Good Parents Don't Need to Spy on Their Kids' Text Messages

textingSo picture this. Your kid reaches that magical age when you decide they're ready for a cellphone (I'm not going to put a number on it -- you know your kid better than I do). For giggles, you throw a texting plan on there. And now you want to know: what the heck are they saying to their friends?

Do you: A) ask your state to pass a law that would require the cellphone company to give you access to your kid's texts, or b) talk to your kid about responsible texting. If you chose A, quick, get on a plane to Arizona! The Grand Canyon State could soon become the first in the nation to humor parents who would prefer the state take over the job of being a parent.


Oh sure, they're saying this is all about protecting kids from the mean old cyberbullies who send nasty texts, but let's call the plan introduced by Arizona's Republican legislator Rich Crandall what it is: an attempt by parents to circumvent the age old tradition of doing their jobs.

I know I'm going to be called out for oversimplifying things, but the older my (not allowed to have a cellphone yet) kid gets, the more I'm finding that the best answers to the most complicated parenting problems are the simple ones. If we're proactive as parents, we don't have to clean up a mess in the end.

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So let's lay this out. When you sign your kid up for a texting plan, the first thing you need to do is sit their little hiney down and have a talk about expectations. They are not to send pictures of themselves butt nekkid to their buddies. They are to tell you if they receive anything untoward from someone else. And as the person who is paying the bill, if they violate any of the rules, you will have the ability to yank that sucker out of their hands.

Wow! No need to get the state involved there, huh? And frankly, with open communication, you save yourself the headache of looking over a string of texts with no context and getting yourself freaked out that you're raising a serial killer because autocorrect turned "gunna" into "gunman."

What are the cellphone rules that you've laid out for your kids? Do you read their texts?


Image via jhaymesiviphotography/Flickr

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