Spying on your kids online vs. Holding them accountable – Highlights from the Today Show

Yesterday on the Today Show the subject was monitoring your child’s online activity. How far should you go? When is your child’s privacy a concern? When is their safety a greater concern?

Of course, parents are divided over these questions. On one hand, some parents think monitoring software is far too intrusive and communicates distrust and disrespect. On the other hand, some parents are more concerned about the dangers and temptation their child could encounter online. They want to be the first line of defense.


Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Secretive and risky online behavior is common. 54% of teens admit to engaging in risky online behavior, and 40% said they have given out personal information online, even though they thought they shouldn’t.
  • Spying vs. Holding Accountable. Donna Rice Hughes (president of Enough is Enough) said parents need to use the tools that are available, like monitoring software, but parents should let their kids know why. Michelle Borba, Today Show contributor, echoed the same idea: it isn’t “spying” on your kids when you have communicated upfront what you are doing and why. Hughes recommends parents lay down the rules, monitor their kids’ activity, and if they break the rules, shrink their online privileges until they show they can be accountable.
  • Good Communication + Technical Tools = Safety. One police chief says, “Software isn’t going to solve everything. Communication isn’t going to resolve everything. Put the two together in a family environment with a good support group, and we think you’ll raise successful children.”
  • Use real world examples to teach. Educate yourself about specific instances where children have fallen into trouble because of risky online behavior. Use these examples to talk to your kids about appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

For more information:

  • Watch our free online safety seminar. Learn about the dangers kids are facing online and how parents can be first line of defense.
  • Read our own interview with Donna Rice Hughes on our Facebook page. About a week ago we asked Donna, “How can you talk to your teens about what kind of pictures they should (and should not) post online?” Read her answer on the Covenant Eyes Facebook page.