I recently received the following message on WhatsApp:
Hi Estee, Thank you for the great talk on Thursday. I have one question to ask. Should I be checking my child’s phone? I really dislike doing it as it feels invasive and like I don’t trust him. I have a friend who checks frequently and have helped her son avoid pitfalls by doing so. How can I check his phone without feeling like I’m spying?
4 REASONS WHY IT IS NECESSARY TO CHECK A CHILD’S SMART PHONE
Having said this, once they have gained your trust and exhibit good digital citizenship in their online life, devices can be checked with less regularity.
SPEED THINGS UP
Want to speed up the process and stop “spying” earlier?
A child is more likely to exhibit the qualities of a good digital citizen, if they are handed their first smart phone with the following essential tools:
These lay the foundation for smart phone best practice.
HOW TO CHECK A CHILD’S SMART PHONE
Now to answer the second part of her question: How can I check his phone without feeling like I’m spying?
There is a difference between spying and monitoring.
In our parent workshop, Screen Smarts for parents, we discuss the M & M approach (monitoring & mentoring). Monitoring is vital when your child is in primary school and involves setting boundaries for online behaviour.
When you monitor a child’s online behaviour the child is fully aware of you doing so. There is an agreement in place that the parent has full access to the device at any point in time.
To check your child’s phone, you sit down next to them and go through messages, content sent and created as well as their social media influences and interactions.
See mistakes as teachable moments instead of punishable behaviour.
There should be an open conversation at the core of this, based on your family’s values. Remember to ask questions before reacting to anything you see and invite interaction in a calm and connected manner.
WHO SIGNED THE CONTRACT WITH THE ISP?
As a last word of warning, keep in mind that because your child is under 18, their smart phone contract and registration with an Internet Service Provider was probably signed by you, the parent.
There have been cases where accountability rested on the parent’s shoulders (as the rightful owner of the device) rather than the child who was in violation of the law.
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