Most of us think of parental monitoring in terms of protecting your child from bullying and predators, or maybe just protecting them from posting an inappropriate picture on a whim that could haunt them for years. Of course it does all those things, but simply knowing where our kids are online can clue us in on what's going on in their life.
Just by checking the Internet history on my home computer I know what news stories my husband is interested in and what projects my kids are working on in school. Did you know that just looking at the sites your kids have visited in the last few days and weeks can also give you a pretty good picture of what their life looks like right now?
Of course it can provide you with some conversational fodder. Have they been listening to Bruno Mars music like crazy? Visiting CNN a lot?
It can also alert us to potential red flags. Maybe your child is looking up information on dealing with cyberbullies, or what to do when you have an abusive boyfriend?
You can also take note of what kind of information they've been gathering. If you notice that they've been to a few sites describing how to mix household chemicals to produce a high, odds are that you'll want to have a conversation about it ASAP.
These are red flags in your teen's life, something wrong that they might never mention to you and that you would never know about otherwise. Parental monitoring is important for a lot of reasons, but it extends beyond just protecting them from strangers and cyberbullying.
-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans