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Accessing an 11 year olds phone?

(63 Posts)
tumpymummy Sun 20-Mar-16 15:19:11

I know this has probably been discussed loads, but some of the threads I have looked at about this are quite old, so I thought I would check current thinking. DD has just put a passcode on her phone. Says she doesn't want me snooping. Should I be?! At 11 (and at secondary school) should I allow her some privacy? I have a passcode on my phone (but my kids know it!) and in case she looses it I think she should but that I should know it. In some ways I would feel guilty reading messages she has sent, but I want to make sure she is staying safe and nothing inappropriate is being said. She says I should trust her, that they've learnt about internet safety at school. I've said that if she doesn't tell me her passcode I will remove her phone. Am I being too harsh and too protective and out of date (as she says!) ?

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Sun 20-Mar-16 15:21:06

i'd confiscate the phone too...

flingingmelon Sun 20-Mar-16 15:24:29

It's not her phone. It's your phone that she uses. No way would I be happy with a code on it I didn't know.

5tardusty Sun 20-Mar-16 15:31:56

A condition of her having a phone should be that you know the passcode and all social media passcodes. Sadly, sexting and cyberbullying is rife among this age group, not to mention the social media obsession.

It might be a little embarrassing if she just wants to discuss her crush with her best mate, but sadly things are a lot more intense for children than they were when we were 11 sad

tribpot Sun 20-Mar-16 15:34:03

She gives you the passcode or she gives you the phone. Non-negotiable.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 20-Mar-16 15:40:46

My dd is just 12 and I wouldn't dream of snooping through her phone. If I had reason to distrust her it would be different, but until that point she has a right to privacy. I know her passcode cos she never hides it from me when she enters it. Presumably because she trusts me not to snoop in the way I trust her to stick to my rules about social media and anything else phone related.

It's no better than reading your preteens diary, when they've given you no reason to suspect anything is wrong, and dressing it up as a way of spotting potential problems.

Bickwood Sun 20-Mar-16 15:41:37

I agree with your DD.

limetimemummy Tue 22-Mar-16 23:53:59

We had a recent talk at DDs primary school from a detective who works in the online/ sex crime/grooming department, complete with case studies. His advice was that by all means have open conversations with your offspring about trust and safety but nothing should be passworded so that you can't access it. Interestingly he pointed out that under the European human rights law, children don't have the ultimate right to privacy from their parents where their personal IT devices are concerned.

Balletgirlmum Tue 22-Mar-16 23:55:18

No passcode no phone (& dd is 14)

NoOneIsInterested Wed 23-Mar-16 00:13:12

Definitely not ok.
Do you have parental controls on her phone? Or could she access porn or other inappropriate images (either purposely or accidentally)

TeenAndTween Wed 23-Mar-16 12:35:23

It is different to a diary, as a diary can't talk to people she doesn't know in real life, and can't receive inappropriate photos etc.

Therefore yes you should have the passcode.

There is an app our school has recently publicised which allows you to receive any pictures your child takes or downloads. See

Children may know the rules in theory. But at 11 they are too immature to keep themselves properly safe.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 23-Mar-16 12:41:32

You shouldn't be snooping on your DD, that is just wrong.

If you don't trust to have a smartphone unsupervised she shouldnt have a smartphone. It would be sensible for you to know her pass code in case she forgets it (or she should write it down).

Chocolatteaddict1 Wed 23-Mar-16 12:42:43

Abdolutly no passwords or no phones.

They are children . In today smart phone culture I think you have to be ultra careful when your children have access to the Internet - so yes I would have a quick look.

I agree it's nothing like a diary.

Why are we living in a culture at the moment that gives our children so much freedom and responsibility at their young age I don't know.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 23-Mar-16 12:43:33

To the PP who said about parental controls on phones - the adult content internet blocks that many carriers have are completely pointless, and are bypassed by default on many browsers.

ailbhel Wed 23-Mar-16 12:45:24

We have the codes and the children know (a) we won't use them except for safety, and (b) it's useful to be able to say "my mum can read all my messages you know."

fieldfare Wed 23-Mar-16 12:45:40

No passcode and access to everything, no phone. Dd is 13.
If I spot (she has to be "friends" with me on any social media) anything I'm unhappy about, we talk about it and appropriate steps are taken.

It's not snooping it's keeping her safe!

pippistrelle Wed 23-Mar-16 12:51:32

It's very different from a diary, and it's not about invading her privacy or trusting her. It's not even about messages she's sending but, potentially, about things sent to her, and keeping her safe. I would do the same, OP.

WannaBe Wed 23-Mar-16 12:52:45

A lot of naive posts on here - I wonder how many of the "it's wrong to snoop" posters have teenage children?

The principle I apply is that I shouldn't have to snoop on my DS and that I trust him to be safe online (something we talk about regularly). However that trust is given on the basis that I have the passcode to his phone and as such if I feel that he is acting inappropriately/could be at risk from bullying/might be involved in things he is too young for then I have the right to look.

In theory, the knowledge that I can look if I feel I have to should be enough for him to A, be honest with me, and B, keep himself safe and within appropriate boundaries. But ultimately he is a child who does not yet have the emotional maturity to be given uncontrolled access to the Internet.

I don't feel the need to go and read his texts on a regular basis or to sit snooping of an evening. But at thirteen he does not have the right to a password protected access to the World Wide Web and everything that entails.

The statistics of under sixteens who have met up with someone from the Internet without their parents' knowledge is shocking. Around 25%. Anyone who thinks that under sixteens are mature and sensible enough to not do so is naive in the extreme. As parents it is our responsibility to keep our children safe. Would you allow them out to a party where you had no idea where they were and who they were with? No? Well the Internet is in part very similar in that you have no idea who they may be talking to and what they might be saying, if you don't have any kind of access.

MirandaWest Wed 23-Mar-16 12:53:26

My DS is 12 and knows that I know his passcode. It's a non negotiable thing here.

Caprinihahahaha Wed 23-Mar-16 12:55:43

I have my child's passcodes for her electronic devices or she doesn't have them.
And anyone who values their child's privacy above their safety is making a very odd judgement call imho.

My daughter understands exactly why I need access to her phone. She's not stupid.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 23-Mar-16 13:06:40

The principle I apply is that I shouldn't have to snoop on my DS and that I trust him to be safe online (something we talk about regularly). However that trust is given on the basis that I have the passcode to his phone and as such if I feel that he is acting inappropriately/could be at risk from bullying/might be involved in things he is too young for then I have the right to look.

I think we may be at cross-purposes here, what you state^ I wouldn't call snooping as you would be doing it with the knowledge and permission of your son. You obviously have a good relationship, and the boundaries you have set are very reasonable.

I think the issue occurs when you have a less trusting relationship with your child and you want to monitor their activity without them knowing I also thinks it's pretty naive to think that accessing your child's phone means you will be able to see what they are doing - it's very easy to remove and reinstall apps/delete histories/have more than one account on social media etc. If your child wants to hide their internet activity they can cover their tracks very easily and very effectively.

This is why it is so important to talk to your child and make sure internet safety is just as ingrained as "stranger danger". It is also our responsibility to have an understanding of how the technology our children use works so that we don't blindly assume everything is OK because they have given us access to a Facebook account, or because the phone compnay has an adult block on their phone.

ArmfulOfRoses Wed 23-Mar-16 13:16:02

I think your dd should absolutely have a pass code, it stops the phone being used if lost or stolen, and a find my phone type app also.
BUT you should absolutely know the code.

I would confiscate 12yo dd's without an ounce of guilt if she changed her pass code and didn't let me know (either immediately or upon my asking if she changed it at school for example).

ThornyBird Wed 23-Mar-16 13:20:24

My older 2 (14 & 12) have passcodes to 'protect' their phones from younger siblings/school'friends'. However I know their passcodes as a condition of them having the phones. I also have any social media passwords etc and do spot checks.

With dc1 (yr10) I scroll through messages about once every month/6 weeks. I'm not really reading just keeping an eye on pictures and anything that jumps out. I do it with her with me and chat as I do it. She accepts that this is how it is. She is pretty sensible and i think we have mutual trust in that I don't think she is doing anything untoward and she knows I won't snoop behind her back.

With dc2 I am much more on the ball as he has form for googling inappropriately! I get his emails copied to me and currently he has no access to safari/YouTube on his phone/iPad. When he did, the deal was I could check the history anytime and if he cleared his history, that would be taken as a sign that he had been watching things he shouldn't! He has shown no interest in social media yet, just Skyping friends as he plays Minecraft. The PC is in our hallway and the Xbox in the lounge so limited oppurtunity for shenanigans on there.

However, the big thing dh and I have always done is talk about what we are doing and why, they may still think it unfair (they are teens, we are parents, of course it's unfair wink) but all we can do is keep explaining so they can make good choices.

Sorry, that ended up really long blush

TheTartOfAsgard Wed 23-Mar-16 13:48:51

My dd 12 has a password on her phone and social media accounts, but she knows that I know them and could look at any time. I haven't ever had any reason to look and I'm hoping that her just knowing that I could look is enough not that I really have to bother cos she never shuts up and tells me EVERYTHING I know more about what's going on with her friends than I know about my own

NoOneIsInterested Wed 23-Mar-16 14:27:16

To the PP who said about parental controls on phones - the adult content internet blocks that many carriers have are completely pointless, and are bypassed by default on many browsers.

That would have been me blush. I have to disagree as there are steps you can take to outwit most DC. Although it very much depends on the DC, the DCs ages and the phones. I wouldn't trust a carriers adult content block though.

It's easy to restrict things like adding and deleting apps.

I'm not an Apple fan particularly but its simple to set up parental restrictions on an iPhone even if your aren't perticually tech'y. Both child and parent have the passcode but only the parent has the 'restrictions' code. You can then choose exactly what you will allow. You might wish to allow your child to download new apps but to not be allowed to delete them. You can specify that you wish to limit 'adult content' which has the added bonus that your DC will then be prevented from deleting their search history. You can also block certain apps such as snapchat, Favebook etc. (which are not meant for DC under 13 anyhow)

I'm amazed at how cavalier some parents are about Internet security. I think it's naive. If you don't understand it then either don't allow your DC a phone or get someone else to look at it for you.

It's 100% true that the most effective thing is for your DC to take responsibility for their own online 'safety' .

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