General Question

mrsgodzilla's avatar

Is it morally OK to secretly monitor your spouse's computer use?

Asked by mrsgodzilla (15points) April 22nd, 2009

There are many methods available to observe and control a remote computer. Most people say it is OK to watch your kids’ use for safety sake. But what about a husband or wife who has no idea he or she is being watched. Is it OK? Why or why not.

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19 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

That’s obviously dishonest and not morally ok. If you can’t trust your partner’s computer use then there are issues that need to be dealt with beyond the question of big brothering.

casheroo's avatar

I know of women who have a nanny sort of thing, on their internet because of their husbands “porn addiction”. I think that’s incredibly weird, and wrong on many levels.
If you can’t trust your partner, then you have major issues to work out. No one should ever be invading someone’s privacy like that.

Amoebic's avatar

No, absolutely not okay. That’s a huge violation of trust. As NaturalMineralWater mentioned, doing such a thing is symptomatic of bigger problems in the relationship that need to be addressed.

richardhenry's avatar

You might choose to monitor a child to protect them from things they’re not old enough to see, or people who want to screw with them. The only reason you could possibly need to monitor your spouse is because you want to spy on them.

dynamicduo's avatar

Absolutely completely not. This is a breach of trust. One is entitled to privacy and this includes what one views on their computer during their time. A spouse has zero right to spy on the other partner, end of sentence. If I found out my partner was doing this, it would be the end of the relationship, period. I would also expect the same reaction from my partner.

oratio's avatar

I don’t think it’s ok to monitor a spouse or even the children but that’s not the discussion.

A relationship is about trust. If you feel you don’t trust your spouse then monitoring will only make that problem worse, cause then you have accepted that situation. If your spouse has done something worth of loosing that trust, lying or deceiving you, I think talking about it is what you have to do. A relationship must be about honesty and openness. That doesn’t mean you have to share everything. I believe you need to have some private things.

Monitoring your spouse might feel like one way of relieve yourself from whatever you suspect him/her for and give you the answers without that person knowing you lost your trust in that person. That is deceiving your partner and that is committing more or less the same thing you suspect that person for.

When would you stop monitoring your partner? When are you satisfied with not finding something awful? In a week, month, year? Or will you stop when that person finds out? What happens when you find out your spouse has an internet friend that for a while is a vent, and sometimes talk about very personal things you don’t?

You might create a problem that didn’t exist before. And sometimes you make mistakes that you realize are mistakes, which could be blown out of proportions by being spied on.

I don’t think you should ever do something your spouse wouldn’t approve of. If your spouse feels the same way, you share a common respect for each other.

cookieman's avatar

No – and if you’re considering it, I think you may have bigger fish to fry.

Adina1968's avatar

A big NO. If you are considering doing this then consider this a red flag that somthing is seriously wrong with your marriage. You should never have to “spy” on your spouse. If you don’t trust your spouse then you need to sit down and have a talk with him or her and have a discussion about your feelings and concerns. If this is something that can not be resolved between the two of you then perhaps you may need to seek marriage counseling. “Spying” is never acceptable. It is a violation of your spouses violation of your spouses violation of your spouses trust and privacy.

EmpressPixie's avatar

No, no, no. Wrong. Is it interesting? Of course! Is it tempting? Probably. Is it right? Absolutely, positively, and without a doubt no. It’s on the same level as reading their mail or journal.

ratboy's avatar

Yes. I even monitor her boyfriend’s computer to ensure that he isn’t cheating on her.

cookieman's avatar

@ratboy: I’m confused. Who’s boyfriend’s computer do you monitor?

pronoun confusion

ratboy's avatar

@cprevite: my wife’s boyfriend.

jca's avatar

everyone says no, and no is the morally correct thing to do. however, what if (just a big what if) the person monitors and finds something out, like a secret relationship? they might never have known or not known for a long time, that this was going on. so it does bring out trust issues, and it may be wrong, but what if that’s the only way this person could find out something’s going on? it might find out something’s going on. then what? then it’s good to know.

arnbev959's avatar

@jca Just because the one partner was dishonest doesn’t make the dishonesty that lead to the other partner finding about it out any less dishonest.

tiffyandthewall's avatar


i think pete’s response translates to: just because the one partner did something wrong (whatever they’re doing online), doesn’t make it right to do something wrong (spying on them) to discover that the other partner is doing something wrong in the first place (whatever they’re doing online). the partner spying is still not any less dishonest than the other partner doing something dishonest online. :p

Strauss's avatar

@tiffyandthewall @petethepothead In other words, the end would not justify the means? I agree with that. I think any kind of spying (internet, private investigator, friend of a friend of a friend) indicates serious trust issues.

jca's avatar

i agree that there would be trust issues. if it were me i would give my partner the passwords and tell them check any time they want, if it makes them feel better.

what of the people who do check and find something bad out? it then is a good thing they checked, no?

mrsgodzilla's avatar

I have been here for an hour. I wrote my response to this question carefully. And, although it was lengthy, it would’ve given people additional food for thought. I lost my post suddenly and still dodn’t know what happened.
I will first tell you that I would never, under any circumstances, monitor anyone’s computer use without telling them about it ahead of time. Telling employees that there is software installed that takes shapshots of their screen is enough of a deterrent I think. Personal computing usage can interfere with work so the goal ought to be to make clear policy guidelines. I believe in prevention, too. I’ve seen it work well. You are setting people up to succeed and are shifting the burden of compliance onto the employees with plenty of warning in place. Bear in mind that in California, employers are within their rights to monitor employees without telling them about it. But that can cause a lessening of respect and a deepening of suspicion between employee and employer.
As for kids, why not give them the same consideration? They deserve to be told. too. I doubt you’d find very many people who like to be watched without their knowledge and/or consent. If anyone thinks that spying on a spouse for whatever reason is justifiable, I disagree. Yes, of course it would be nice to know if your partner has strayed, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Spying is a violation of basic privacy rights.
My rights have been trampled on for upwards of 2 years. Yes, by my husband. But I am not 100% certain that it is him. I know it has been going on and each time I discover something, it is on to the next method. He thinks I will never be sure since he is so clever at covering his tracks.

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