Teens are always complaining about needing their privacy. They suddenly can’t be seen naked by their parents (or worse yet, they parade around showing off their newly developed bodies), and their bedroom door is ALWAYS closed, often forcefully. I agree that they need a certain amount of privacy, and when it comes to anyone outside of the immediate family (family meaning parents), privacy is a serious and respected right. BUT, as a parent, I will gladly violate my daughter’s privacy when need be, and here’s why.
My daughter is a good kid. I can trust, for the most part, that she is where she says she is. I don’t worry about her hiding behind buildings kissing boys or going off and trying drugs, or anything that may be harmful to her. I do worry about her naivete. She has been combative and depressed for a couple of days, her grades are dropping, and she has been spending an awful lot of time with her friend from school she refers to as her sister.
When I realized she left her cell phone at home, I made a point to take a while and go through each and every text from each and every person. I now know who she has a crush on, and that he called her sweetie. I know that she has never kissed anyone, but that she saw her brother ‘doing some girl’ and that ‘it was disgusting’. Knowing that bothers me, and it’s something we need to have a talk about. I can’t believe no one told me so that I could address it right away. In the past, I had found texts between her and a high schooler. They had never met. He was just a friend of her friend, blah, blah, blah. I believe her, and I told her to promptly stop texting him and that he only answers for one reason. Then, I deleted his phone number from her phone.
This time, I found texts from a random person she seems to have ‘met’ on a game where you play against others online. AND, she friended him on Facebook. His name started with Large or Mammoth, or something to that effect. I checked her Facebook, and there he was, a full grown man from Quebec. Or so it said. Who knows? I couldn’t see any pics but his profile and many, many puppies. I promptly emailed him, letting him know that since he didn’t know my daughter, and that she is a minor, that he should promptly stop texting her, unfriend her on Facebook, and delete her number from his phone. I thanked him for his cooperation. His answer was ‘OK’. I have his name and phone number if need be, but I think I stopped that one. When I spoke with my daughter, I made it clear that he now knew where she goes to school, what she looks like, and all of her friends. He knew my name, since I am listed as her mom, and I would be uber easy to track down, since I am a pharmacist. Nobody got in trouble, nobody got hurt, and I was able to both ease my mind about certain concerns and teach my daughter about internet safety, yet again.
As a concerned parent, and the sole person responsible for my daughter while she is under my care, it is my job to intervene when need be. I own that phone, and I can check it. And I can choose to take it away. And that’s OKAY, because what matters most is my daughter’s safety and wellbeing, not whether her feelings get hurt because I know who she has a crush on.