This email comes to us from Diann Childress (who has a question about monitoring her children’s texts.)
I have been enjoying your articles about the moral implications of whether or not it’s spying to read someone else’s texts. I think it’s interesting moral ground when you’re talking about reading texts sent by your spouse/boyfriend. Surely though, those implications don’t extend to me as a parent, right? I would argue that it’s good for me as a parent to know what texts my children are sending. My question is not whether it’s morally right to do so. I think it’s not only my right, but my responsibility. However, if I do want to “spy”, how can I read the texts my children are sending and receiving?
When it comes to your children, we wouldn’t begin to tell you what to do.
Our personal opinions vary widely.
You could trust them and to text appropriately. You give your children a lot of confidence when they know you trust them to make good decisions.
On the opposite side of that… there’s a great line in the movie Animal House.
The censored version of the line goes something like “You *messed* up. You trusted me.”
We think trust is a good thing.