Better, Not Bitter:
Why I Won’t Track My Teen
Recently I was a participant in an informal discussion among a group of moms of teenagers regarding cell phone use. The conversation centered on a recent new story about teens and sexting. Then someone asked whether any of us “track” our children’s activity.
Surprisingly, one mom did admit to regularly checking her son’s online activity using the computer’s history and looking at his texting via her cell phone carrier. The other moms, myself included, did not reveal whether we’ve made the decision to track our children.
I know there are a lot of apps to help facilitate parental tracking of our children. And I totally get the fact that sexting can go horribly wrong and get a young person in a lot of trouble. That is why I have made a point to speak with my high schooler about the choices he makes and what could happen if he is careless about those choices.
I would like to think that he wouldn’t do this kind of stuff. But I know that there are parts of his personality I am not privy to. There is a side of him that he makes sure mom doesn’t see. All kids do it. I did it and to think I know everything about him would be foolish. So I decided to do the tough thing when I had him captive in the car one day on the way to take him to workouts.
I talked with him about the fact that some parents make the decision to track their kids because of their concern about sexting and the communication they have with their friends. It was a tough conversation, but I am glad I asked him about it. I told him I trusted him to not do anything that could damage his future. He and I speak often about his goals and how he is working hard to make them a reality. In the car that day we talked about other kids’ realities based on bad choices they made.
It’s kind of sad that we have to have these discussions with our kids. But I think that tracking your child’s activity via one of these apps is a little extreme. I will admit to looking through my son’s phone every now and then. I also check online history and I can access his social media, but I do that stuff pretty rarely. I think tracking him more closely would damage the trust relationship that we’ve built together. And until he violates the trust on his part, I am going to give him the benefit of the trustworthiness he’s established thus far.
Do you track your teenagers activity online or texting?