This is a really sticky topic, I have recently found out. While speaking to a friend of mine about our teens, the issue of privacy came up. My friend told me that because of past incidents with her son who is now eighteen and a senior in high school, she screens all of his phone calls on his cellphone, reads all of his emails (they are forwarded to her email account without his knowledge) and eavesdrops on conversations with his friends when he is not looking.
I found this behavior disturbing.
I do feel that children need guidance of course and protection from the evils of the world. There are some scary people out there who want to do harm to children. But at the same time, I feel in order for me to grow a successful and well adjusted adult, I need to let my 15 year old make mistakes on his own, within reason, and let him learn from his poor judgement.
I think that when you take away that right from your child, it stunts their development and only causes problems in the future.
I do no censor my son’s phone calls or his music. For the most part, I have had zero problems with my son in that arena. The computer is a little more tricky, and I do monitor his useage on a weekly basis to make sure he is not visiting sites that are inappropriate. Other than that, I do not impede on his privacy. I do not check his Facebook or Myspace, and I do not listen in on his phone calls or read his text messages.
There have been a few times where my son has come to me with a problem or issue and shown me his text messages and it is then that I step in and give him feedback. But I go by the rule that unless I see something that out of line, my son has his freedom to communicate with his friends without any interference. Once a red flag is brought up, then I will step in and move forward with what I see fit.
My friend feels totally comfortable snooping in her son’s room and screening his phone calls. What I haven’t been able to find out and what she won’t divulge is what happened in the incident that caused her to give her son zero privacy. I guess without knowing that information, it would be hard for me to judge. But at 18 years of age, I feel that you have to allow your son some freedom or else it could cause additional problems that she may not be prepared for.
It’s a slippery slope.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel that children should be allowed privacy? Or do you feel that because they are living under your roof, you are entitled screen calls and snoop without any explanation? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.