How does being able to keep a check on your kid’s app downloads, browser history, photos and videos, or even the text messages they share, sound like? mSpy is a tech tool that helps you with tracking all of the above and an accountant from Washington, Mandie Snyder has been doing it for the past two years with her 13-year-old daughter’s device.
She does not feel herself at guilt for doing so. She justified it by sharing with her a little incident that she came across. Mandie was able to find out that her daughter was engaging in an adult conversation with her boyfriend. As a parent, she feels the needs to be aware of everything her daughter does, because this age’s technology somewhat brings the need to be afraid of it.
Why afraid you might think? While the technology holds it within itself to get kids into trouble, it also gives the parents power to track however their kids are utilising it.
Technology has gone far now. There are applications available like Mama Bear, that even alert parents if their kid is travelling alarmingly faster than usual. An application called Family Tracker, is also useful for sharing your live locations with your family. This way you won’t have to answer multiple calls asking the same question of “Where are you?”. Your parents would just know.
However, this way of spying on your kids is not exactly what you should be obsessed with. Kids are not going to be comfortable with anyone knowing about their every move, even their parents. Adolescence is a very critical age. They require privacy just how grownups do. Their personality can only be built if they have the space to grow as an individual having a very own identity.
A developmental Psychologist at Oberlin College, Nancy Darling says, “What is hard about parenting is balancing the kid’s desire for autonomy with safety concerns.” It is okay to be considerate about your kid. However, you also need to leave the child on his own to learn and grow.
Skylar Hawk, a social psychologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studying about adolescent development shares her views by saying, “The ability to experience privacy is probably a basic human need that transcends culture,” The adolescent age require the kids to have their own little space because their body, brain, and lifestyle start changing on a faster pace.
“Overarching need for control really damages the relationship.” There is a huge chance of harming your parent-child relationship if you intrude more than you should, as per the professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Communication Privacy Management Centre at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Sandra Petronio.
Another insight that came forward while researching was that it is not always about making sure whether your kid is safe or not, it seems that it is more about coping up with your own anxiety as a parent.
This spying behaviour leads to various different results. Some kids find it difficult to adjust with their fellows because they are always scared of what their parents may find out. Then there are some, who find ways to tackle their parent’s control over them in their own mischievous ways. Studies and experience have shown kids having secret social media accounts where they be themselves. Some smart kids even successfully hack the system their parents use to spy on them.
Kids tend to develop a reserved personality when they find it hard to trust their parents or elders. When asked from the parents about their kids, the parents also confirmed that they know less about their children’s activities, whereabouts, and friends. Those parents were the ones who went an extra mile with being invasive with their kids. “If parents are engaging in highly intrusive behaviors, it is ultimately going to backfire on them”, says Hawk.
The parent-child relationship is not the only thing to worry about with this sort of control. A professor of Psychology at Temple University and Author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence, tells us, a child also develops mental conditions like anxiety, and depression, as a result of not having their personal space. “There is a lot of research indicating that kids who grow up with overly intrusive parents are more susceptible to those mental health problems, partly because they undermine the child’s confidence in their abilities to function independently.”
Allow your kids to be able to share their concerns with you them self to keep a healthy relationship going. The tracking applications are not entirely at fault, but it should be clear why you are using it. Is it to keep a check on your kid in a heathy way? Or is it because you have doubts on your own abilities of parenting?