Should Children Have Privacy on the Computer?

The internet is a dangerous place, and we aren’t talking about your overindulgence of online shopping expeditions on the Nordstrom website. We are talking about the ability for seriously creepy and very dangerous people to find out entirely too much information about you, your life and your kids. Every parent fears the day their child asks to spend time on the internet; they may need to research a school project but what if they decide to chat with a stranger or create a social media profile where they want to post inappropriate pictures (but mom, EVERYONE is doing it!) or post too much personal information, such as which school they attend, where they live and when mom and dad are out of the house.

There is a great debate among parents regarding the internet. Many parents are perfectly on board with invading their kids’ internet privacy, but others feel that it is a blatant lack of disrespect and shows no trust in their children. The debate is a long-lasting one that doesn’t look to have a solution; both sides have valid arguments and it is up to you to decide which side you are on.

YES! Invade, Invade, Invade

Children should not have privacy when it comes to the internet. You wouldn’t allow them to wander off in a strange city all alone when you are on vacation, would you? The internet is no different. It is a strange place full of dangerous people. There is no such thing as privacy on the internet when it comes to kids. Katie Allison Granju of lost her son to a drug related brain injury when he was 18. If she hadn’t allowed him so much freedom and privacy on the internet she would have known prior to his death how much time he spent on drug related websites and contacting people about where to purchase drugs. Had she monitored her son’s internet usage more carefully she may have been aware of these things prior to his death and been able to provide him the help he needed. Unfortunately, she will never know if not allowing him privacy would have made a difference.

Parents who feel sneaky and uncomfortable invading their children’s internet privacy can avoid that by not being sneaky. Simply set the rules when your child begins using the internet. You will monitor all internet usage, put of parental blocks on chat rooms and inappropriate accounts, monitor all email and all social networking sites. Kids who know their parents are watching won’t feel that their privacy is being invaded when they never had any to begin with.

NO! Don’t Shut Them Out

Parents on the opposite end of the spectrum believe that monitoring their children’s internet usage will only make them shut out their parents even more. Some parents believe that educating their children on the danger of the internet is the best way to protect them. They feel that snooping is never a good idea and that they learn more about their child through conversation and listening to them than they would ever learn by reading their emails and private messages (Um….okay. I want to meet these kids.).

There is a major difference of opinion when it comes to internet privacy and children. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with educating your children about the dangers of the internet, talking to them, listening to them, and making darn sure they know that I’m watching every move they make on the internet. I trust my kids, but I don’t trust other people, and I’m not taking any chances with their safety. Besides, I still remember being a teenager….

What are your opinions on monitoring children’s internet usage


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