The Fine Line between Monitoring and Snooping

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It is not common for parents to snoop on their kids through use of a stealth monitoring software like Stealthmate. The excuse that they give is that they’re simply watching over their young ones. There really isn’t any logic in hiding this from the kids. What if someone spies on you, reads your private text messages, checks your email, or goes through your Facebook conversations? Of course, you won’t put up with it. And yet, you may be guilty of doing the very same thing with your kids.

Monitoring and Snooping Isn’t the Same

Snooping is mostly confused with monitoring when there is actually a significant difference between the two. Monitoring basically relates to keeping an eye on kids’ activities with the intention of keeping them safe and disciplined. Snooping, on the other hand, is checking the possessions of others furtively just to get any information deemed private. The main difference between monitoring and snooping on kids is that monitoring is done to make sure everything is okay at their end, and kids mostly know about it, whereas snooping is mostly done secretly, and kids are kept in the dark about it.

The purpose of snooping is to find out something which kids may not want to reveal to their parents. Monitoring turns to snooping when parents misuse their power to know about the private life of kids, which may not have anything to do with their safety. Other differences between the two include the manner or method through which they are carried out, and the intention behind doing such a thing. If you are checking the text messages of your kid for the sake of his safety, then it is monitoring but if you are seeing it out of curiosity in order to know what he talked about, then it is snooping. Here are just some of the activities that qualify as snooping:

  • Checking the browsing history of kids secretly,
  • Reading texts and Skype chat,
  • Checking the profile, friend list and messages on different social media accounts,
  • Checking call logs.

Now, all the above mentioned activities come under monitoring if the kids were informed about it beforehand, and if they are solely done for the purpose of ensuring their security. However, if you are doing them secretly just to know what they are up to and you never want your kid to know about it, then it you are definitely snooping on them.

Why Snooping on Kids is Never a Good Idea

Snooping is similar to violating the basic privacy rights of kids, as you get access to their private information, even if it is for the sake of their own safety. BullGuard, an internet security firm, conducted a study on snooping and monitoring. This study being done on 1,000 parents with kids under the age of 17 revealed some shocking facts. According to the statistics mentioned, every six out of 10 people read the messages, emails and Facebook chat of their kids without letting them know, and every one of them go far behind by managing to know the password of their kids’ account. Three out of 10 participants in the study confessed that they were feeling guilty for snooping and that they never want their kids to know about this, as it will break their trust and credibility. The dilemma here is that most of the parents do snooping out of curiosity not just for control purposes. They want to know what their kids are up to, what they do, what they talk about with friends etc. and sometimes they even break the limit just to get the information they want. Snooping is good only if you think that your kid is in extreme danger and needs your help. Snooping kids is not a good idea because:

  • Kids have their own privacy
  • You will lose trust if kids ever know about it
  • It’s unethical

A Friendly Advice to Parents

Monitoring a kid is necessary for keeping him safe, but snooping is never recommended. Parents should take kids into confidence before monitoring their online activities, text chats and calls. Parents should only read full conversations when they sense that there is something wrong. If the kid is talking about routine things, then parents must stop reading the conversation right away. One last thing, your kid may never know that you have access to his private information, but do you think you will live with this fact without feeling guilty? The answer is probably no.

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