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Is it ever okay to invade your child’s privacy? - Page 2

Poll Results: Is it ever okay to invade your child’s privacy?

 
  • 85% (52)
    Yes - I am responsible for my child and have to do what I can to make sure he or she is okay, even if it requires invading privacy but there must be a strong reason
  • 1% (1)
    No - I believe we should talk to our children about our concerns and never invade their privacy
  • 13% (8)
    Undecided
61 Total Votes  
post #21 of 57

I did not mean to give the impression that my family does not have some privacy. I don't think I have ever gone through my husbands email for anything other than looking up a water bill statement. But I could if I wanted. Growing up I was the ONLY extrovert in the house and now I am married to a very strong introvert. I respect his need for alone time. I respect his need to sit with things and process information. He and I agree about the privacy issue 100%. 

Would I read my daughter's diary just because I am curious? Probably not. But I will never give her reason to expect that she has things that are "off-limits" to me as her mother. She will always know that I would look through her things if I needed to.

I agree that it is really about trust. I just think that to be truly honest with my kids, they need to know that the expectation of privacy between family members is lower than in other relationships. Living together as a unit requires more transparency and as parents, my husband and I will decide what level is beneficial for the family as a whole. That decision will not be based on personal preferences. I will not be based on how it effects my relationship with them later on. My interest is in raising responsible, compassionate people. I would love for them to respect me and be my friend as I am with my own parents but that is not my primary goal. 

post #22 of 57

I voted "Yes..." bc of the definition of "privacy" given in the OP.

 

That is not how I would define "privacy." It seems we are talking about limiting secrecy of your DC. Privacy to me, is like when one is using the toilet-- everyone knows what they're doing in there-- there is no secrecy involved-- only a healthy respect for their desire to not be seen nude or in an embarrassing act involving bodily functions. I would only invade this type of privacy in a bona fide medical emergency directly before dialing 911. (I did do this once & it was funny... more later...)

 

I will absolutely limit the privilege of "secrecy" of my DC, especially if any danger seems apparent, but they all grow up knowing this, and like PPs have said about family closeness, it's not a big deal in our household. My children are mine and I am theirs (obviously DH, too), and everything I have is theirs and everything they have is mine. This is a comforting thought to them and gives immeasurable security (even if it's occasionally annoying during middle school years, especially.)

 

I've worked at a children's home and was often called on in a technical capacity to assist parents in limiting over-extended secrecy when children showed signs of danger (ie, I do know more about the net & social sites than my DC or theirs, & I've never -not- found a "hidden" profile/ email acct or failed to help the parent view it when NEEDED). I also have never helped a parent, even once, and found nothing to worry about-- there generally was horrible and immediate danger to the child; they were not just snooping.

 

One young lady from this home, in a moment of brilliant maturity and insight, told a group of younger girls, "Yes, I resented my mom going through my things, but everytime I resented it, it was because I had something to hide." Of course parents can and do take this too far-- my mother read my journal and letters aloud to other people-- my xbf, her bf, my siblings, etc-- just yuck & no danger signs, just middle school-y poetry & love letter drafts, and stuff, hehe.

 

The funny, if anyone's still interested, occured when DD was about 4 yo & wanted to take a bath with no help. Well, she didn't need her hair washed & was able to manage the rest by herself, so I agreed if we kept the door cracked. I knocked and asked how she was or if she needed anything every so often & she enjoyed her big girl soak. Then I knocked and got no answer; I frantically call, "T___!?" No answer. I burst in and saw my child floating motionless in the water. I picked up her head and shoulders & jostled her, thinking she'd fallen asleep, no response. I yelled to xh to call 911, scooped her out of the tub, thunked her down on the floor and tilted her head to begin CPR when she finally woke up and said, "Can you stop that? You're embarrassing me!" Now that was an invasion of privacy (well-warranted), HAHAHA!

post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum4vr View Post

I've worked at a children's home and was often called on in a technical capacity to assist parents in limiting over-extended secrecy when children showed signs of danger (ie, I do know more about the net & social sites than my DC or theirs, & I've never -not- found a "hidden" profile/ email acct or failed to help the parent view it when NEEDED). I also have never helped a parent, even once, and found nothing to worry about-- there generally was horrible and immediate danger to the child; they were not just snooping.

Yikes, your bathtub story must have been scary for sure.

 

As for the hidden profiles and email accounts, how do you find those?

post #24 of 57

I think it's ok, if there are warning signs (such as those whatsnextmom posted about, suicidal remarks, etc...) or if my child were to go missing.

post #25 of 57

A good friend of ours was all about being her 12 year old daughter's "best friend" (gah, they even dress alike) and offered her privacy on everything, from daughter having a lock on her door, her own private phones (home AND cell), her own laptop (and, everything related to the internet).  She said, "I trust her, completely!"  I would never look in her room or at her computer!"  Her daughter got good grades and had a moderate social life (school sports).  One day, her computer was in the shop and she "borrowed" her daughter's laptop to check their home email.  She saw her daughter's email account and decided to "sneak" a peek.  She found her daughter had been sending pornographic photographs of herself to multiple adult sites for over a year.  Needless to say, she was devastated and any trust between them was over.  Three years later, they are still seeing a therapist.

 

We have no problem whatsoever going through ds things.  He is not on any internet social media except for one toy collectors message forum.  The computer is where we can see it, he has limited use of it and I have read his posts.  His room has no secrets, either (nor does ours).  There is nothing in this house that is hidden from anyone else. 

 

When he is living on his own, he can have all the privacy he wants and his life will be his own. 

 

This house belongs to all of us, not just him.  Our house, our rules. 

 

We are his parents, not his friends. 

post #26 of 57

Journals are private. Internet is not.
 

post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklefairy View Post

Journals are private. Internet is not.
 

nod.gif

 

I think this is a HUGE point to teach to kids.......a journal that you physically write on and is kept in your room, is private.  ANYTHING you put on the internet, or send on a cell phone, just.isn't.  Isn't private from me, isn't private from anyone who might want to share or exploit it.  So, they can expect me to not snoop in a journal (unless I feared they were in imminent danger), but they will not be able to expect any kind of privacy on the internet or cell phones.  Because there IS none, and they need to get that, big time.  Anything you put out there can potentially be seen/used/saved by ANYONE...so if it's private enough that you don't want it spread around or known by anyone, don't put it out there. The stakes are too high for young people on the internet and with cell phones for parents to NOT be involved, IMO...I'm on tumblr and some of the stuff I see coming from teenagers, I'm just like - "WHERE IS YOUR ADULT???  WHY HAS NOBODY EVER TALKED WITH YOU ABOUT THIS STUFF???".  

 

And really, I have nothing to hide from my kids; they can see my emails, texts, and social media pages any time they walk by my computer or phone.  

post #28 of 57

To me it is all very contextual. Sometime it is OK. All depends on the age, mental status etc.

post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel88 View Post

I did not mean to give the impression that my family does not have some privacy. I don't think I have ever gone through my husbands email for anything other than looking up a water bill statement. But I could if I wanted. Growing up I was the ONLY extrovert in the house and now I am married to a very strong introvert. I respect his need for alone time. I respect his need to sit with things and process information. He and I agree about the privacy issue 100%. 

Would I read my daughter's diary just because I am curious? Probably not. But I will never give her reason to expect that she has things that are "off-limits" to me as her mother. She will always know that I would look through her things if I needed to.

I agree that it is really about trust. I just think that to be truly honest with my kids, they need to know that the expectation of privacy between family members is lower than in other relationships. Living together as a unit requires more transparency and as parents, my husband and I will decide what level is beneficial for the family as a whole. That decision will not be based on personal preferences. I will not be based on how it effects my relationship with them later on. My interest is in raising responsible, compassionate people. I would love for them to respect me and be my friend as I am with my own parents but that is not my primary goal. 

 

Then we don't disagree. We were upfront with the kids that if we kept their codes, didn't put locks on the doors and would go through their stuff if they gave us reason too. It's just, with kids, what THEY see as justification for snooping doesn't often line up with parents. And, there are too many parents who snoop when they aren't justified. In our experience, in families where there are no boundaries, where the parents are constantly in their kids stuff without just cause are not healthy. The kids become pros at the underground life and it's just so easy to do in this day in age. It's a delicate balance with teens... creating an environment where they know you are paying attention but that you also see the them worthy of trust and respect.

post #30 of 57

i voted yes but the only time i'd invade privacy was if i was concerned...really concerned something was happening(i.e.bullying,suicide etc.) . i hope though that i am able to talk with my children and they feel comfortable to tell me everything..i hope

post #31 of 57

Although I agree that parents have not only the right but the responsibility to to clarify what is going on in their children's lives when they suspect substance abuse, deep emotional problems such as cutting or eating disorders, or are concerned about something like suicide, I disagree with the overall tone on this thread.

 

I think that as our children change from CHILDREN to teens and young adults, they have a right to privacy, and our refusing to allow them that is detrimental both to their development as a person who is separate from us and to our relationship with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

I had a sister and mother that obviously read my diary, and steam opened my love letters from my boyfriend. Was snooping about this OK? No way. I was happy, I was in love. The only thing I learned from this was that my mother and sister did not respect me. So I had to hide things better. 

 

 

This is spot on. And it doesn't matter if the communication in handwritten or saved in an online diary (which are password protected). When we as parent REFUSE to allow our teens and young adults appropriate space to work out their feelings and lives, we are not treating them with respect. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel88 View Post

My mother is Native American and we were raised to see our family as our tribe and to value its success over personal needs and desires. Part of the price of this kind of cohesiveness is a loss of some individual freedoms; maybe even a loss of some INDIVIDUALITY. But it has taught me to value others over myself and to think about my actions in terms of collective good rather than personal gain.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think privacy is very important between family members. 

 

My parents shared your views but for different reasons. For them, it was about religion. I got the heck out of their house the minute I could and NEVER looked back. I needed my own space to have my own thoughts.

 

Although nothing of mine (my cell phone, computer log in, etc) is password protected, but I could not be married to or live with someone who thought they needed to go through my stuff. I think it is a wretched way to treat another human being. I cannot tolerate it myself, and I do not treat my teens like that. (the only exceptions would be those listed above, which honestly, are pretty rare).

 

If you want to know what is going on with a family member, the best way to do that is to really spend time with them. Eat with them, hang out with them, spend some time one on one doing things they enjoy. Snooping through another person's things to find out what is going on *may* be necessary in extreme circumstances, but if it is, then it is a sign that the relationship is already in very bad shape, and that trust has already been lost.

 

After all, if you trust another person, why would you be looking through their things to find out what is going on in their lives? Why wouldn't you spend that time doing something else, like actually spending time with them?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GabiCristian View Post

I agree with Rachel and Michellee--I think that the only thing that should be truly private is a child's diary. Texts, facebook, email, should all be accessible by parents. My husband has access to all my accounts/phone, and I have access to his. I don't even have a problem with kids having access to their parents' accounts once they have proved themselves trustworthy and are mature enough to understand the responsibility. 

 

 

Why? Based on what? How is a text or email from a friend different from a note from a friend? Why do you believe that your teens should not be able to communicate with their peers without your oversight?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

 

When they were 5, nothing was off limits but then, one day, they felt shy about changing in front of others. One day, the door closed when they had a friend over to play. One day it was clear that DS liked a girl but he didn't want to tell us who... and we had to respect that because really, do I tell my child EVERYTHING? No. I wouldn't burden them with my every inner working lol. The closer your child gets to being an adult, the more privacy you need to afford them.

 

Agreed. And it is normal and healthy for teens to want some privacy. This phase is about independence and life skills. Not about mommy snooping through your stuff (digital or otherwise).

 

I also suspect that most of the reading that parents do of their teens texts and such is more about finding out how their teen's crushes and such are working out than anything that actual requires a parent get involved. Because it is NORMAL for teens to want to keep these things to themselves, and it is NORMAL for parents to want to know what is going on.

 

I don't think our children deserves LESS respect that we wanted because they don't pick up a land line and talk for 2 hours. They communicate digitally. We STILL owe them respect.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rachel88 View Post

 

But I will never give her reason to expect that she has things that are "off-limits" to me as her mother. She will always know that I would look through her things if I needed to.

I agree that it is really about trust. I just think that to be truly honest with my kids, they need to know that the expectation of privacy between family members is lower than in other relationships. Living together as a unit requires more transparency and as parents, my husband and I will decide what level is beneficial for the family as a whole. That decision will not be based on personal preferences. I will not be based on how it effects my relationship with them later on. My interest is in raising responsible, compassionate people. I would love for them to respect me and be my friend as I am with my own parents but that is not my primary goal. 

 

I don't think it is possible to raise young adults who naturally treat others respect if we don't treat them with respect.

 

I've been very clear to my kids under what circumstances I would go through their communications. But if I have no reason to be concerned because they are doing great, why would I go through their things? 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklefairy View Post

Journals are private. Internet is not.
 

 

Much of what happens via the internet IS private. Skype, emails, private messages via FaceBook, chat sessions as part of MMORPGs are all private -- limited to those invited. A parent demanding to be part of all that is no different that saying that every time they the teen has a friend over to hang out, the parent needs to be in the room to listen.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

 

ANYTHING you put on the internet, or send on a cell phone, just.isn't.  Isn't private from me, isn't private from anyone who might want to share or exploit it.  So, they can expect me to not snoop in a journal (unless I feared they were in imminent danger), but they will not be able to expect any kind of privacy on the internet or cell phones.  Because there IS none, and they need to get that, big time.  

 

My kids are very, very clear on how digital communication can work, the ease of moving something like a photo from one place to another, etc.

 

That doesn't justify me cyber stalking them or demanding to have all their passwords to everything.  They get how the information could be used if they trusted the wrong person. I don't need to demonstrate it to them.

post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Much of what happens via the internet IS private. Skype, emails, private messages via FaceBook, chat sessions as part of MMORPGs are all private -- limited to those invited...

 

 

My kids are very, very clear on how digital communication can work, the ease of moving something like a photo from one place to another, etc.

 

Wowwy-wow, this concerns me very deeply.

 

Please understand one thing: NOTHING, NO THING, as in NOT ONE SINGLE THING that happens online is "private" or "limited to those invited."

 

As parents of children living in the digital age, we all need to really have a "very, very clear" understanding of how this works. Aside from all the crackers, hackers, phishers, and cyber-stalkers (which are not nearly as RARE as we would like to imagine; nor are teens with very dangerous habits/ issues/ online behaviors-- they are not "RARE" at all!) at the bare bones, minimum, there is a help center/ tech center/ web master attachd to each and every online entity.

 

Some of these people should not concern us in the least-- they are mature, professional, responsible, and honest people who just want to fix the tech problems that are assigned to them, cash their paychecks, & live their lives. However, this does not describe the entire population of barely-above-entry-level fledgling hackers who have enough skill getting around online boundaries to be hired by a tech center! I speak from much experience! I've worked there! Your "online privacy" is a myth!

 

The most benign use of other ppl's protected info that is to be found in every tech center, is the "FUNNY FILE"-- employees print out YOUR info and work logs/ conversation logs associated if they find them amusing. They pass them around work, to personal friends, they take them home. YOUR conversations, YOUR teenager's photo, YOUR request for assistance. These are just the ones who mean no real harm, but what about their creepy brother-in-law? Yeah, he thinks it's funny & he wants to see those pix again, maybe he'll copy it & take it to work... maybe it'll go viral tomorrow. There are others who are more sinister-- I'm just illutrating how easily your info can be commpetely compromised without any malice even being involved. It gets worse from here, mamas. Please be aware.

 

I have to admit, (and I apologize) my knee-jerk reaction when I read that someone thinks there is ever any online privacy, was, BAH HAH HAH! ... but it's not funny. It's seriously dangerous to even be online if you think it even COULD BE private-- it cannot be. That's the nature of the beast. I'm sorry.

 

p.s. when my (web master techy geek) DH read my post-- bc I asked him to before submitting-- he said, "The FUNNY FILE, HAHAHAHAHAHA-- Laz showed me his funny file!" Seriously not funny. Glad they're both not malicious ppl, but who else has seen it? Does this guy work for an entity -you- are involved with? I've printed my funny files... did I work for someone -you- trustingly gave your info to when I was young & dumb? Will it come back to haunt you? or me?

post #33 of 57
Quote:

Originally Posted by mum4vr View Post

 

It's seriously dangerous to even be online if you think it even COULD BE private-- it cannot be.


By private I meant that if I send an email to my mother, that is a private conversation between she and I. Yes, an immature jerk who works for the ISP could access it, but that doesn't mean that it is RIGHT for them to do that or that it makes it RIGHT for my spouse to demand to see it. You are advocating that parents behave unscrupulously because their are other people who behave unscrupulously. Another person's bad behavior is never a justification for one's own bad behavior. Our children learn the most from how we ACT. If we act on strong morale principles, they learn to have strong morals. If we use other people's lack of morals to justify anything at anytime, we teach our children that it is OK to do the exact same thing.

 

I agree that children and teens need to be taught how digital communication works, but their are ways to do that without constantly invading their privacy just so they get the point. One thing that I've emphasized to my kids is that FaceBook entries might not ever *really* go away. Unless they would want their future employee to read it about them, it most likely shouldn't be posted anywhere. I've also been very frank with my teens about how some things have played out for real life teens, such a girl who sent a boy she had a crush on a picture of her breast, which he forwarded to everyone. She was bullied until she killed herself less than a year later. I've made it VERY clear to my kids that the reason to not engage in certain behaviors is *because of how it could play out for them*. Because of this, I'm quite confident that they will continue to have safe internet habits once they leave home.

 

If the only reason your teen is keeping is clean and straight on the internet is because you demand all their passwords and spend your time stalking them, then you haven't taught them ANYTHING to take into adulthood. The reason to do these things (or not do them) is because of how it could play out for YOU. Not because it will pi$$ off your mom.

 

When I stated that the kind of issues that in my mind justify a parent invading their teens privacy are rare, I meant that most parents most of the time are not dealing with such matters. Most of the digital snooping that parents are doing is because they are curious about things their teens don't wish to discuss with them. I don't consider curiosity an appropriate reason to invade another person's privacy. In a parent/teen relationship, that it is complete misuse of POWER.

 

If I were concerned with something as serious as suicide, whether the document I was reading had been stored digitally or handwritten wouldn't be an issue for me. I would do everything I could to make sure I knew exactly how bad things were and to get my child the best help possible. 

post #34 of 57

As I have said in previous posts, I do think that an individual’s needs should be respected. I think that every member of a family deserves respect from the moment they are born. I believe that my job as a parent is to give my children the tools they need to become competent adults. And that includes the kind of self-esteem that can only be built through being respected as a whole person. Another, equally important tool I can give them with which to navigate the world is a realistic set of expectations. My children will trust me not because I give them privacy but because I do exactly what I say I am going to do.

I will monitor ALL of their online interactions because as many others have pointed out, these things do not have an expiration date and they are by definition, not private. This is a matter of family safety and it is about protecting us from the unfortunate but real dangers out there in the world.  

I will not create off-limits areas of the house for myself or my husband. If I want to put away the laundry or clean under all the beds or search high and low for my missing glue gun I will. My kids will not believe that their underwear drawer or their backpack is some kind of scared space in which I am not allowed.

Will I let my kids shut their door when their friends (even boyfriends) are over? Sure. Will I barge in while the use the bathroom? No. Will I read through their journal to find out the name of their crush? Only if I think he is posing some serious threat to my child’s wellbeing.

Someone else made the distinction between privacy and secrecy. I think there is a good point here. My problem is that the general concept our society has of privacy encompasses too much secrecy. I think personal space is important. I think you only need a place to hide things when you have something to hide.

The concept of privacy that is prevalent in our culture is something I find problematic in general. Not just for individual families but for our society as a whole. This is part of a general attitude we have that encourages selfishness by implying that an individual’s “right” trumps the collective’s genuine needs. Not only that, it is increasingly becoming a unicorn. Privacy in a global, urban, digital world is an unattainable goal. To teach my children that they are entitled to something that is detrimental to society and not realistically attainable would be a disservice to them.

post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

 

If the only reason your teen is keeping is clean and straight on the internet is because you demand all their passwords and spend your time stalking them, then you haven't taught them ANYTHING to take into adulthood. The reason to do these things (or not do them) is because of how it could play out for YOU. Not because it will pi$$ off your mom.

 

When I stated that the kind of issues that in my mind justify a parent invading their teens privacy are rare, I meant that most parents most of the time are not dealing with such matters. Most of the digital snooping that parents are doing is because they are curious about things their teens don't wish to discuss with them. I don't consider curiosity an appropriate reason to invade another person's privacy. In a parent/teen relationship, that it is complete misuse of POWER.

 

If I were concerned with something as serious as suicide, whether the document I was reading had been stored digitally or handwritten wouldn't be an issue for me. I would do everything I could to make sure I knew exactly how bad things were and to get my child the best help possible. 

 

I may be projecting/not giving (my?) kids enough credit....but with as low as their impulse control still is at their ages (almost 7 and 9 but working a couple years behind that), and the common "maybe that happened to someone else but not me/I'm invincible" thread that runs through humanity and seems to be especially concentrated in (many) teenagers, not to mention the actual research that suggests that teenagers brains are still underdeveloped in various decision-making areas - I could totally see one of my kids, despite good counsel, modeling, and conversations, pulling a bonehead move and doing something that could backfire spectacularly for them - they do it now, already, as children; they are constantly optimistic that whatever I've advised them is probably not going to happen *this time*, because [whatever thing they think is going to prevent the problem].   I know they will mature some, but they will still be the same people they are with the same basic temperaments.  

So no, I'm not going to be stalking my kids online in place of having actual conversations with them...that's pretty far from where our relationship is.  But as a safety valve/way out as saving face (I can't do that kind of stuff/go to that site/{insert thing here], my mom is strict and would KILL me), as a way of keeping a handle on whether there's a situation getting out of hand (how many awful stories say parents didn't know what was going on?), as a way of actually *keeping* the conversation going between us, my kids will know from the very first time they're connected, social interaction online and by phone with their peers is going to be supervised.  Supervised doesnt' mean I'm huddled over their phone scrolling through messages every night while they sleep.  And I mean,  I'm no pearl clutcher - I already have pretty frank conversations with them about various serious topics...I'm just going to be that mom standing there saying - no way guys, you can do better than this...if things start to devolve.  The near constant, unsupervised connectedness between peers is unprecedented, and it drives right to the core of my Gordon Neufeld "Hold On To Your Kids" heart.  I'm totally okay being THAT MOM; kids have access to things we never dreamed of right at their fingertips today, and I just don't think there's enough convincing evidence out there that teenagers DON'T need some reigns on that; almost every item I read shows me quite the opposite.  

 

By supervising them, I'm sending them the message that I'm there, making sure they're safe as they navigate this new territory, and as they age, they will have the reigns handed over to them little by little....pretty much the same as every other aspect of their lives thus far.  If that means, in the beginning, going through the day's facebook posts with them together and talking about it, then so be it.  For a 14-year old I think that's incredibly appropriate.  Social media is a kid's PUBLIC presence on the internet, no matter what their security settings are....and IMO they need oversight of that that, from the get go, beyond just conversations.  

post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel88 View Post

As I have said in previous posts, I do think that an individual’s needs should be respected. I think that every member of a family deserves respect from the moment they are born. I believe that my job as a parent is to give my children the tools they need to become competent adults. And that includes the kind of self-esteem that can only be built through being respected as a whole person. Another, equally important tool I can give them with which to navigate the world is a realistic set of expectations. My children will trust me not because I give them privacy but because I do exactly what I say I am going to do.

I will monitor ALL of their online interactions because as many others have pointed out, these things do not have an expiration date and they are by definition, not private. This is a matter of family safety and it is about protecting us from the unfortunate but real dangers out there in the world.  

I will not create off-limits areas of the house for myself or my husband. If I want to put away the laundry or clean under all the beds or search high and low for my missing glue gun I will. My kids will not believe that their underwear drawer or their backpack is some kind of scared space in which I am not allowed.

Will I let my kids shut their door when their friends (even boyfriends) are over? Sure. Will I barge in while the use the bathroom? No. Will I read through their journal to find out the name of their crush? Only if I think he is posing some serious threat to my child’s wellbeing.

Someone else made the distinction between privacy and secrecy. I think there is a good point here. My problem is that the general concept our society has of privacy encompasses too much secrecy. I think personal space is important. I think you only need a place to hide things when you have something to hide.

The concept of privacy that is prevalent in our culture is something I find problematic in general. Not just for individual families but for our society as a whole. This is part of a general attitude we have that encourages selfishness by implying that an individual’s “right” trumps the collective’s genuine needs. Not only that, it is increasingly becoming a unicorn. Privacy in a global, urban, digital world is an unattainable goal. To teach my children that they are entitled to something that is detrimental to society and not realistically attainable would be a disservice to them.

 

Privacy and secrecy aren't the same thing. An example I used many years ago, on another forum, is my sex life. I don't care if the whole world knows I have sex with husband. I didn't even care if they knew I was having sex before we got married. I don't care if they know how often we have sex, although I wouldn't usually discuss it. That doesn't mean I want them watching. It doesn't mean my desire to have the curtains and windows closed before we have sex is detrimental to society.

 

I actually find the idea that a desire for privacy is detrimental to society and/or encourages selfishness to be really bizarre. The idea that we have the right to poke around in other people's lives is what seems detrimental to me. (Was it a benefit to society when someone took pics of William and Kate's vacation, so that creeps online could comment on the quality of her tits? What is a benefit to society when the tabloids printed front page pics of Britney Spears's little boy staring back out of a car window when his parents were splitting up?)

 

I've never had reason to go into my son's room, beyond putting some clean laundry on his bed (he does his own, but sometimes I have to move a load from the dryer when he's out.) If I had another reason to be in there, I'd go in there. But, if I found a locked box under his bed, or a journal, or even a sketchbook, I wouldn't open it. I have no concerns about his life, and no reason to butt into it.

post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

By private I meant that if I send an email to my mother, that is a private conversation between she and I. Yes, an immature jerk who works for the ISP could access it, but that doesn't mean that it is RIGHT for them to do that or that it makes it RIGHT for my spouse to demand to see it.

 

Just for clarification (not "for the record" bc what I -actually said- is still recorded for all to see)... I never insinuated it is "RIGHT," I only said, do not be decieved-- it does happen. People also crack accounts-- it's not just an employee who may see your info-- anyone may if they want to invest the time to learn how!

 

Re: one's spouse demanding to see it, I guess I pity anyone with so little trust in their marriage that they would want to hide things from their spouse. I am not being facetious-- I pity them; I have been there & it is not healthy & feels miserable. My DH and I are open-- I even tell him what I say to my sister when venting about him! (after we get over it, LOL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

You are advocating that parents behave unscrupulously because their are other people who behave unscrupulously.

 

Wrong answer: I am advocating exactly nothing here (except more online awareness, and more careful online behavior and safety). I did answer the OP's question regarding what -I- would do with -my- child. God gave mine to me, and he gave yours to you... along with the right and responsibility to raise them. I'll answer for my parenting one day, and you'll answer for yours; thusly I do not advocate very many parenting practices at all, since it's neither my right nor my responsibilty to raise your child. If I see parents uninformed re an immediate danger that I know of (like online privacy), I'll certainly warn the parent, just as I would warn -anyone- if I saw them about to step in front of an oncoming bus.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

If I were concerned with something as serious as suicide, whether the document I was reading had been stored digitally or handwritten wouldn't be an issue for me. I would do everything I could to make sure I knew exactly how bad things were and to get my child the best help possible.

 

I'm glad you said this bc it shows that you have a boundary-breaking point-- you would act in whatever way necessary to help your child if the threat was severe enough-- including invading what you call their privacy (and I call their secrecy, but toMAYto, toMAHto, we mean the same thing). I wouldn't be so fast to condemn other parents just bc their boundary is not the same place mine is-- I'm glad they have any healthy boundaries at all that work for them.

 

Re: "as serious as suicide" let's all keep in mind that there are some things people have lived thru that they describe as "worse than death." Many parents value a far more open and less secret relationship with their DC and spouse bc they want to protect them from more types of danger than impending death, for some it may be date rape, drugs, promiscuity, etc. The parents are not trying to justify "unscrupulous" behavior IME, they are trying to protect kids that are too immature to protect themselves at this point. Among the chief roles of a parent is "guardian," ie protector of the child. (Although we all know of parents who are not protecting, they're just being hateful-- no one's defending that here, as far as I can tell.) Plus what I'm hearing from several parents with less secrecy in the home here, is that the relationship is more trusting, not less-- they don't have to pry bc info is shared freely already...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel88 View Post

As I have said in previous posts, I do think that an individual’s needs should be respected. I think that every member of a family deserves respect from the moment they are born. I believe that my job as a parent is to give my children the tools they need to become competent adults. And that includes the kind of self-esteem that can only be built through being respected as a whole person. Another, equally important tool I can give them with which to navigate the world is a realistic set of expectations. My children will trust me not because I give them privacy but because I do exactly what I say I am going to do.

 

I will monitor ALL of their online interactions because as many others have pointed out, these things do not have an expiration date and they are by definition, not private. This is a matter of family safety and it is about protecting us from the unfortunate but real dangers out there in the world.  

 

I will not create off-limits areas of the house for myself or my husband. If I want to put away the laundry or clean under all the beds or search high and low for my missing glue gun I will. My kids will not believe that their underwear drawer or their backpack is some kind of scared space in which I am not allowed...

 

My problem is that the general concept our society has of privacy encompasses too much secrecy. I think personal space is important. I think you only need a place to hide things when you have something to hide.

 

The concept of privacy that is prevalent in our culture is something I find problematic in general. Not just for individual families but for our society as a whole. This is part of a general attitude we have that encourages selfishness by implying that an individual’s “right” trumps the collective’s genuine needs. Not only that, it is increasingly becoming a unicorn. Privacy in a global, urban, digital world is an unattainable goal. To teach my children that they are entitled to something that is detrimental to society and not realistically attainable would be a disservice to them.

 

ITA, ty for helping to clarify and give example of how this approach to openness within the family works in your home. Your words re social views on privacy remind me of recent discussions I've had IRL in which it was concluded by one person that our culture "worships the god of privacy."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

Privacy and secrecy aren't the same thing. An example I used many years ago, on another forum, is my sex life. I don't care if the whole world knows I have sex with husband. I didn't even care if they knew I was having sex before we got married. I don't care if they know how often we have sex, although I wouldn't usually discuss it. That doesn't mean I want them watching. It doesn't mean my desire to have the curtains and windows closed before we have sex is detrimental to society.

...

 

I've never had reason to go into my son's room, beyond putting some clean laundry on his bed (he does his own, but sometimes I have to move a load from the dryer when he's out.) If I had another reason to be in there, I'd go in there. But, if I found a locked box under his bed, or a journal, or even a sketchbook, I wouldn't open it. I have no concerns about his life, and no reason to butt into it.

 

Exactly what Rachel88 & I were pointing out-- I'd assume everyone knows married people are likely to have sex or that when someone uses the toilet, they remove some of their clothing to urinate-- it's no -secret-. But others wanting/ trying to view or participate would be an invasion of privacy. The point I think the PP was trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong) is that when people -say- "privacy" they -mean- privacy, secrecy, and prolly other things, too. Boundaries get muddled.

 

Funny, if I saw a sketchbook or journal in my DC's room, I wouldn't desire to peek, mostly bc my DC would already have proudly shared their art with me and they tell me all about their lives bc they trust me... I wouldn't expect to find new news there, LOL.

 

***

 

I don't guess I know how curious I'd be if everyone in my house went around sneaking and hiding things from each other bc that's not how we roll. (I'm not applying this to you or insinuating yours do, Storm Bride- or anyone in particular- it just seems that is how some people live & since I quoted you last, I wouldn't want you to wonder if it was a jab-- it's not.)


Edited by mum4vr - 4/24/13 at 2:57pm
post #38 of 57
There comes an age where kids want privacy. Where it's developmentally normal and even healthy. They're feeling their own way through the world and don't necessarily want everything they think and do to be up before other people for comment and criticism. And I don't think it's fair to call that privacy "secrecy" because I think it dismisses it as unnecessary and as deceitful and I don't feel that's a fair characterization.

So I try to respect desires for privacy. Does that mean I wouldn't do whatever I had to do if I thought my daughter were in serious trouble? No. I will do whatever I need to do in order to protect her. But short of that, she can have her own space and thoughts, and keep them private.
post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum4vr View Post

Exactly what Rachel88 & I were pointing out-- I'd assume everyone knows married people are likely to have sex or that when someone uses the toilet, they remove some of their clothing to urinate-- it's no -secret-. But others wanting/ trying to view or participate would be an invasion of privacy. The point I think the PP was trying to make (correct me if I'm wrong) is that when people -say- "privacy" they -mean- privacy, secrecy, and prolly other things, too. Boundaries get muddled.

 

Funny, if I saw a sketchbook or journal in my DC's room, I wouldn't desire to peek, mostly bc my DC would already have proudly shared their art with me and they tell me all about their lives bc they trust me... I wouldn't expect to find new news there, LOL.

 

DS1 has shown me all his sketchbooks many times. But, I wouldn't look through one. Maybe he's doing a nude sketch of his girlfriend or something - none of my business, yk?

 

***

 

I don't guess I know how curious I'd be if everyone in my house went around sneaking and hiding things from each other bc that's not how we roll. (I'm not applying this to you or insinuating yours do, Storm Bride- or anyone in particular- it just seems that is how some people live & since I quoted you last, I wouldn't want you to wonder if it was a jab-- it's not.)

 

I find the idea that privacy equals "sneaking and hiding things' really odd. DS1 is 20 years old. He's been in a sexual relationship for well over a year. If he's got a lockbox of love letters, or a nude sketch of his girlfriend (no - I don't really think he's done one of those, but it's a valid example, imo), they're none of my business, and I can't see any reason why he'd leave them around for others to see. He's long since reached an age where he doesn't necessarily want to share every little detail of his life and relationships with me. I'm sure his phone also contains texts involving personal information about other people (for some reason, ds1 is a popular sounding board about his friend's relationships) - that's none of my business, either. I don't want ds1 - or any of the other kids - to open "that" drawer in our bedroom, either...

post #40 of 57
Thread Starter 

I've removed a post made to this thread because it took a more directly personal turn. It's obvious that we all have very different lines and boundaries and we make decisions based on them so let's keep the discussion to general opinion with general examples and not specifically personal ones.

 

Back to my original post, maybe I can clarify what I was asking more specifically. If you notice changes in your child's behavior or maybe you noticed signs of drug use or maybe suspicion of your daughter seeing a much older man and usual conversation is not opening up any discussion that can help you push these suspicions aside, would you look into his or her personal things, communications, comings-and-goings, etc. to find out for yourself?

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