Action Spring 2011 — Promo
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Should Parents Read Your Texts?

Teens want privacy, but parents want to keep their kids safe.

Imagine this: A boy named Joe texts you, “Meet me @ the mall?” You don’t really know him, but you decide to go. “I’m going to Amy’s house!” you call out to your dad.

“Hold on,” he says. “Who’s Joe?” Your dad has just read the text.

With a service called My Mobile Watchdog (MMWD), parents can read teens’ texts. Often, they choose not to read all of them. MMWD also sends parents an alert when their kids get a call or text from someone new. Once a day, teens are sent a message reminding them that their phone is being watched.

Parents who use MMWD say it helps them keep their teens safe. They want to know if someone sends their kids photos or messages they don’t approve of. But teens want their texts and calls to be private. When parents are watching, they can’t be as open with their friends. And some people point out that teens will find ways to get privacy, like using a friend’s phone instead of their own.

READ Both SIDES of THE DEBATE AND DECIDE.

YES

Parents should read teens’ text messages. Here’s why:

Strangers can use text messages to try to trick a teen into meeting them face-to-face.

Bullying often takes place through text messages. If they know about the bullying, parents can help stop it.

MMWD works.police officers use it. It has helped them arrest more than 100 people who wanted to hurt kids and teens.

No

Parents should not read teens’ text messages. Here’s why:

Parents should trust teens to make smart choices.

Teens need some privacy from their parents. By reading text messages, parents take away that privacy.

Teens can always use a friend's phone for things they don't want their parents to see. Then MMWD won't work.
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