The Differences Between Monitoring and Spying on Your Child

While monitoring and spying may have similar definitions, they are two different activities and their differences involve the amount of transparency provided by both the one being watched and the one doing the watching. Most people are used to being monitored or observed in their everyday life. Any time we are around other people, everything we do can be seen and analyzed. Spying involves receiving information that was not meant to be seen by anyone other than an intended recipient. Information can be hidden for good reasons but more often than not, the only reason to hide something is because there is something bad that needs to be hidden. Spying implies that the person being watched is unaware of being watched while monitoring means that the person is aware that any information that is to be kept private is information that should be kept to oneself.

Some parents may feel as though that spying is the only way to get accurate and unedited information from their children. In actuality, not letting the child know that you will be watching invites them to drift off into areas that are not appropriate or acceptable household subjects. Parents might think that if their children know about monitoring software, then the children will use other computers to engage in poor behavior. This may be true, but it will show that the child knows right from wrong and respects the boundaries and privileges the parents provide directly. Either way, once poor behavior has been discovered, the jig is up and the child will know that they are being monitored. Informing children of monitoring software gives them a chance to get it right the first time and lets them know that the parents will be there if any bad circumstances arise.

A smartphone is a privilege, which means that it is something that can be taken away. There are certain boundaries that children should not cross and a smartphone is a powerful tool that will enable children to access and share unsuitable content. When a parent provides their child with a smartphone, it comes with a discussion about responsibility and the need to remain safe when browsing or chatting online. This is also the proper time to discuss monitoring software and for parents to show their children that they will be keeping track on how the phone is used, who it is being used to contact and why. GPS locations will be checked to locate the child at any time. This lets the child know that there are standards to be met.

Openly monitoring a child’s smartphone usage also provides a foundation for the child to be aware of how non-private information really is. Anything that is shared online or via text message can be duplicated and shared with everyone in the entire world. If something isn’t good enough to be shared with one’s parents, then it probably shouldn’t be shared with anyone else either. A child who knows that their smartphone activities are being monitored will also be more open about issues such as harassment, cyber-bullying or meeting up with people outside of Facebook. Parents will be able to go over conversations with their child and verify that their child is being safe and conducting themselves in a mature and respectful manner.

Smartphone monitoring with parental controls gives families the ability to provide their children with smartphones without worrying about if the kids are getting into trouble online. PhoneSheriff provides parents with logs of GPS locations and gives parents a heads-up if an iPhone or Android is outside of a given area. Parents can review websites and applications used and restrict access to age appropriate content or only at certain times of day. With PhoneSheriff, parents can read texts and chat sessions and see if anyone is acting inappropriately and block access to certain numbers. Children will be able to access the application to quickly send their parents an update with their GPS location, but only the parents can make any adjustments or uninstall the app with a password. Spying does not affect change in a positive way, while monitoring with foreknowledge establishes a working trust.

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