Should Parents Check Our Phones?

Should Parents Check Our Phones?

Ollie Lloyd ‘25, Staff Writer

“Should I be looking through my child’s phone?” This is a common question all parents ask themselves. To get to the bottom of this debate, I consulted various sources, including studies, parents, guidance counselors, and children, to get their opinions on it. 

Many think checking phones can keep children safe from cyberbullying, internet predators, or dangerous viruses. Parents could hopefully detect and stop these before they become a significant problem. This is true, as “77% of victims for online predators were age 14 or older,” according to MMGaurdian.

On the other side of the debate, many believe that it takes away the right to privacy that is so hard for children to achieve in this modern world. “As parents, we have a duty to teach our kids how to be good digital citizens, just like we’re responsible for showing them how to behave appropriately offline,” Fatherly says. They believe that they should parent well enough that their children know what is right and wrong, and therefore should trust their children that they are behaving well.

“It’s at least a failure of communication and certainly a failure of teaching,” the site continued. The site also compares snooping in your kid’s phone to reading from a child’s journal, something that has never been accepted from even a time before phones. Many agree with this viewpoint, such as Victoria, P ’25, who says, “I hope that I’ve parented well enough that I don’t have to police.” She has enough trust in her children’s internet behavior that she anticipates they will stay out of trouble without her policing them. “I hope I am right,” She continued. 

In conclusion, the debate over parents checking their children’s phones is a complex one. There is a fine line between keeping your child safe and trying to control their childhood. The most highly agreed-on position that I discovered in my research is that parents should trust their kids to tell them if something is wrong or ask them if there is a problem. Parents should only go through their child’s phone if they tell the parent they can or if they have a reasonable suspicion of a problem with their child, but then again everyone has their own unique parenting style.