One in five parents are “shocked” by the content they are finding within their kids’ emails, texts and Facebook accounts, so says BullGuard, an Internet security firm.
The company polled 2,000 parents with children ranging from 10-17 years of age. Of those polled, a whopping 61 percent reported regularly spying on their kids, with one in five of those parents admitting to lying to their children to gain access to their respective social sites.
In regards to cyber bullying, a little more than one in ten had to deal with their kids being accosted online while 17 percent had to intervene.
"Parents do face a real moral dilemma as to whether they should check what their children are doing online. It's understandable to want to keep tabs on the sites that they are visiting but whether to read private emails, texts and messages poses a real quandary for parents. Whilst you want to look out for your child and ensure they are safe you also want them to be technologically savvy and have their own independence,” said Alex Balan of BullGuard.
Concerning results reveal that The average child doesn’t actually know 40 percent of the people they are friends with on Facebook.
When social sites enable access to children - and as the prevalence of online bullying increases, it’s a little more understanding that parents are willing to go the extra mile to snoop into the lives of their children online, however devious it may seem. At which point do parents draw the line between snooping and monitoring?
GigaOm writer Mathew Ingram made the confession that he actively snooped on two of his three teenage daughters online, including secretly using keystroke-logging software to monitor what they typed while messaging their friends. Ingram admitted to his own misgivings and guilt over the matter, but when is too much and when is it not enough?
Being aware of our children online is not something we as parents should shun, but to become a stalker toes the line on trust betrayal.
"It's a minefield for parents, while you want your children to have freedom and make friends you want to ensure they are safe when they are online,” said Balan.
The crux of the issue is that we need to trust our children and their privacy deserves some respect, but to what end?
The answer will surely divide those of us parenting in the digital age, as we’re all still trying to figure things out.
“It’s hard enough watching your children 24/7 in the real world, but keeping tabs on their movements online is the real challenge. BullGuard‘s Identity Protection offers Facebook protection for parents concerned about what their children are being exposed to such as cyber bullying, social predators or inappropriate content,” said Balan.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi