Am I the only parent monitoring my 14 year old?

Sorry for the typo o’s

Hey Donny and Brenda,
Great point and well said…I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers here. Everyone’s kids are different and need different approaches. Our (@fortsafety) internet safety hacks are based on mentoring our kids for a lifetime of responsible online habits - not just as teens.

As you mentioned, our kids do eventually become 18 (like my kid just did) and they go off to college (like my kid just did) where they are exposed to the most fringe sexual content/practices online by fellow students (like my kid just did). We hope that they will make the right decisions and be able to stand up for themselves (like my kid just did). As my son got older I let out the “monitoring leash” a little at a time, while also allowing him to question what I was looking at and saying online. This practice resulted in some incredible discussions with his parents. In other words, the entire family was accountable to each other for their internet use and it didn’t make my son feel like he was being criminalized without committing the crime. In fact, this practice allowed him to gain confidence in his character and choices - and isn’t that what we all want as parents?

Just food for thought. Again, no right or wrong answers here. @bark is a great tool to foster those family conversations and to open up doors of communication that might otherwise be sealed off to parents.

My son is 14 and I am doing the same thing. I don’t care what any teacher says it’s not too much and they don’t run my home. I agree these days you cannot be too careful. If it were me I would be having a conversation with the school about the teacher telling my child what is too much…

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I monitor my 13 yr old I’m glad I do now, I won’t allow Snapchat and such, reason being is I found out her lying about her age sending photos, conversations inappropriate. She said it wasn’t true wasn’t her, but I get the notifications and she lost her phone until after break. But they know I’m not playing games anymore

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I am an older parent with 3 adult
Children in their 30’s and 2 adopted children 12 and 14. My mind, what is left of it, is completely blown away by the things I am seeing kids do! I am using ourpact to monitor mobile devices, Bark to read all the text and when they are at home I also cut the WiFi using Xfinity. I seem to be the only parent watching closely

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We monitor our 12 year old with Bark and 360. It’s hovering if your spending all your time on it. We spot check it every week and address any issues we see. She is aware we monitor so she is mindful of what she sends as well which means we have to monitor less. What if your boss never checked your work? Gotta at least check it.

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I almost cried reading all of your responses. I thought I was the only one. My youngest daughter was exposed to porn and disturbing content online on other people’s (non-monitored) devices when she was about 7. She is now 10 and has legitimate fears and anxiety because of it. Because of that experience, she is not interested.

My oldest daughter is now almost 14 and I held out as long as I could with her. When she was around 12, her therapist at the time urged me to get her a phone and to monitor, slowly add apps that I approve, etc. I thought I was monitoring it correctly, doing all the right things, but fast forward to now (and adding her first year of junior high to the mix,) she has done everything I was afraid of. Inappropriate stuff, language, vaping, you know the drill. Not anything her peers aren’t doing, but because she is 13, has no clue about the predatory nature of the world, pedophiles, and how tech keeps a record of everything, for life. So, now, I use bark and changed passwords and then deleted ALL social media. (Insta, Snapchat.) She somehow had apps that I did not even know about, such as YOLO. My youngest daughter looked at her phone tonight and saw tik tok. I didn’t even know it was on there still. Her “name” on tiktok was 'strawberry whore." When I confronted her, she kind of just laughed. In her world, it is normal. Using playboy bunny logos on your filters is normal. In the rest of the world, having a handle like that on ANYTHING in association with her actual name is a nightmare as her mother. Don’t even get me started on a 13 year old girl thinking the playboy bunny is “cute.” She accused me of breaching her privacy, it’s so unfair, none of her friends parents do it…and they don’t!

I am a divorced single mother of two daughters, I am finishing my undergrad at 41, and will be busy and in school for another solid 4 years. I must take measures, and I won’t stop until she is out of the house, but I am so tired of the constant arguing about it, and I am finding there is no way to protect her and her behavior online 100 % of the time.

I just took her phone away for the night, even thought she has lost all privileges except for music and texting (need to be able to communicate with her) and she proceeded to scream, cry, slam doors, sob, and give me the silent treatment. The world has become screen experiences for our kids almost exclusively, they are addicted to their phones and social media, and it is making them unhappy, depressed, and sad, I do not even know what to do anymore. But, I will never stop monitoring or caring. I predict huge problems in the psychiatric realm for adults who stuggled with this as a kid and teen (our kids now.) I am so overwhelmed with it all, but I am really, really grateful to read other parents experiences. It makes me feel less alone. Thanks for listening.

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You are not alone. I’m an IT professional and the level at which parents are willfully ignorant about the dangers of the internet is shocking to me. We monitor, block, take away devices etc. That said, I have 2 that are over 18 now and one that is about to turn 15. Many people have said that they will monitor devices until the child gets their own after they’ve turned 18. Sadly, our American laws don’t allow this. There’s a reason all of these services ask how old your child is. When they turn 18 - many of the parental focused apps will simply quit monitoring. This is because it is illegal to monitor people after 18 (In light of government surveillance, this is a joke). After 18, if they are still using a phone and plan you provide, you’ll need to do something voluntary like Covenant Eyes. If the 18+ year old doesn’t agree to it then you can just quit paying for the phone plan. You should also be centrally controlling internet access via WiFi in your home.

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@Lila_Romay welcome, and thanks so much for sharing. :yellow_heart: I can only imagine how tough this has been; you’re not alone!


Micah Jones

      bark-parent




    December 5

You are not alone. I’m an IT professional and the level at which parents are willfully ignorant about the dangers of the internet is shocking to me. We monitor, block, take away devices etc. That said, I have 2 that are over 18 now and one that is about to turn 15. Many people have said that they will monitor devices until the child gets their own after they’ve turned 18. Sadly, our American laws don’t allow this. There’s a reason all of these services ask how old your child is. When they turn 18 - many of the parental focused apps will simply quit monitoring. This is because it is illegal to monitor people after 18 (In light of government surveillance, this is a joke). After 18, if they are still using a phone and plan you provide, you’ll need to do something voluntary like Covenant Eyes. If the 18+ year old doesn’t agree to it then you can just quit paying for the phone plan. You should also be centrally controlling internet access via WiFi in your home.


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Being parents is not easy and we have to monitor them and do our best for their own good, they don’t realize it right now. my husband told me that I am helicopter mom but mom has more worried i think than dad base in my experience.

I have Bark and OurPact on my 15 yo phone. He swares I am the only parent who does this. My 12 and 11 year olds both have bark and OurPact on their devices.

I am a teacher and parent … it was not the teachers place to make comments regarding your raising style … PS - we monitor our 12 & 13 years olds phones with Verizon Family, Bark and random spot checks.

Thank you for taking time to write…forgive this very belated response. Yes, it’s good to know that we’re not alone. My guess is that most of us have been blind-sided by the rapid rise and ease of internet access. We hope to get our child through all fo this awful stuff to be a safe, healthy, and kind adult.
Yes, our 17 yr old has said the same things to me…many times. We’ve been working with a therapist to navigate gradual reintroduction of designated privileges (ie, stricter time limits, gradually allowing him to carry his phone in school (“b/c all of the other kids have their phones” (sadly, true)).Areas that are not negotiable: no phone in the bedroom, no sending or receiving photos of any kind except to family and friends from his HS.
Hang in there – you’re a tremendous role model for your daughters!
Jean

Appreciate your thoughts here. Like everyone else, we strive to help our son become a responsible adult and remind ourselves that access to the internet is everywhere: friends’ phones, school, library, appliances… so, it takes much more effort.

We just started to monitor our 14 year old son with Bark and we were shocked when we realized the topics and language they were using in their chats. We should have done this years ago. The worst a parent can do is to let their kids be freely using whatsapp and other messaging platforms.

You are not alone! And I support you. I’d be having a meeting with that teacher and or principal that teacher can keep her opinion of your parenting to herself! Ugh the nerve of people. I feel she crossed the line in telling your daughter that.

We are the parents of grown kids (31 and 28) with babies of their own, and a 13 year old that we adopted at birth. He is our joy. He has been bullied since 1st grade and this year it became so bad (both in person and online), that he was hurting himself and ended up in the hospital. You better know we are monitoring him. This life is too short to take a chance on losing your child because of the hateful and evil things other people say and do. We discovered that he was introduced to porn by a “friend”. There is so much garbage out there, and so many children whose parents either can’t, won’t, or don’t know how to monitor. Keep it up! You’re being an involved, loving parent! That is something teachers crave, as it makes their jobs so much easier!!

I’m a mom and a teacher and I wish more parents were like you! That teacher overstepped if that teacher said that specifically.

I also monitor all 5 of my children’s devices, even my 17yr old son’s phone. I have told my children the only privacy they need is when they change clothes or in using the restroom. When it comes to their phones their is no such thing as privacy.