Monday, October 5, 2015

Yes! It is Okay to Read Your Kids' Texts and Here is Why

Almost every parent we talk to asks us if it is okay to check their kids' texts. We say, "Yes!" Here is why:

1.     Kids need to learn that texts are NEVER private. When they put something in writing and hit "send", it is out there and there is nothing they can do about who sees it. Kids tell us every week of instances when the text recipient promised not to share something they sent, but did. By the way, adult's texts are not totally private either. If someone sends me a text, even on a lock-screen, that text is displayed for everyone to see.

2.    They are learning to take a pause and be considerate in what they write and how they write it. There are many misunderstandings that occur in a text conversation. However, if kids write a text like their parent is looking over their shoulder, they are less likely to impulsively send something they wish they could take back. This is very important for this generation of instant gratification.

3.    They will think about the topics they are texting about. If kids think their parents may see something they text, it requires them to censor themselves. This is very important in a culture of kids where sexting and cyberbullying are common.

What to Tell Your Kids

"I want you to know that your texts are not private. Texting is a tricky thing to learn and there are a lot of ways kids get themselves in trouble for things they write in texts. You have no control over who sees your text once you send it. That is true for anything you put in writing, like emails. I agree 100% that you need privacy. You can have that through voice to voice conversations, either over the phone or in person. I don't want you to ever use texting as a way to communicate private things."

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