Monitoring Your Child's Social Media Is A Necessary Parenting Tool

by Toni Hammer
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

Dad downloads app to help keep tabs on his daughter’s social media habits.

Concerned about cyberbullies, predators and general danger which lurks around every corner on the internet, one father signed up for an app which is designed to monitor a child’s online activity and alert their parent to potential dangers. It only took less than a month for him to get an alert that his seventeen-year-old daughter was up to something.

On an ordinary Saturday night, a teen girl sent her dad a text letting him know she was done with work and a friend’s mom had offered to take her and her friend to a movie and then have her stay the night. According to an interview with Yahoo Parenting, this father’s “parental intuition told me that something more was going on, but I had nothing to work off of, so just dismissed it.” The next morning he had an alert from the app, Bark, which showed him a tweet his daughter had sent the night before reading, “Ya we will be there after we r picking up some bud.”

He says that the event turned out to be overall positive and not just because she said she was only the driver of the car and not the one buying marijuana. He said that once he confronted her and she confessed, they were able to have an open discussion about what could have happened. “I pointed out that her friend could have stashed the drugs in the car and said that they weren’t hers, things that she hadn’t thought about. It was eye-opening for her.”

Safety apps like Bark aren’t uncommon and most parents are using some sort of safety precaution when it comes to their child’s online activity. Scrolling through their child’s search history, checking their text messages, or signing onto their social media accounts are actions which barely raise an eyebrow in some places. They do it in light of wanting to keep their children safe for as long as they can while their kid resides under their roof.

Is it too much snooping or is maternal protection? Where is the line drawn between keeping your kid safe, and wanting them to grow into trust-worthy, autonomous individuals? The answer is far from black and white so it comes down to a choice that each parent must make for their family based on their own individual comfort level with their child in this digital age.

There’s only so many years that a mother can keep track of her children before they move out, start paying their own bills, and only call on Sundays. Sons and daughters don’t stay home forever and it’s a parent’s job to do everything they can to raise women and men who are responsible, intelligent, street-smart individuals who know how much to say, and to whom, on the internet. Should this dad have been tracking his daughter’s Twitter account? That’s not a question any of us can answer because we don’t know the family. What we can all agree on, though, is that, much like him, we’ve all had those moments where our gut told us something was amiss, and more often than not that gut feeling is correct. Regardless of how much the world around us changes, one thing that is ever constant is a parent’s intuition and we’re all wise to listen to it and follow through when it tells us something’s wrong.

You shouldn’t need an app to know that your kids are safe, but for some parents it’s a choice that keeps their minds most at ease and, at least for this dad, kept his daughter from getting into some serious trouble.

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