Opinion Brief

Is it okay to hack your kid's Facebook account?

One in 10 parents say they secretly log into their kids' social networking accounts to track possible problems. Is that spying or just smart parenting?

Gone are the days of reading your child's diary to track her social life or ensure he's not a victim of bullying. According to a new study, 72 percent of parents say they openly monitor their kids' online social networking, while one in 10 parents do so secretly — logging into their children's Facebook accounts (or the equivalent) to stay in the loop. Is this good parenting or an invasion of privacy?

It's not okay: "Really? 1 in 10 parents think it's OK to spy on their kids without their knowledge?" asks Nick Saint in the San Francisco Chronicle. "That's pretty disturbing," and teenagers should take note.
"Watch out, teens! 10% of your parents are hacking in to your Facebook accounts"

This isn't such a big deal in 2010: Only 10 percent of parents are "spying"? That's because so many don't have to, says Caroline Howard at Forbes. Another survey by the Kaplan testing company found that the "majority of teens (56%) are more likely to give their parents full Facebook access than no access at all (34%) or limited access (9%)." For today's teens, "privacy vs. transparency is a quaint distinction," and good parents are taking advantage of that.
"Facebook spying on your kids"

Still, covert parenting is not good parenting: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to online monitoring, says Monica Vila, founder of the parenting website "The Online Mom," as quoted by ABC News. Start by asking yourself why you feel the need to spy on your children and then sit down with them and openly discuss your concerns, she says: "I really strongly advocate for the trust conversation."
"Is it all right to snoop on your child online?"

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