5 Reasons Why You Should Not Use TeenSafe.
There are countless reasons why a parent should use TeenSafe. If you are concerned about who your child is talking to online, what apps she is downloading, or what websites she is visiting, for example, TeenSafe can help you be a better and more supportive parent.
However, not every parent uses TeenSafe to it’s full potential and some parents even use TeenSafe for the wrong reasons.
Parents should never use TeenSafe to spy on their children. Spying ruins relationships and doesn’t lend much room for trust to be built on either side. It’s important that parents are honest with their child about monitoring. Otherwise, you are setting yourself and your child up for failure. If there is not clear communication about what is expected for their online behavior–then you are not raising them to be more responsible.
2. Using It Without Teaching Kids Digital Responsibility
It’s up to parents to teach their kids how they should behave online. For example, kids may not understand how dangerous it is to post private information online, communicate with strangers, or share their passwords with friends. TeenSafe can help you identify some of these risky behaviors, but then the ball is in your court. You shouldn’t use TeenSafe if you are not prepared to have conversations with your child about what you saw online.
Let’s say you see a text message where your child shares his username and password with a friend. TeenSafe has given you the valuable opportunity to teach your child a lesson about privacy—so don’t let it slip away. Use this as a way to start a conversation with your child about digital privacy so he understands the potential risks of sharing too much.
If you are using TeenSafe without teaching your children about digital responsibility, you’re not making the most out of this tool.
3. Finding Out What Your Kids Say About You
Have you and your child recently gotten into a fight? If she stormed off to her bedroom and slammed the door behind her, you may be curious as to what you did to set her off or why she got so angry.
But, you should not log into TeenSafe to see if she has texted any of her friends to talk about the fight. Both kids and adults tend to say things that they don’t mean when they’re angry, so if you were to read your child’s texts immediately following a fight, you may not be happy with what she has to say about you. Let her have space and vent to a trusted friend after an argument instead of reading her texts to find out what she is saying about you.
4. Using It Without Fighting Cyberbullies
It’s estimated that over half of teens and preteens have been cyberbullied online, but parents may have no idea that this is going on. In fact, only 1 in 10 cyberbully victims tell their parents about what they have experienced. Many parents use TeenSafe to look for signs that their child is being cyberbullied. For example, parents may read through text messages or messages sent through social media apps to see if anyone is harassing their child. But, you should not use TeenSafe unless you are ready and willing to take action to stop cyberbullying if you find that your child is being victimized.
Kids who are cyberbullied often suffer from depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. If you are monitoring your child’s digital activity and find that she is being cyberbullied, it’s important that you step in and help her, otherwise there is no point in using TeenSafe. Help your child document every incident, block the cyberbully online, and report the behavior to her school. Then, talk to your child about her feelings. Let your child know that cyberbullying is a reflection on the bully’s character, not on hers. Make sure your child understands that you are always around and willing to listen if she needs to talk. Being able to spot cyberbullying is one of the many advantages of TeenSafe, so don’t let this opportunity slip away.
5. Avoiding Real Connections
TeenSafe allows parents to see a lot of information, including a complete history of websites their children has visited, apps they’ve downloaded, and messages they’ve sent and received. By looking through all of this information, you can learn a lot about your child, but this shouldn’t be how you get to know your child better. Don’t use TeenSafe to learn what your child’s favorite sports teams are, what class he enjoys the most in school, and what funny videos he likes to watch on YouTube. You should learn about these things by engaging in face-to-face conversations with your child instead of relying on an app.
No matter how packed your schedule is, it’s important to find time to talk to your child everyday. It may be difficult to communicate with your child—especially if he is a teenager—but you need to make an effort to do so anyways. Some children love to talk to their parents, while others are more reserved. Either way, communicate with your children on a regular basis so you can stay involved with their lives, learn about their likes and dislikes, and let them know that you are always there for them. Learning about your child by engaging in conversation with him will lead to a much healthier relationship than learning about him by monitoring his digital activity.
TeenSafe is a powerful tool—parents just need to learn how to use it appropriately! As long as you are not using it for one of the reasons mentioned above, TeenSafe can help you protect your child both online and offline.