Home monitoring can be a slippery slope for many parents. Chances are, your kids will probably not be too in favor if you decide to monitor them. They will probably ask you why you are deciding to do this and may say that you don’t trust them. It’s not that you don’t trust your kids, it is just that you know that the dangers of the internet and mobile devices stretch far and wide. Getting them on board with phone monitoring may be tough, and it is essential to first build trust with them to complete that process.

Why Monitor?

All of us want the best for our kids, both in their real and digital lives. Since over 88% of US kids have access to a phone, monitoring is a decision that almost all parents will have to face . One of the biggest reasons to monitor their phones is to make sure they are not exposed to inappropriate content. 20% of kids will be asked for unwanted sexual solicitation on the internet, and there are around 750,000 predators online daily. Besides online predators, kids can easily get hurt by their peers as well. An innocent text or picture can hurt or offend anyone, and sharing these with the wrong people can easily lead to cyberbullying. About 43% of kids have been cyberbullied, and phones are the main cause of this.

Cyberbullying can lead to a vicious cycle, as 87% of kids have admitted to being mean to someone else online. Monitoring is also not just to protect our kids from outside threats-- it can be to protect themselves. 31% of colleges check their applicants’ social media accounts, and 12% of applicants were rejected just because of them. Monitoring can keep kids safe, and it is something all parents should consider.

Have an Open and Honest Conversation
The only way that your kids will accept being monitored is if you give them your rationale for it. This will require you to be completely honest with them, such as you telling them some of the realities that come with having a phone.

It is also your parental responsibility to keep them safe until the age of 18, and seeing who and what they are texting can definitely fall under this bucket. Also, it is vital for kids to learn about digital citizenship so they do not accidentally become a cyber bully. Tell them things like to not say anything online they would not say in real life, to not post something they may regret later, and not share anything about anyone else without their permission first. All of this should be a part of your conversation, as it is important to establish rules and guidelines about their phones.

Start Monitoring Early

Chances are, a 16 year old teenager will reject your request to monitor them. It is not that they don’t love you, it’s just that they want their privacy. This the reason to start monitoring early. For kids who are younger, they will get their first phone between the age of 10-12 on average. Setting goals and boundaries when they first get their device is the optimal time to start phone monitoring. You will have to build trust and tell them why you are monitoring them, and it is easier to get them on board at an earlier age. Most importantly, do not forget to ask for their opinion. After all, they are the ones who are being monitored. Listen to them and be up front about monitoring, and never sneak behind their backs.

Author's Bio: 

KidGuard is a technology services company that provides information & tools for parents to keep their kids safe online.

The KidGuard Phone Monitoring service is a cell phone tracking software provided to parents to "spy" on their kids text messages, monitor gps location, track phone logs, chats, allowing the parent to stay on top of issues such as cyberbullying, online predators, teen depression, and other risks to their children arising from the internet.