Parents’ spyware can feel like invasion of privacy

you can pick up a paper and find a story almost daily about a young person, who through communication on the internet, became entangled in a situation that compromised their safety.

Because of this a growing number of parents are monitoring their kids, but is this right?

With most software, parents can monitor instant messaging, chat sessions, view where their child surfed online and what pictures have been downloaded or exchanged. This back door into online communications sometimes alerts parents to poor choices and involvement in potentially unsafe or illegal activity.

But should parents invade their children’s privacy? Here are some things to consider about spying on your kids.

Parent-child relationships are built on trust. Nevertheless, there are times when parents need to be able to verify that trust, especially when they suspect their teens may be involved in dangerous activities or unaware of the dangers they face.

Laws exist to define an age for drinking alcohol and an age for a driver’s licence, but there is no agreed age when young people can safely go online solo. Who decides this?

Secretly-installed programmes for monitoring young people can be defunct because children and teens are often technically ahead of their parents. and can outsmart technology.

As a teen, I find it annoying when my parents check my phone or internet messages. Even though I have nothing to hide it feels like an invasion of privacy.

I know they have my best interests at heart and are trying to protect me, but it can put a strain on the trusting relationship.

I understand why parents monitor things like messages sent to other people or posting pictures – to protect us from harm – but please let us have a little bit of privacy.

Lauren Cardwell, age 13