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on March 8, 2020

Data Protection by Digital Security. Retrieved from https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/data-protection-by-digital-security-hologram-vector-24030093

Should or should not parents/caregivers monitor their teen’s Internet activities? Yes, they should. An appropriate monitoring level is necessary. In 2015, Pew Research Center disclosed that in general, not many American people changed their digital behavior to avoid being tracked, but many kept engaged in more common or less technical privacy-enhancing measures. (Madden & Rainie, 2015) However, when it comes to young users such as teens, their guardians’ concerns and actions are much more active. Anderson (2016) stated in her study that: “The widespread adoption of various digital technologies by today’s teenagers has added a modern wrinkle to a universal challenge of parenthood – specifically, striking a balance between allowing independent exploration and providing an appropriate level of parental oversight.” Moreover, most parents/caregivers have been keeping an eye on their kids’ Internet use. Pew Research Center revealed the results of a study:

Roughly two-thirds (68%) of parents under 45 years of age say they have checked which websites their teen visited, compared with 53% of parents 45 and older. Younger parents are also more likely than their older counterparts to check their teen’s social media profiles (66% vs. 53%); to use parental controls or other technological means of blocking, filtering or monitoring their teen’s online activities (44% vs. 34%); and to look through their teen’s phone call records or messages (55% vs. 41%). (Anderson, 2016)

Parental monitoring is not just privacy but safety for their children because various reasons such as cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, protecting personal information, safeguard children reputation, virus and malware, and limit screen time because “the Internet called ‘a really big city with no police,’ and it’s a scary place to let your kids loose unsupervised.” (Woda, 2019). Pew Research Center (2012) also reported that parents’ concerns were their children’s interaction with strangers online, reputation management, information available to advertisers, impact on future opportunities. 

Another question is: How can parents monitor their child’s digital behavior effectively? Some are too loose, and some are too strict. Some parents provide digital devices for their kids without any checking. However, many would limit the amount of time or times of day their teen can be online, check which website their teens visit, use technology-based tools to monitor, block, filter, or track their teen. According to Duggan and Rainie (2016), “[m]any Americans say they might provide personal information, depending on the deal being offered and how much risk they face.” That is what adults’ belief and action. Most teens do not have the ability to evaluate the situations nor to be responsible for their own actions appropriately. Hence, their parents/guardians have to take steps ahead to prevent negative consequences. One of the proactive approaches is parents talking to their teens about what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable online behavior. (Anderson, 2016)

Security in the Digital World. Retrieved from  https://www.itgovernanceusa.com/shop/product/security-in-the-digital-world


Anderson, M. (2016). Parents, Teens and digital monitoring. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2016/01/07/parents-teens-and-digital-monitoring/

Madden, M., Corstesi, S., Gasser, U., Lenhart, A., & Duggan, M. (2012) Main report. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2012/11/20/main-report-10/

Madden, M. & Rainie, L. (2015). Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/

Rainie, L. & Duggan, M. (2016). Privacy and information sharing. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2016/01/14/privacy-and-information-sharing/

Woda, S. (2019, Febuary 26). 10 Reasons to monitor your child’s Internet activity [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/bid/159115/10-reasons-to-monitor-your-child-s-internet-activity


  1. Rosa Conrad says:

    Hello Nhu-y,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. It is challenging for parents to monitor their children’s activity. Parent’s also have to keep up with technology and learn how to block sites that are inappropriate. I recall when I first began learning how to use a computer and my kids began to use the computer I had to sit there and watch them. I was learning all about computers and it was a bit intimidating. I feel that some parents may feel the same way and also have the challenge of finding the time to monitor them. Some kids also know how to navigate computers more than their parents. I like the comment you made at the end regarding talking to your children about appropriate online behavior. This is something that parent’s can do.

  2. We have friends that do this – they know where their kids’ phones are at all times via an app. It has been helpful at times to keep them out of trouble. They also are teaching them how to be good citizens – digital and otherwise.

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