Hey parents! Here’s a hypothetical for you: You come home from a long day at work and start making dinner. You’re excited to hear about your child’s day at school, how their history presentation went and what friends they sat with at lunch. The burgers are done and you bring everything out to the table, but, to your horror, your children have been replaced by zombies! They’re staring lifelessly at their phones. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get them to turn their attention anywhere else.

Unfortunately, this “hypothetical” is becoming all too common at my house, and it probably sounds pretty familiar to you, too. So, what’s so interesting on those phones anyway? I’ve talked to many parents who are considering whether or not they should be “spying” on their kids - monitoring their devices via text messages, web searches, etc. On one hand, they want to give their children independence and privacy as they grow up, but on the other, it’s the parents responsibility to make sure their child is safe, smart, and happy. Every family is different, but I usually air on the side that parents should be aware of what their children are doing online.

Here are 5 reasons why:

Inappropriate Content

Your child can be sending, receiving, and viewing anything on their mobile device. All kinds of adult content is at their fingertips with the internet, and it’s your duty as a parent to make sure that everything they’re engaging with is age appropriate. Cyber bullying is also a huge problem with the rise in youth technology use. Monitoring their social media and text messages can help you ensure they are behaving themselves, and also being treated kindly by others.

Look Who’s Talking

Remember when your best friend had to call your home line and ask your mom if you were available? Or they actually had to walk down the street and knock on the door? It was much easier for our parents to monitor who we were communicating and hanging out with. However, that is a luxury the 21st century parent doesn’t have. Our kids can be contacting anyone, from anywhere in the world, without us having the slightest idea.


When’s the last time your child was able to multitask effectively while also using their phone? I can’t think of a single occasion, but if you can, please send your children to my house asap. My kids desperately need to learn.

While they might (read: will) put up a fight, pulling our kids from their devices can actually be good for them! Gasp! They spend so much time with their eyes glued to the screen that their attention spans are dwindling, their real social skills are suffering, the time they spend outside is next to none, and their homework gets pushed to the back burner. So next time you’re fed up with trying to talk to a brick wall, go ahead. Snag that device and let them experience the outside world for a few hours.

Sleep Deprivation

87% of US high schoolers aren’t getting enough sleep, which I doubt comes as a surprise to any of their parents. If you find it painfully difficult to drag your kid out of bed every morning, the culprit may be in their pocket. Having the phone with them at bed is a constant distraction from sleeping, and many times kids will be texting and browsing the web into wee hours of the night.

Build Trust

Many new responsibilities come with having a phone, and parents need to help guide our children through these. They are exposed to way more than we ever were as kids, and it is important to have open and honest conversations about what is appropriate, what is allowed, and how they should respond when faced with things that are not. Setting rules on your child’s device also helps open this line of communication, which can build trust and a stronger relationship as they gain independence.

Author's Bio: 

KidGuard's sole mission is to protect your children online. Our team spends every waking hour thinking about how to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. KidGuard employs a team of researchers and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems and also runs a popular child cell phone monitoring software to allow parents to stay involved in their child's life online.