that you are not discussing trust. You are just saying that this is how we do it. Kids may say—other parents don’t do this. Your response is, “We are not them and we do it differently.”

We should be upfront about monitoring. Spying is a whole different thing that creates distrust. And when we say we monitor, it brings in accountability.

(Click here for the rest of the panel on parental monitoring)

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