Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Do spot checks.

What you can do

Talk frequently with your child about her online activity. Acknowledge her desire for privacy. But make clear that you need to be able to monitor what she’s posting and make sure she’s using the right privacy controls.

Look at who she’s texting and where she’s going online. Check out every website you find on her computer. Keep in mind that the name of the website may not reflect the actual content.

You need to be able to do these kinds of spot checks from time to time. Your child may resent your interference, but it will help if you explain that your job as a parent is to keep her safe.

What you can say

“Sofia, I’m aware that you’d like to have total privacy when it comes to social media and other online stuff. We trust you and know that you’re pretty responsible in your use of social media.

“However, we need to be able to monitor what you’re doing from time to time just to make sure nothing is getting out of hand. We’ll try to do this in a fair way. But we insist on being an administrator on your computer. We also have to be able to look at everything on your phone whenever we feel the need.”

“We’re not trying to snoop on you. We’re looking out for your safety and well-being.”

Why this will help

Explaining to your child why you need to check up on her online activities can make her less resistant. It might be a good idea to bring up news stories of kids who committed suicide because they were being bullied. Emphasize that those parents didn’t know how bad things were getting online for their child.

Showing your child the connection between those news stories and your need to do spot checks can help her understand why you need to invade her privacy. Expressing your love and support will also help.

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