General Question

Tink's avatar

Why do parents check our text messages?

Asked by Tink (8668points) May 27th, 2009 from iPhone

My mom does that and she gets mad when I erase them I don’t have anything to hide but it just bugs me alot!!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

71 Answers

Dansedescygnes's avatar

My parents don’t check mine and they never have. For the most part, I think text messages are private and I don’t think parents should be looking at them. What could my parents gain by reading conversations about another kid at my school with a friend of mine? It’s just unnecessary prying. But I can understand if they suspect their child of doing something bad, dangerous, or illegal.

bythebay's avatar

Who pays for your phone?

Tink's avatar

@Dans -I’m not I’m a good girl and they know that

Tink's avatar

@bythebay -My mom I get unlimited

Ivan's avatar

@bythebay

There is a difference between what you have the authority to do and what you should do.

Tink's avatar

Yeah and while I’m doing something and I don’t have my phone and I get a message she reads it!!! and then she asks me who is——and I ask her why and she’s like because you got a message

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@bythebay

My parents paid for my laptop and my Microsoft Office software, but they don’t look at my writing and collection of stories because it’s private and it’s not something I want someone looking at.

Tink's avatar

It’s a computer and I don’t think people should avoid privacy because they bought it but in my way I think a phone is more private

Response moderated
dynamicduo's avatar

The easiest way to solve this situation is to pay for your own phone completely, though I doubt at your age this is a possibility. When you can get a job though, you should think about doing this.

As your mother is the one paying for it, it technically belongs to her so she can peek at your messages if she wants to. It’s just like when you live under her roof, you must abide by her rules. Thus, if you pay for your own phone, she has no right to access the messages at all.

The reason she would do this is because she loves her child and wants to make sure you aren’t hanging around with bad people. Although I do admit, my parents were not this nosy, but parents are a spectrum, there are super nosy ones and nonchalant ones and all the areas in between.

If you feel this is a problem, why not communicate with your mother? In a kind and respectful (and calm) tone, tell her how her actions make you feel. Something like, “Mom, it upsets me when you read my text messages, as I feel I have no privacy or that you don’t trust me.” (Of course, say what you actually mean.) This is a very mature way to resolve your problems, and this is far more effective and successful than any approaches I took when I was your age.

arturodiaz's avatar

Put a password on it. It is a complete invation to your privacy. Even if she payed for the cell phone, the information produced by you is only yours. You don’t have to share it to anyone. If she wants to know something she should ask you. That is very inmature from her.

cak's avatar

@arturodiaz – As a parent, if my child did that to keep me from gaining access to their text messages, I would cut off service to that phone. Believe me, I would have no problem paying the penalty fee.

@Tink1113 – As a parent, my daughter (15, my son is too young to factor into this) understands that I pay for the service, technically it is mine – as is the computer service. As a minor, living in my house, I have the right to view anything that is on the phone or computer, written or received by my teenager.

I don’t check things without cause, I do trust that my daughter makes wise decisions; however, if given reason, I will check, but I don’t hide the fact that I do check. My daughter understands the rules and is given a pretty broad range to operate in. If I felt it was a safety issue, I wouldn’t hesitate to read what was going on.

dynamicduo is right, act mature about it, discuss this – without attitude – with your mom. As why she feels the need to read your text messages. Listen to her and calmly discuss this with her.

What I think some teenagers don’t understand, parents aren’t here to be your friends, we’re something more important than your friend. We are a parent. We are responsible for your welfare – on all levels. We’ll be your friend later in life, right now, we’re focused on keeping you safe, helping you stay on the right track in life and getting you to adulthood! We love you and you will not always like our decisions. We know that you will be angry, we still love you, though.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@cak

I think plenty of teenagers understand that, but there is a line some parents cross. Of course the way you’re describing how you go about it sounds perfectly fine and of course parents are there to protect their children but parents are not flawless and some of them simply are overprotective or smothering and that is not a good thing.

cak's avatar

@Dansedescygnes – Of course parents make mistakes, we’re human. There’s no set of instructions that come along with a baby. Sure, there are plenty of books – all written by fallible humans.

Yes, some can be overprotective and outside of trying to discuss it, I don’t know the answer to solving that problem. At times, I have been overprotective, but I am much better now. It’s hard to be a parent. It’s hard to know when to let go and understand that we must let go. In fact, at times, it downright sucks.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@cak

Well, I plan on being parent someday, so I guess I get to look forward to that. :P

And this is why I wish I could get my mom on here; she would have so much to contribute.

Tink's avatar

@arturodiaz – I tried that and it didn’t work she made me take it of and I suppose the only person she wants me text is her

casheroo's avatar

I’ve never really quite understood why a parent feels that they own something they paid for, that they gave to their child. Then again, I am a parent of a young child now, and I am starting to agree with the parents of teenagers.
I was a teenager, even past 20, my parents paid for my cell phone. My mother felt she had every right to dictate what I did with it. Just as she felt she had a right to know what was going on in my life, since I was living under her roof. Understandable, but frustrating.
Maybe try to pay for it yourself. Or, talk to your mother. Ask her what she is concerned about, be mature about it, try to remain calm. Let her know you feel she is invading your privacy. Setting a password will just piss her off, and will ruin what could be a great bonding experience between the two of you, when you have a conversation about it.

Tink's avatar

I plan on talking to her when she does it again andshe is overprotective

cak's avatar

@Dansedescygnes – You’ll understand, when you are a parent, that sometimes, it’s hard knowing the right thing to do. I really try to remember what it was like to be my daughter’s age and take everything with a huge grain of salt. I think before I react and then we discuss things.

you’ll be a good parent – and you’ll understand! ;)

Tink's avatar

So do you guys check your teenagers messages?

Likeradar's avatar

I don’t have kids, and I mostly support reasonable privacy for all people. However, “I’m not I’m a good girl and they know that,” to quote you. If you were my kid and I knew or had strong reason to suspect you were doing things that could be dangerous to yourself or others, you bet your ass I’d read your text messages. Actually, you might not even have a phone at all.

Tink's avatar

How old are you?

Likeradar's avatar

@Likeradar 29. And I very much remember invasions of privacy when I was a not so well behaved teenager (back in the olden days before text messages). They pissed me off to no end at the time, but in retrospect, my parents were 100% in the right.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

But hasn’t @Tink1113 been saying that her mom doesn’t have any reason to suspect her of doing anything wrong but still insists on reading all her text messages?

Likeradar's avatar

@Dansedescygnes @Tink1113 Oh shit, I’m sorry. I thought you wrote “I’m not a good girl and they know that,” but that’s not what you said. My bad. :)

Tink's avatar

It’s ok :)

tinyfaery's avatar

This “I own it” idea is bullshit. So you hold your kids hostage to your every whim because you pay for their food, clothing, shelter, and incidentals? You had the kid. You knew what it meant. I find it disgusting the way some parents think that they can take away “privileges”, like a roof to live under, if their child, an individual, a human being, doesn’t do as they please. Now THAT is child abuse.

@Tink1113 Ask your mom to respect your privacy. Give her examples of your maturity and good decision making. Remind her that she knows you are a “good girl”. Parents are notorious for disrespecting boundaries; she might never stop snooping. Tip from a former “bad girl” (who never got caught): make up a code, and remember, if you don’t want it known, DO NOT write it down, or tell other people.

Tink's avatar

I should make a code :)
But my parents never gave me the “under my roof” shit (yet)

DarkScribe's avatar

Every day, all over the world there are parents who have cause to say “If only I had checked his/her text messages this wouldn’t have happened.”

You aren’t going to change this, it is simply an extension of parental responsibility when they have a child who has proved to be in some manner, at some stage, irresponsible.

It is possible nowadays to have a phone modified so that every text sent or call made is copied and forwarded to another phone. That is becoming more popular, both for parents and spouses/partners. It is only possible with “Smart Phones”.

Tink's avatar

I have never been irresponsible

tinyfaery's avatar

@Darkscribe That is a misconception of having control. What if’s are useless. People, no matter the age, should be treated with respect; privacy is a fundamental right.

Ivan's avatar

@DarkScribe The same people could just as easily say “If I had only handcuffed myself to my daughter and never let her leave my side ever, this would never have happened.”

DarkScribe's avatar

@tinyfaery I disagree. I have never had occasion to mistrust my children, but have experienced many instances with others who have every reason to distrust their children. Privacy is not a right for a child, parental influence, control and guidance is. Once they are adult, then they have the right to screw their lives up.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Ivan <The same people could just as easily say “If I had only handcuffed myself to my
> daughter and never let her leave my side ever, this would never have happened.”

Why only daughters?

Yes, some people could say that and some of them would be right.

tinyfaery's avatar

@DarkScribe Again. The myth of control.

oratio's avatar

@DarkScribe So that they don’t meet boys like her dad.

Likeradar's avatar

I just realized I @-ed myself. I’m on a roll…

Darwin's avatar

As a mom I generally trust my daughter to have a level head on her shoulders, but if I noticed a drastic change in her behavior that she refused to talk about, I might check things such as her texts and emails. Because I set up our various systems, and I am the “help desk,” I have everyone’s passwords (and they know that). However, my daughter knows I won’t use them unless they give me cause for concern or I have to fix their computers or reprogram their phones. She also friended me on myspace and Facebook so I sometimes take a look at her wall, just as she sometimes looks at mine.

My son is a different story, and he no longer has a phone unless he pays for it himself.

Technically, if a minor child gets involved in something dangerous or illegal, that child’s guardian (typically a parent) is responsible for whatever mess they get themselves into. Hence, parents do have the legal right to keep tabs on what the kids are up to, not just because they are paying for the internet and the phone, but because they have a duty to keep their kids safe.

However, if you show good faith by sharing some things with your parents so they know you are doing fine, they will probably return the gesture and not “snoop.”

lisaj89's avatar

Just look at if from your parents’ perspective. If you had a kid and found out they were into, say, drugs. Wouldn’t you want to take control of the situation before it got out of hand and have to send your kid to rehab, or possibly watch them slowly kill them self as they get older? Any normal person would answer yes to this question. Even though you are a good kid your parents still worry about you. They have no way of knowing you wouldn’t do anything for them to worry about, so they must take all preventative measures they believe are necessary. If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the big deal?

SuperMouse's avatar

My kids still haven’t reached cell phone age, but when they do I will most certainly reserve the right to inspect any and all text messages. Will I do it without cause? Probably not. But I do think it is important for the teen to know that there are boundaries and someone can check up on her. I recently heard of a middle school student who was sending naked pictures of herself via text message, if she knew mom might be checking up on her, maybe she would have made a better choice.

Parents check text messages because it is their responsibility to keep their children safe, help guide them, and keep them on the right path. There is no denying that teens can make some interesting choices and parents need to be aware of that and keep an eye on their kids. Watching their texts is part of doing so.

ratboy's avatar

They only want to be sure that you’re using good grammar and not misspelling anything.

Likeradar's avatar

@Tink1113 How does she do this? Is it like every day you have to hand over your phone, or does she just browse when you leave it lying around?

Darwin's avatar

@ratboy – Tell me, how does one have good grammar and spelling while texting?

Tink's avatar

It just bugs me because she gets very nosy at times and yes I understand what everyone said about the caring but when you were a teen and maybe you still are didn’t you want privacy at some time? I do talk to her about alot of things sometimes but I think I should tell her not by finding out the other way.

ratboy's avatar

@Darwin your parents have obviously failed you.

Tink's avatar

@Likeradar – She gets it when I’m not there. Like one time I was in the shower and when I came out she asked me who’s Stephanie and I was like my friend why and she said because she just texted you and she also wants to know why she texted me and for what

Darwin's avatar

@ratboy – They didn’t have texting when I had parents. Our big excitement was color TV and transistor radios.

lisaj89's avatar

It can be very annoying. My mom never really checked my phone by if she saw it going off and she was next to me she would ask who different people are. Especially guys!! It didn’t happen often that she would see it, but if it were a guy she would say… Ohhh who’s Brian, do you like him? Every guy I talked to I “liked” according to my mother. We all like our privacy, but as long as she’s not asking you for your phone or snooping through your email or anything, I would just let her think she’s doing her job as parent.

Tink's avatar

@lisaj89 – she’s like that too about the guy thing that’s why I don’t put my guy friends numbers in my phone I just write them down or memorize them

arturodiaz's avatar

@Tink1113 I still think your mother is being very inmature for checking your messages without any reason. She should talk to you and tell why she does that. My parents used to take my cellphone when I did something wrong, usually forget house chores. I become really annoyed about that, but they were right. It was their cellphone so I worked last summer a couple months fixing computers and bought myself an iPhone :). I live in Mexico so it is more difficult for me to find a job, but there are plenty fast food restaurants where im sure they can hire you. Though im not sure how old are you. Maybe you could start a small business of your own this summer vacations ;).

To all parents in fluther who think reading your kid’s messages is right. Just remember they are intelligent human beings too. They deserve to be respected and if you can not trust them with their use of the cell phone you should not have bought them one in the first place. And there are also many other ways teenagers can find to do all kinds of dangerous things. Information at this point of history cannot be filtered, dont try to do it. It is a lost of time. If they know you check their cellphone they will use another method to do what they want to do. The best way to keep them out of danger is education. Talk with them, love them and take care of them. Dont spy them, you should be a guide in their life, not a policeman.

Parents, be the stake that guides the tree. Not the gardener that cuts the three preventing it from becoming the largest and tallest of all trees.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’d venture a guess that the more information you volunteer, the less likely more mom will be snooping.

arturodiaz's avatar

@PandoraBoxx that has not work for me really. Giving information is not the solution. The more independence and maturity you show the more they will respect you and your privacy.

cyn's avatar

because they love your life so much
they want to be a part of it
:)

Tink's avatar

@arturodiaz -Im 14 so I can’t get a job yet

arturodiaz's avatar

@Tink1113 what is the minimum working age for kids in the US? Where I live is 14.

Tink's avatar

I think it’s 15 or 16

Tink's avatar

What part of Mexico do you live in?

arturodiaz's avatar

I live in Sonora, to the north, just below Arizona. Here in Mexico labour law is enforced in all the country, not by state. Is in our constitution.

cyn's avatar

de qual parte de sonora?
sorry if i spelled “qual” wrong
:)

cyn's avatar

i live in Arizona

arturodiaz's avatar

@cyndihugs it is written “Cual” :). In Hermosillo is your house ^_^

cyn's avatar

awww
^_^
yo vivo en yuma
mi casa es tu casa :)))

dynamicduo's avatar

I do remember back to when I was a teenager, it wasn’t very long ago. As I said, my parents were much more permissive of my privacy, and I really appreciated that. I know many people who had nosy parents, and the friend would usually be upset at this breach of privacy.

The only way you can gain more privacy is to talk with your mom and ask for it. Communication, this is how mature adults solve problems, so if you can solve your problem through communication (and again, level headed communication, no screaming, no blaming, etc), you will appear much more mature than your age and would increase the chances of your mother giving you more privacy.

But the case may simply be that your mother is a snoopy person and won’t stop no matter how nicely you ask. In which case, you will have to try and push your boundaries until they fit what you like. You can always do nothing, but this would only make the problem worse in the long run. Which is why I said, if you can tough it out for two years and get a job, you will be able to buy and pay for your own cell phone and contract, and thus your mother has no right to read the messages on your phone. Of course, if she’s a nosy person, this probably won’t stop her, so keep your phone on you or hidden where she can’t find it.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Sometimes it’s not you, but your choice of friends that is a motivator for parents to snoop.

SilverFang77's avatar

If you’re not hung up on having the fanciest of phones, go to your local Radioshack and buy a prepaid phone. You only have to be 13 to activate it. You put money into the account through phone cards and as long as you don’t use up all the money, you can text message.

Tink's avatar

I already have a fancy phone and it’s a contract I just got it February

arturodiaz's avatar

@Tink1113 I value my freedom more than anything else. I much rather not send some messages and reduce my call time if that is whats required to protect my privacy.

Tink's avatar

I don’t like talking on the phone at all I just text message, calling for me is just in case of an emergency

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