Should You Snoop On Your Children’s Social Media Account?

In today’s world of raising children parents are presented with the added difficulty of the cell phone. Now if you are one of those parents that has refused to give into what has become the norm for this generation of watching your child have his or her eyes glued to a tiny little screen at every given free moment, well awesome. Way to stick it out.

For the vast majority of us though raising children in today’s world, its inevitable that you in fact have been hounded, begged and given a million reason under the sun from your child pleading his or her case as to why they NEED a cell phone.  And if you are reading this, they most likely have a phone or are oh so close to getting one. My children are a bit older, but both received phones sometime in middle school. I kind of have to snicker at those parents that have much younger children touting how appalled they are that parents are giving their children cell phones at this age or that age, backed up with the “I will never allow my children to have a phone at that age” All I can say to that is, never say never and you may be surprised at what you thought you would never do as a parent.

But this is not an opinion on when you should or should not give your child a phone. As far as I am concerned that is exactly that, an opinion. To each his own, and whatever works best with your family most definitely will not be what works in another family.

This article is more about the parenting issue of snooping. That’s right, parental snooping. When I was a kid, I am sure my parents snooped around. Went into my room, looked through some dresser draws, maybe my back pack.  I don’t think they ever went as far as following me around, maybe they checked up where I was via a drive by or a call to a neighboring parent. Other than that, there was not much more they could do, except good old fashioned trust. And probably a whole lot of praying. You see when I was growing up there was this thing attached to the kitchen wall, called a telephone-It had this long cord attached to the handle and if you wanted privacy you stretched that thing as far as it would go and if you were lucky enough you could stretch it far enough to another room and shut the door or hide in a closet. And there were no worries of eavesdropping on your conversation because you most definitely could hear that little click when someone picked up the from another line in the house.

Today’s technology allows our children to live in a world with instant access to everything. Constant communication with their friends, girlfriends/boyfriends. They know where the parties are, who is at the party and who is not. Twitter, Instagram, snap chat and so on. I can barely keep up with all the apps available.  In fact I know I can’t and the kids are forever finding ways to communicate on the ones their parents are not aware of yet. It is safe to say Facebook use by most teens is used very little as I have been told by my own children, Facebook was overtaken by old people. I guess that means me.

Now let me tell there are a multiple amount of concerns we have as parents regarding cell phones. The list is a mile long. But this is an article focusing on not what our children do, but what we do as parents when it comes to snooping in on our kids social media, private messages, and texting. 

One of the most debated discussions I have seen among my parent friends are the snoopers vs the non snoopers. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum. I know of certain parents who could probably get a job with the FBI for their snooping skills. They are experts in finding ways to access text messages and private messages on various app accounts. They spend a lot of time invested in what text messages are being sent out and received. What is the latest posting on their child’s social media. And its not just their own kid, its their children’s friends as well. Sort of like stalking but in the well meaning good sense. I personally fall into the non snooper category. Not that I sometimes try to take a glance over their shoulder or on occasion walk by an unguarded phone and press the front button to see If I can get a glance of a recent text message. But unguarded phones happen as often as being struck by lightening..twice.

Now, if you are the snooper that says I tell my kids I will look at their phone whenever I want at a moments notice. Well, it may keep them on their toes, but believe me they are deleting everything in a nano second that they don’t want you to see. Nope, if you are truly a snooper you have to do it in a way your children know nothing about it. As a non snooper, I guess I feel like I will give my kids that privacy of sorts. I will intervene and snoop only if I feel the need to do so. If my mother’s instinct tells me something is not right, there is a problem that I feel may child may not be handling, or there is a suspected issue with abuse, or drugs or under age drinking. I personally do not want to know my child’s every conversation they are having. I hope they will share with me enough and trust me enough to talk about things they feel they want or need to. And if not I will most likely than revert back to my original response and trust my instinct to know if I need to dig a little deeper into something that may be going on. Yes, I may than become a snooper.  

As for the snoopers, I have much respect as well. Parenting is a tough job and we all just doing our best trying to raise happy, healthy adults. The last time I checked there was no manual. To all my snooper mom’s and dad’s, I am up front in saying if you feel it’s important enough I need to know something you saw, please let me know. I will indeed be looking out for your child as well. 

So, tell us what you think? Are you a snooper or a non snooper? Do you agree with reading and monitoring all your child’s messages and watching their social media? Or do you believe your child as some rights of privacy?

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY? THOSE LAST SPECIAL MOMENTS YOU MISS IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

As my children have grown older I sometimes struggle with remembering all the little details of them growing up. As parents we reflect back and say it seems just like yesterday I was holding them in my arms, or they were just under my feet and I blinked my eyes and now they are teenagers or off to college. This is true, it really does go by very fast.

I have enjoyed and relished in every phase of children’s life. In the moment though you do not realize how the little things that you do in their life  just suddenly stop or disappear. When you bring home your newborn and every waking, breathing minute is dedicated to feedings, burping, diaper changes and mind exhausting worries of why are they crying. But than one morning you wake up and realize the sun is coming up and your precious bundle slept through the entire night. Of course after you experience sheer panic and run to make sure child is safe and sleeping soundly, a sigh of relief your baby is sleeping through the night!

With that in mind I think back to when other things just stopped one day and I barely noticed. When was the last day I walked holding his little hand to cross the street, or when was the last night that he called mommy in to read him a bed time story. What day all of a sudden was my TV not tuned into Elmo, cartoon network, or Disney movies. When was the last night my child crawled up in my lap to snuggle up with me in his zipped up PJ’s.  I can’t recall the last day mommy turned into just mom. The last lullaby sang, the last boo boo kissed, the last piggy back ride or the last butterfly kiss.

My children are well past all these stages, I adore watching them grow into young people, thoughts and ideas of their own and plans for their future.  I look forward to seeing what they will achieve in their life and continued independence. But If I had only known that each of those moments, on that day would have been the last time, the last moment, you can bet I would have snuggled a bit longer, read that bed time story over again and held his hand a little bit tighter. I would have sang the lullaby a little sweeter, kissed the boo boo a few extra times and would have said call me mommy one last time.

These are the little things that you wake up one day and don’t even realize your child doesn’t need any longer. You don’t realize because you have moved onto the next exciting stage your child is going through. So, if you are lucky enough to still have little ones, enjoy all the little things cause one day it will be the last day, just like that, in a blink of the eye.

WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK FROM BECOMING A BETTER PERSON

Everyone has the moment in their life when they wonder what in the hell I am doing. Where did I go wrong? How did I end up on this path? How can I make things better? Most times we ask ourselves this question, yet we continue on, the daily routine, the same choices, the same social circles. You get through, you survive, another day goes by, another month, another year.

I too have dropped to my knees and asked the good lord why? What do you want from me? Show me the way? I have pleaded my case to the lottery gods, why can it not be me that matches the winning numbers?  How many times have you laid your head down and cried lonely tears over a marriage you know is broken, yet can not find the strength to move on? Financial struggles you have no idea how to fix. We have all reached out to someone yet been shunned, belittled, brokenhearted. Sometimes we look at our children and wonder where we went wrong. What could we have done better? Or sometimes we look at our children and wonder how did they turn out so great, when I could have given more, done more, been so much of a better person.

In life, we are constantly disappointed, we fail, we hurt others and we hurt ourselves. When we look at others who seem to have it all, we wonder why them? Truth be known each and every person has these struggles. The woman with the perfect body you admire, looks in the mirror every day and sees her flaws. That couple you see together and only wish your relationship could be like theirs, well you would never know she feels so lonely at times she cries when no one is looking. She wonders where she is going to pull that one more once of energy to care for her family, take care of everyone’s needs, keep up her home and be the perfect wife, the perfect mom. She knows she has lost herself in the process but pushes on. She is woman. And that husband, well he feels his wife pulling away but doesn’t know how to reach out, doesn’t know how to say he is scared, that he too is overwhelmed, and needs comfort and encouragement. He remains silent, cause he is a man and he has been taught he is the caretaker, he needs to figure it all out on his own. He is a man. The single mom who will sacrifice all for her children. Every ounce of her questioning each choice she makes. Was I selfish, can I be it all for my children? Did I show my children the right way when I decided to not stay in that broken marriage? Could I have tried harder? The single fathers, who no one sees crying tears of sorrow cause he misses being a part of his kids everyday life and feels forgotten. He wonders could he have been a better man, a better husband, a better father. The parents, who children are grown, have moved on and started their own lives. Just hoping for a phone call, a hello, a simple I love you. Knowing their adult children are busy but longing to be a part of the lives of the children they lived and breathed for, in which to them seemed not so long ago. 

Truth be told there is no perfect person. No perfect life. When we look at others who seem to have it all, we are only looking at the surface. Each and every person has a struggle. Some simply hide it better than others.

So how can we be a better person? We can all stop judging others from the surface. We can all love one another more. We can stop asking friends and loved ones simply “How are you?” and truly ask, “Please, tell me really How Are You?” We can stop judging ourselves so harshly, stop criticizing ourselves, stop letting your mind be over run with all the would haves, should haves, and could haves. Move forward, never backward. Make each day is a new better day. Stop letting fear of failure, fear of rejection hold you back. Realize this path you are on is your path. The scenery may not be what you expected, the bumps at times may be hell and the road may seem to be forever winding but the journey is what we are here for. You may never win the lottery, you may never find that perfect balance in life. Your family, your children, your friends will never be in perfect harmony. But if you truly look around and open yourself up, we can all make this journey a little easier for everyone by just being a better person to one another and especially to yourself.