Friday, October 22, 2010

Newsy: Should Parents Snoop on Their Children Online?


A survey finds 72 percent of parents monitor their children's online activities, but the methods used by some parents have many kids saying "too far."

“According to a survey of 2,000 parents and teenagers conducted by an organization called TRUSTe and lightspeed research, 72 percent of parents look at their kids’ social networking media ... so the question is, are parents invading the privacy of teens by snooping on their facebook pages?” (KGO-TV)

The survey called “The Kids are Alright” finds 84 percent of parents had an accurate understanding of their teens’ online activity. But that good news is being overshadowed by another finding. One and ten are secretly logging into their children's accounts without their knowledge.

A blogger for says that in this world, snooping is necessary: “By snooping, we are saving children from a new world of internet and electronic predators ... Ask the parents of daughters who are abducted, raped or otherwise harmed through online predators if they wish they had spent more time snooping."

Some point to other dangers that await teens online as justification for parental spying. Adam Levin of tells ABC child identity theft is a growing problem: “Over 400,000 people below the age of 18 become victims of identity theft every year and for an identity theif it’s the gold mine because you get information about someone who won’t be checking credit reports for years, who wouldn’t even think about the fact that they might be getting bills, so as a result it’s like a tabula rasa.”

But many teens feel that fearful parents can go too far. One teen, writing for the non-profit My High School Journalism, says that it is easy for parents to cross the line from healthy monitoring to stalking: “[My mother] has used my password for Myspace; put my status as something very offensive ... ultimately creating a mass of confusion, and subsequently, drama. This is crossing the line, invading a teen’s privacy in such a perverse and inexcusable way is an outrage.”

Although the TRUSTe study did find that some children do engage in potentially reckless activity online, president of TRUSTe Fran Maier tells San Fransisco’sKGO-TV that kids can be responsible: “Kids do care about privacy, they do care about the control of their information, and in the last six months that we did this survey many have made changes to their privacy controls."

So how can parents provide both the protection their teens need to stay safe and the freedom they need to develop? Joe Sullivan, chief security officer for Facebook, tells ABC says that understanding of the technology and open communication is key.

If you want to see more of Joe Sullivan’s advice, visit the link here.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

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