Spying - is it ever OK?

Spying. Is it ever OK.

I’m not talking about countries sending agents undercover, or industrial espionage. I’m not talking hiring private detectives, or wearing false moustaches, or cunning disguises and following people. In fact I don’t really think I mean spying…maybe I’ll start again.

Watching what your kids get up to. Is it ever OK.

Ah that sounds better. More like what I’m going to talk about with the added benefit it makes me sound like less of a weird stalker of my own child.
I adore the DD, infuriating as she can be, and since the age of 8 she has had a mobile phone. At 13 she got a Facebook account and now at 15 she has a laptop of her own, snap chat, twitter, a blog (long neglected!) , email…well you get the picture. She has a busy online life.

When she was younger we added an app to her phone that would either ring the phone when the phone was lost (even if the phone was set to silent) or would send back a location text to the texter (you needed a secret code of course) and she knew about the app, she liked that it helped to find her phone, and she understood that it would also let us find her location if she had the phone with her when she went out.

Once she got Facebook my biggest worry was not her being groomed and kidnapped (though that was up in the top ten worries), my biggest fear was cyberbullying and the worry that she wouldn’t tell me. So I set her email to forward to mine.

Her email still forwards to mine now – I never read the email, I usually just delete it, but there is security in knowing that it’s there. That if there was a problem I can check what’s going on. (Not that that was of any help to Breck Bednar’s mum who knew exactly what was happening and even called the police) DD knows that I get the emails and that I don’t read them. She seems ok with it, my own computer log on at home is not secret; she can check my emails as easily as I can check hers. We are friends on Facebook too, she asked me! And we follow each other on twitter, and Pinterest.
Mainly I’ve found the fact we are open and talk about online issues helps the most, she knows not to reveal too much about herself, she knows that people lie and she will talk to me about things that upset her.

 I read recently that some parents think microchipping their children with GPS tracking chips is the way forward! I was stunned, even I think that's a step too far!

Do you keep an eye on your child’s online life? Is it OK to? And when do you stop! I don’t want to be the spying mum but it’s hard to let go. (Hello Mum, I know you are reading this, I'm fine)

Oh and I do tease DD sometimes…when I get her YouTube notifications…she does watch an awful lot of Tom Daley videos…

Tom Daley in swimwear


  1. Cardiff Mummy Says5/2/15

    Great post. My children are all five and under, but I think about this a lot. They are growing up in such a different world to us and I worry about cyber bullying and more sinister online dangers. I like the phone ringing app you have mentioned and the idea to forward the emails to you too. I don't know if I would spy. I hope my children would come to me with their problems but I guess if I thought something troubling was happening, I would be tempted to look so that I could help. x

  2. Laura5/2/15

    How funny, I have just written a blog post about this myself about microchiping going up on my blog tomorrow. I think the idea of it is awful.

    In terms of cyber bullying that is one of my worries as my children grow older too, what is the appropriate level of monitoring versus protecting them. I think it's a fine line. It sounds like you are managing it quite well.

  3. Thought I had just written a very lengthy comment but not sure it went through :( My girls are 13 and 14, they have social media accounts and I have their passwords - part of the deal. I've hardly ever checked, mainly when I've been worried about them (my eldest is very insular and doesn't talk much) and it turns out my concerns weren't unfounded. But I know this isn't a long-term solution and that at a certain age, the 'spying' will need to stop. Just a question of when!

  4. john adams8/2/15

    My two are a bit young for me to have to worry about this but it'll come round soon enough. If social media had existed when I was a teenager, I'd have got myself in all sorts of trouble! Perhaps I shouldn't reflect on my own behaviour too much, but I will be keeping a close eye on what the kids on line and for largely the same reasons; cyberbullying. I'm always v careful what I reveal about my family online and the kids will be educated about this in a big way.

  5. chickenruby10/2/15

    I've got all my kids on social medai, Facebook, twitter, instagram etc they even read my blogs. there is only one rule and that is I'm not to tag them in stupid stuff on Facebook or make requests to be friends with any of their friends, i'm sad to say it's often the other way round and they get upset when i don't tag them in the silly stuff

  6. Tattooed Mummy10/2/15

    yeah I posted a while ago when i warned DD not to share dodgy pics of her boobs etc and she said 'I'm not you mum' I think they are often more savvy than we think :-)

  7. Tattooed Mummy10/2/15

    Thanks - it's tricky knowing when to let go...scary too

  8. Tattooed Mummy10/2/15

    yeah - I let DD know so it doesn't feel like spying really. more being a back up in case of trouble

  9. Tattooed Mummy10/2/15

    yep, be secret squirrel online!

  10. Tattooed Mummy10/2/15

    so hard to let go!!

  11. chickenruby11/2/15

    you do not know how grateful i am that you have such a sensible daughter who monitors your social media activity

  12. Tattooed Mummy27/2/15

    best comment ever - also true


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