Snooping to snoop is an invasion of privacy, at least it is to me. Snooping for safety reasons is completely different. But there is a fine line.
Yesterday I put up a post from a guest writer about children and cyberbullying. This post is in no way meant to impugn her writing or ideas, it was just a post that got me thinking...how far is too far?
As a parent, I afford my children a lot of privacy. I don't snoop through their notes (well, with the older two I didn't, these days I'm not sure kids write notes anymore, they text instead). I don't read through their texts. And though there are parental controls on the computer they use, I don't go through the history to see what has been accessed. Their computer is in a central location of the house, I see 99% of what they're doing on it anyway.
That being said, IF there were a problem, such as cyberbullying, like the post yesterday was about, I would not have a problem taking a look at what was going on to help assess the seriousness of the problem. In fact, if there were any problem (that warranted parental guidance), it would be instinct to step right in, and I would have no qualms about it. I've done that before too.
But I do everything on the up and up. If I were to give them a cell phone with a tracking device installed, or put into place, I would tell them it was in there, and explain to them why. In fact, the tracking device seems like a great idea to me for safety reasons.
If that program also recorded every single thing they did on their portable device, I would let them know up front that it was in there too. Why? Because every single transaction that takes place between me and my children is important to me. When they grow up and look back, I want them to know they were respected and valued at all times, even when there were moments that were challenging.
I have two grown boys, and am no stranger to having to step in on an issue and put a stop to it. One of my boys went through a period where he thought drinking underage might be fun to try. His friend slipped him a bottle of Jack Daniels to hide in the house, I found it and dumped it, giving him the empty bottle and letting him know it wasn't acceptable and why. To me, hunting for that bottle was not snooping, my instincts told me there was something to be found, and the mom in me was doing it for the right reasons. I use that example to show I have absolutely gone through my older children's things at one point, but not in a way that was surprising, or just for snooping.
The issue of going through your child's things is controversial. Some people adamantly declare that it's their child and they'll do whatever they want.
Others are less invasive and have declared boundaries.
Some parents are not invasive enough (too complacent) with checking into things if they need to.
For me it boils down to knowing my child, and hearing the clues when something needs a little extra attention. Some say I am too lax, but I don't think so. If it feels right, that's what is important to me.