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Should You Monitor Your Child's Social Media Profile?

Update Date: Oct 11, 2012 08:45 AM EDT
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With the ever-growing popularity of networking sites among younger kids, parents are concerned about their children. Concerns are many and parents are worried as to what kind of people their children are meeting on these networking sites, whether their child is getting bullied or harassed by someone or if their child is getting into any sort of addiction.

Monitoring their child's social media activity has become much easier these days, with the new child-tracking apps for parents. However, there is just a fine line between trusting your child and being protective about him/her. What you call "care" or "protection" might not be viewed the same way by your child.

Once (s)he comes to know that you have been tracking their activities on the networking sites, it may adversely affect your family atmosphere and distance your child from you. It is very important to strike a right balance between being protective and being "over" protective.

According to a research about digital-age "family awareness" by Canada's premier media-literacy organization, MediaSmarts.ca, "The teenagers who did share the details of their lives with their parents were the ones who were not routinely monitored. Trust in this case was mutual," indicating that "monitoring alone may work against open family dialogue."

"When family members need to keep track of each other, is it not enough to call or text? What kind of message are we sending our kids when tracking their every move? How do they respond?" asks Anne Collier, guest blogger for the Web Site Christian Science Monitor.

Collier writes that if fear is the motivation, then what is the whole point of constantly tracking? It will only make the child more fearful or could affect the parent-child communication if the child feels that fear is irrelevant or overwrought.

There are half a dozen child-tracking apps for parents, with some also recording every text a child types. But in the end, it is always a parent's personal choice to decide if they need any such app to ensure their children's safety or if they want to start with building a base of trust and open communication among the family members.

Collier writes that most parents don't really need a software to establish protection for their children on networking sites.

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