Many parents decide to read their children’s text messages in order to protect them. That’s, obviously, perfectly fine. Parents have a right to protect their children from online dangers, and that is one way to do that.
But what if we told you that reading your child’s texts just don’t work? There are several reasons why reading your child’s text messages will be a waste of time, or will just lead to needless friction between you and your child.
- You can’t scan all of their texts: Children text a lot. The last time we checked, the average was about 312 outgoing messages every week. That’s a lot of text to skim through. Sometimes, even two parents working together will not be able to keep up. This method is not productive, and parents have many better things to do with their time.
- Too many apps: Ready for a partial list? Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Yubo, TikTok, Discord, Twitch, Amino, Tumblr, Whatsapp, Reddit and probably also Twitter as well. The point is – kids use many apps, to communicate with many people. It’s impossible for one person to keep up with texts, IMs, voice messages, snaps, retweets and floops (we made up the last one, but it probably also exists at this point).
- Texts can be deleted: pretty straight forward. Children delete texts. Nothing you can do about that.
- Privacy matters: privacy and independence are important for a child’s healthy development. Without some degree of privacy, no child would be able to gain a sense of independence that is necessary for successful adulthood. The great balancing act of good parenting is to find the right balance between privacy and supervision – one which fits both the child’s maturity level and the parents’ parenting style. You might realize that reading all of a child’s texts is like reading a private diary, a bit too much of an intrusion.
- Texts just don’t reveal the full picture: With so many apps, groups, communications and games and more, just reading texts won’t reveal the true nature of your child’s habit on his or her phone. You won’t know if those texts are sent in the middle of the night, or if there are suddenly fewer texts because of a fight with friends. Texts are barely the footnotes of your child’s digital life.
So you see? Reading your child’s texts is an ineffective and counter-productive way to protect them from online dangers.
So what CAN parents do to protect their child?
Of course, we’re not suggesting you should leave your child’s phone unprotected. Installing a parental monitoring app, like Jiminy, will help you overcome all of these aforementioned challenges.
Jiminy can scan texts for inappropriate or potentially harmful content, it lets parents know about dangerous apps for teens and children, and gives a 360-degree view of your child’s online life.
Having Jiminy notify you about the things you truly need to know means you won’t have to snoop your daughter’s or son’s phone yourself. Giving children that extra bit of privacy and independence, to explore and learn, while knowing you have their backs.
In short – don’t read your child’s texts. Just install Jiminy.
Read more about children’s online life:
4 Ways to Recognize Dangerous Apps for Kids
Kid’s first phone – encouraging responsible phone use
The power of conversation, or why blocking is not enough
4 Ways to be in the know about your child’s phone habits