Does Parents’ Role Include Close Monitoring of Online Activities?

By Michele Molnar — July 05, 2012 1 min read
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How far is too far to go in parents’ monitoring of their children’s internet usage? (When we say “children,” we mean anyone old enough to be on the internet, up to the age of 18.)

In “It’s Modern Parental Involvement,” National PTA President Betsy Landers recently wrote for the New York Times expressing her view that parents should “try to stay a step ahead—or at least keep up with—new media and technology to protect their children.”

Well, good luck with that! I suspect some of the most technologically adept among us adults can still be stymied by a savvy teen bent on circumventing our social media prowess. But, I digress. Landers’ points are interesting and earnest.

She continued that it’s the parents’ responsibility “to protect their children, at least until these children become adults. Parental use of all available resources, including electronic monitoring tools, should not be considered an invasion of privacy; it’s simply modern involvement.”

Landers further opined that, “Parents who are monitoring their children’s activities via technology are not crossing the line into invasion of privacy; they are cyber-savvy and involved.”

The PTA president’s comments are just one in a Room for Debate collection under the question: “You Can Track Your Kids. But Should You?”

Other viewpoints in the series include:

Landers’ opinion piece unleashed a torrent of comments—some, predictably, in support of her viewpoint, and others finding it to be yet another tactic used by “helicopter” parents.

What do you think?

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.