When it comes to the sensitive debate regarding monitoring your children’s text messages, I know many of us would say that it’s downright outrageous. True; in the world where privacy often supersedes security, monitoring text messages of your child might turn them rebellious. But we’re missing a very important and significant aspect here. Your child’s security is far more important than respecting privacy or anything else. If you still have doubts, read on and decide for yourself.
The Cost Parents Had to Bear for Not Monitoring Text Messages
Like most other parents, I seconded the notion of giving your kids liberty, privacy and space. But as my own children grew up into their pre-teens, I realized that the times have drastically changed. Even if you trust your kid never to harass or bully someone else, you can never be sure about it. Neither can you make sure that your own child won’t fall a victim to some stupid decision. They say pre-teens and teenage is a dangerous phase. Hormones are raging and children think they can conquer the world. They’re biologically most adventurous and extremely vulnerable. The emotions are sky-high and this can backfire within minutes. One hate-massage and they’re disturbed enough to end their own life. Do I need to go any further? But let’s not limit discussions to assumptions and opinions, let’s talk about solid facts. It didn’t take me long to dig up thousands of horror news stories about kids committing suicides or meeting other serious circumstances all through text messages. And parents? They were devastated but what could be done when it’s too late?
Danielle Briggs Committed Suicide After a Text Message
Just when we think the world couldn’t get any meaner, we get to hear news so terrible we lose hope. Danielle Briggs, a bright and soft-hearted kid who loved to help people around and a junior at Thousand Islands High School committed suicide after reading a hate text message. Briggs, as his mother Amy Briggs tells, had been bullied at school for being small for 9 years. His parents repeatedly complained but his school authorities did little to help. As he joined high school, the bullying wet to on to a whole new level. Briggs got a text message from one of the bullies at school who humiliated him and abused over the text messages. And one day the bully texted, “Why don’t you just pick up a shot gun, do us a favor and kill yourself?” Briggs replied that I’m going to kill myself after going home from school. And this is what he did. The boy killed himself ending his life, his education, his possible career and most of all; he took away a darling son from his parents. In an interview, his mother said that she saw the text message herself. If only Amy kept an eye on his text messages, she could have detected what was happening and disturbing his child to such a limit.
Girl Raped by a Man She Met through Text Messaging
Another blood-curdling incident of a brutal rape of a 15-year old girl from Hindley, Manchester by a 25-year old man she met through text messaging. The girls said she was introduced to this man through a friend and connected through text messaging. She said she was led through Wigan Town Center after being attacked and raped in nearby Menses Park. The man kept on insisting her to meet him at the Menses Park over the text messages. Had his parents monitor her text messages, they could have stopped their daughter from dating a man with such a big age difference.
13-Year old Student Suspended for Threatening to Shoot Class Fellows
A 13-year old Glendale student was suspended from his school for sending text messages to his class fellows, threatening to shoot them. He sent text messages to his class fellows telling them that he intends to bring a gun to school and shoot. Authorities were notified by a student who received the text messages. As the investigations were carried out, it was found that the student did not possess any gun or any weapon and so did not pose any harm to other students. But he was suspended till the investigations were completed. His parents said they were embarrassed over their child’s reckless behavior and that they should have kept a closer eye to his activities.
Text Message Monitoring – Snooping or Precaution?
There are thousands of other incidents that are equally terrifying – ranging from harassing, bullying, raping to even killing. Your child could possibly on either side of the story: bullying or being bullied and both can result into dangerous and fatal consequences. Now it’s your judgment call; whether or not to monitor your child’s text messages. You decide whether you want to be in the loop as to what’s going on in your child’s life or want to give them the sense of personal freedom but pay a huge cost for it later. Do share your thoughts on this in the comments section below.