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Spying On Your Kids

Parental Investigators: Would You Spy on Your Child?

Growing up, I would have been mortified if my parents had read my diary where I divulged crushes and friendship woes. It was my personal way to journal the experiences.

Nowadays, many parents spy without having to sneak under beds or between mattresses. Since kids are online more than ever, moms and dads can download spyware to see what their offspring have been doing. To learn more about the technology trend,


While some parents are fans of keeping tabs of their munchkins in this manner, it seems a tad voyeuristic and intrusive. On the other hand, I've seen Chris Hanson confront perverts stalking youngsters via the Internet on Dateline: To Catch a Predator.

Luckily, my babe is only capable of slamming the keyboard at this point. But ten years from now, I don't know what I'd do.

Would you ever use spy software to peep into your kid's private life?

Join The Conversation
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 9 years
My parents loved and respected me but they did some snooping too. I should preface this by saying I have an EXTREMELY open relationship with my parents. There was no question I couldn't ask and no topic that was off limits. I openly talked to my mom and dad about drinking, sex, etc. A few years ago (late highschool maybe) I asked my mom if she had ever read my diary. She told me that she had, just once. At first I was MAD! What an invasion of privacy! But once she explained - she had done it because I was becoming friends with a new girl at school and my mom had reservations about it - I was extremely grateful. What she found by reading my diary was that by 6th grade this girl already had multiple sex partners and had miscarried a baby and was generally a bad influence. Because she had that information she was able to make informed decisions about sleepovers and other after school activities with that girl. I am SO GLAD she read my diary and kept me from being further exposed to that influence. All that to say - if your kids live with you, monitoring what they do and with whom they do it is not spying, it's good parenting. I will monitor their TV, internet, phone, and (if needed) diary. It might not be popular, but I think it's the right thing to do.
supermommie supermommie 9 years
I had a open relationship with my mom but I didn't tell her everything. She never read my diary but sometimes I wished that she would have. There were things that I wish she and I had had dialog about. I have the beginnings of an open relationship with my daughter (she's a pre-teen) but I have to admit, a little bit of spying will happen. I can't tell you when or how until it actually happens but when the time calls for it, I will spy. SM
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
To a certain extent I will let my son have privacy, but when it comes to computers no. It's too dangerous a world out there.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
in this day and age.... you're on the computer and i'll respect your privacy in most situations, but what you're viewing because of the kind of world we live in, needs to be monitored... and definitely not a computer in a bedroom... no, it gets used in the family room where we all are...
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
I'm undecided. My mother was always overprotective and a little strict (which I see now as good parenting) but I still found ways to sneak around the rules. I would wait until I heard her sleeping and then go chat on the downstairs computer until 4am. And then at 18, I left California for New Jersey to live with a guy I met online. 7 years later, I realize that was SUCH a stupid thing to do, and I'm incredibly lucky that things didn't turn out worse than they did. So yes, I do believe that I will be asking for passwords and checking in on what my child has been doing on the computer. If he ends up resenting me for it, fine...but at least I'll know that he won't be lying in a ditch somewhere because of some foolish online mistake.
Moms Moms 9 years
Unless it was an extreme situation (and by that, I mean life threatening or altering), I cannot imagine spying on my kids. If I want to know something, I will ask. Growing up, I never understood why parents were shuffling through their kid's stuff. In most cases it was completely uncalled for and the kids knew their parents were doing it which led to distrust. I don't plan on invading my children's privacy because I trust and respect them.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
well, if there is software that keeps the pervs away, and the kids from seeing what Jenna Jamison's crothc really looks like, then you're really just spying to see if they are doing normal teen dirt with their friends at school. if they have a facebook/myspace (which in my opinion, is really for the kiddies), then i see no problem with you looking on there. to me, you get to see what they like and don't like. for instance, what music they like. or who their real friends are on a weekly basis. you know teens are wishy-washy and fall in and out with friends. if Jaime is part of the top 10 this week, but you notice she isn't next week, well you know the girls are having it out. your daughter would've told you this otherwise. what about boys? you see who her current "boyfriend" or crush is. yo can check his profile and see that he's a nice boy. i think parents should stop trying to be investigators looking to prosecute and try to learn more about their kid's lives. besides, you ban them from something, there is a little place known as the public library. and kids can crack codes to get on myspace (at libraries that ban myspace due to viruses).
aerie087 aerie087 9 years
i don't have kids yet but when i do, i wouldn't go to those extremes of spying on my kids. my parents were never home and i used the internet and turned out fine. i think my kids could make their own mistakes and learn from them. if i keep the internet away from them, the more they'll want it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
IMO no child under 18 needs to be on facebook or myspace. Dont give me the "they go on there for the bands" BS
petite42 petite42 9 years
I wouldn't go so far as to use snooping software, but I do have the kids passwords and I do check their email and facebook profiles from time-to-time. It is responsible parenting to do so, and they know I do this. I have explained to them that they should have no expectation of privacy when on the family computer. My concern is less about pedophiles and more about having them do something they will live to regret. Once it goes on the internet, it is there forever. Companies and colleges are checking profiles and googling people before they are hired or admitted. So the rule in our house is: "Don't do anything on the internet you wouldn't want your mom to see. And if you want a private conversation with your friend, then pick up a landline phone or go visit her in person." I do not read their dairies, however.
stina829 stina829 9 years
Definitely plan on using it. I'm only looking out for the good/safety of my son. I'm not using it to find out who his little girlfriend of the week is, lol I want to be able to give my son a little bit of freedom, but in the long run, I need him to be open and honest with me so I can trust him.
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
Caterpillar Girl, I totally agree with you. My parents were just like privacy but they did a decent job of telling us why...Just in cases. I will totally do the same thing. no computers in their room too!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
when I was a kid, we werent aloud to lock our door, or talk on the phone in private, it had to be in the hallway where they could listen in, and i saw that as "so totally unfair" but now i see it as good parenting. Nowadays with so much technology, when i have kids i plan on never allowing them a computer in their room, i plan on using whatever software is available to "spy" on them, and they will never own a cell phone until they move out and can pay for it themselves.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Well I'm hoping that I still have a very open relationship with my daughter by that time. But that's just not reality in all cases. So I would have to say, if I felt I had reason and good reason to I would. You want to keep them safe, and no matter what I'm the parent and until you are old enough and can take care of yourself, I OWN my kids. I have a right to know. But like I said, hopefully our relationship will still be great and my daughters will feel like they can tell me anything and I won't need to spy. Back in the day we wrote notes and I know most of the time if my Mom found one she wouldn't read it, she would give it back. When I started getting distant or acting up she would read them. I would get mad, but I can't blame her. Now that I'm a parent of an 8 year old I can completely understand.
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