How do I monitor my teen online without "spying"?

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for how to supervise kids' online exploits, because every kid is different. When it comes to media and technology, you want to establish a relationship in which your kids will come to you if something awkward, inappropriate, or uncomfortable happens online. Talking to them nonjudgmentally and encouraging them to share the apps and websites they love will show them that your interest goes beyond policing their activities.

Most kids use technology and social media responsibly. And, having grown up in a world with unprecedented access to media and technology, many kids are incredibly sophisticated users. Still, their technical savvy often far exceeds their judgment. As parents, it's our responsibility to set rules and establish consequences for misuse.

Mandatory measures -- such as demanding kids' passwords or insisting they friend you on Facebook -- tend to backfire. Kids can get around any crackdowns you impose. If you're really having problems, then look into monitoring programs for their online accounts. And don't forget that you are your kids' digital role model, so let them see the kind of behavior you want them to emulate.

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Adult written by brookec

Today the kids as young as 13 years of age are self-reliant and self-sufficient and do not require any sort of external input at all. Not only can they choose everything for themselves, from what to eat and wear to even the right career path for themselves that when parents give them too much of their input, instead of proving to be helpful and constructive this sort of advice tends to have the opposite of the desired effect. At times like these children are more often than not feeling down and lose all their self-confidence. They feel as if they should not be doing what they are or living their life the way they are. What Can Parents Do To Prevent That? 1- Do Not Hover 2- Appreciate Them And Celebrate Their Achievements 3- Protect Them
Teen, 13 years old written by evrska9

Checking your child's device is not spying. If your child is usually open to you, just ask them every week or so what they've been doing online and if they have any questions/concerns/etc. If your child is more independent, then I suggest just checking yourself. Every week or month, you can check their search history and social media. Don't read their texts unless you really have a reason. A teen's texts are their one way to talk with friends when not in person. Don't act as if you don't trust them, though. This will make them more likely to hide things from you. You can also limit their device access or set up something that blocks certain apps or websites.
Teen, 13 years old written by Ptrfamily

If you do decide to monitor their phone, first, tell your kid. Not telling your kid what your doing will make them trust you less and they will start hiding things even more from you. Second, do weekly or monthly checks. Checking every day will make it seem that you really don't trust your kid. Third, if you do find something inappropriate, talk with your child first, then punishments. Tell them that this kind of behavior is not allowed and if the actions are repeated multiple times, there will be punishments. But, as a teen with very strict parents, I'm used to immediate punishments and as a result, I have established more independence from them. If you want to keep your child on your good side, be patient with them. Realize that they're human, and that they are going through multiple things in their life, school and social life. If they don't feel like sharing things about their life, you have to respect that. But, if they're complete blocked up about everything, and everything they do they keep locked up, then you may have to be more strict on them. Hope this helped.
Teen, 14 years old written by RamenApocalypse

I do encourage you to check your child's phone once in a while. However, the reason normal teens are so afraid to show their parents their phone isn't because they have nudes on their phone, look at extremely explicit videos, or sext people. It's because teens are afraid of what you will say when you see them joking around with their friends online, find out they like things that are considered "emo", or play Candy Crush, who usually say that Candy Crush is a game for "old people". My advice is to tell your teens that a healthy amount of cursing is alright, but you should never, and I MEAN NEVER use cursing to insult people, NEVER use it around people in respectable positions, and NEVER use it around children. Tell your teens that it is always okay to confide in you, and whatever they tell you, you will try your best to be understanding. WARNING: KEEP YOUR PROMISES OR YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY LOSE ALL TRUST FROM YOUR TEENS. If you end up yelling at them, they will be hurt. Remember, if you trust your kids they will trust you.
Adult written by CerPrinceton H.

As a parent, it's not about sneaking. Children (anyone under 18 that is depending on me to eat), don't have privacy. Too often parents are "scared" of their kids, or want to be their friend. You can develop a relationship with your kids that is honest and straight forward. Tell them, " I will be checking, and the day I don't have access, neither will you" PARENTS!!! TOUCH SCREEN PHONES, APPS, TABLETS, IPADS ARE LUXURIES. When nintendo first came out, I was monitored. If I didn't perform in school, it was taken away. If you your child needs a phone, flip phones work just fine for communication. So never be afraid to be nosey with your child.
Teen, 17 years old written by JR_71

Asking IPs to monitor, manually blocking websites your self and monitoring software are all great ideas, but just be aware that there are many ways around that. The easiest one is a VPN. I have an app on my phone that automatically makes one when needed and I can get on any site I want via WiFi from school, hospital, doctors office, and library. It only takes a couple of seconds to set up. Just thought I should let y'all know.
Teen, 14 years old written by shauns049

1. You can ask the ISP to give you the list of websites accessed during a period of time. 2. Or you could block websites in your router settings or use a preset web filter for xfinity users use 10.0.0.1 default username : admin default password: password 3. You can downloading keystroke recorder - it records every letter pushed on the keyboard. 4. Just download a Monitoring software like what they do in my school. If your afraid of your kid wanking idk what to say to you. 1 day or another day they are gonna find a way to evade everything i said here so....... usual teens at my age doesn't even know half of what i said here. GL
Kid, 12 years old

Well if it is on a social media website you can go on there and view it or make a alt account to go on there. If you are worried about what they are looking at on there you can always look at their history on youtube or view the internet browser's history by pressing ctrl + h (Hold ctrl and press h). If you want to try doing it without spying, just try asking them what they did today online or stuff like that.
Teen, 15 years old written by arianagrapes

I don't think that it's right to stalk your kids. Either way, teens are smarter than you at electronics and will find a way around it. They might secretly make another account, or have a service that automatically clears their history now and then. You should trust your teen with the internet. You should trust them to tell you if they're being bullied or having troubles. Monitoring them makes them feel as if they should do bad stuff. Because if they're not doing bad stuff and you decide to monitor them, you're implying that being a teenager, they should rebel. So they will. It's best to leave them alone because you're not always going to be their to look after them.
Adult written by CerPrinceton H.

Checking is not stalking. If I take your smartphone and there is no other account. True you guys are smarter with technology, however parents PAY for the technology. Therefore, if you think you're just going to create another account, you will have to do it with someone else's phone, when you're not doing an obscene amount of chores, because you weren't following the guidelines of your parent. So no, I wouldn't stalk my kid. He will very much know that I have access and will look, whenever I want. Why? Because he's my kid, my responsibility, and doesn't know as much as he thinks he does.
Adult written by MichaelDu

Well... if teens today can use an iPad as a toddler and send a text message... Im sure they can hide history using proxys which is what most teens do now at school to be able to go to flagged sites. Well.. to know whats going on... to was my parents did they actually had to learn more about technology such as... 1. What proxy is seemly used a lot by looking up trends on forums or articles 2. Look through the computer for a downloaded file that your not familiar with or may have a weird file name that has cnet or softonics or any torrent. 3. Know different type of internet lingo that could seem unknown to you but extremely dangerous to them. 4. Don't delete your web history if they use your computer. If you don't delete it they might hit clear history and instantly you'll know something is up. 5. use master password to view their profile on your computer cause your not spying cause it is your computer and since its your computer and you used a master password you have to right to look at their profiles.