Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


To have said this to SIL re checking her DD's phone?

173 replies

weymouthswanderingmermaid · 16/11/2019 21:52

My niece started year 7 this year. She's settled well, and is generally a well adjusted, well behaved sensible child. My DC's are younger and not quite at the smartphone / social media stage yet.
DN got her first phone when she started secondary school. Me and SIL we're chatting about DN yesterday, and SIL told her about several WhatsApp groups my DN is now on. Friends chatting and making social arrangements, and the like. I asked SIL if she was checking them / her phone is general, and she was horrified and said no of course not, she doesn't know her password anyway. I said that to would be sensible to check it every now and again, and to let DN that she would be doing so. To me, 11 is so young to have private access to WhatsApp and social media, and it's a parents duty to monitor it to keep the child safe and check for issues like bullying.
I explained that what I was saying was what i understood the general advice to be for parents, not just me being a snoop. I honestly did not say any of this in a judgemental holier than thou way, I was trying to be factual but helpful, iyswim?

But, SIL has not taken it well. She's seen it as both a slight against DN who "can't be trusted", and against her parenting, as I suggested she wasn't doing it right! SIL is a lovely, sensible woman and great mother. I really didn't expect that reaction Confused

OP posts:

ChoccieEClaire · 16/11/2019 21:57

My DD is year 8 and just turned 13. I have checked her phone regularly both with her and without her.
She knows that if she can't tell me the surname of any friends then they get deleted.
We chat about internet safety a lot, it's so important that they know how to use it sensibly and safely and know how to put the correct settings on etc.
You were not bring unreasonable at all


user1493413286 · 16/11/2019 21:58

I completely agree with you and think it’s naive not to check phones but my experience is that people don’t like anything they perceive as judgment of their parenting and will go into defence mode so in some ways her response isn’t surprising. Hopefully it will make her think though


Ilikesweetpeas · 16/11/2019 21:58

My DD is in year 7. She knows I check her phone regularly but I am amazed how many parents don’t!


CodenameVillanelle · 16/11/2019 21:59

Your SIL is an idiot as is any parent who doesn't check their kids' phones and hold the passwords. Once they reach mid teens they can have privacy but at 11-12 they should not.


FleurNancy · 16/11/2019 22:03

Wtf? I check my 11 year olds phone every night and have today refused him permission to download Snapchat. I plough through a lot of absolutely bloody drivel in his messages but no way I'm not doing it. He knows that's the deal and that's that.


SchoolNightWine · 16/11/2019 22:06

I agree with you and it's a shame your SIL is being defensive about it.
My DS is year 9 and knows I check his phone (more occasionally then regularly now). I've pulled him up on bad language on a WhatsApp group and reminded him about not talking about other people/teachers in the past. Nothing bad really, but useful to remind him that anything can be shared and not let him get in the habit of swearing/being mean about anyone.


coconutpie · 16/11/2019 22:07

Isn't the minimum age for WhatsApp 13 years old anyway? YANBU. Your SIL is being irresponsible.


ChoccieEClaire · 16/11/2019 22:08

Snapchat was a banned word in our house, my daughter now has it but not until she was 13. She knows 8 year olds that have it - that just shocks me!


Elieza · 16/11/2019 22:10

Sounds like she is needing some advice. Is there a good online resource for parents that anyone could recommend she look at so she can better help her child. Even though she’s basically told the OP no, it wouldn’t do any harm to have her see some guidance that may help her? She perhaps doesn’t realise how sneaky online weirdos are and how dangerous it is for a child to be unsupervised. Even an older child.


NeverForgetYourDreams · 16/11/2019 22:11

Year 9 DS here and I check his phone from time to time, not as much as when in years 7 and 8. They still need guidance at 13


Thornhill58 · 16/11/2019 22:12

I don't check my year 9 ds phone but I do have access to it. I know the passcode. I think it depends on the kid. Ours doesn't have any social media he isn't keen on it. He plays more with friends in Xbox. I think access is important.


Paddy1234 · 16/11/2019 22:15

My daughter is 17 - I checked it up until she was around 16 mainly as there was so much going around - nudes, bullying etc. She seemed fine and obviously I don't check now.
I know of a couple of parents that didn't checks phones and one was a horrible potential grooming issue at 13.


CherryPavlova · 16/11/2019 22:20

I think it’s negligent not to understand what their social media and messages are saying. Our deal was we would always have access to,their phones when they were under eighteen and we were paying. Our involvement and oversight reduced as they got older but there was still an agreement we could access if we felt a concern.


Cohle · 16/11/2019 22:23

I think offering people unsolicited parenting advice always has the potential to go down badly. I think you probably came across as pretty judgmental and patronising.


Aderyn19 · 16/11/2019 22:28

I think it's reasonable to check privacy settings or that your child is only in contact with people they actually know in real life, but I think that checking their messages is intrusive and akin to our mums reading our diaries when we were kids. I think parent need to talk to their children lots about internet use and have rules about what they can and cannot post online, but physically checking a phone is invasion of their privacy imo and should only be done if there have been previous issues where you established that the child cannot be trusted.


MelissaCortezsPastry · 16/11/2019 22:30

Maybe point her toward this BBC article

"It was Harlow who contacted Kayleigh [15 years old] via Facebook. He wrote: "Hey, how are you?" to which she replied: "Fine - who are you?"

The court heard that within 10 minutes the pair had swapped mobile phone numbers and went on to exchange 2,600 messages - mainly by text.

About two weeks after that first contact Kayleigh's body was found in a hedgerow on the outskirts of Ibstock, Leicestershire."

Two weeks. That was all it took. Leicestershire police tell parents you should be checking your child's phone. It isn't anything to do with being untrustworthy, they are children, as parents it is out job to protect, guide and help them navigate social media.


MelissaCortezsPastry · 16/11/2019 22:34

but I think that checking their messages is intrusive and akin to our mums reading our diaries when we were kids

It isn't, a diary is meant to be for you and you alone. Messages are shared with one or more people, and those people have the ability to share them with others. You don't have to protect a child from a diary, you have to protect them from incoming and outgoing messages/photos.

If I hadn't checked my son's phone I wouldn't have seen the suicidal thoughts from his mate, my son had gone to bed, I had his phone as no phones were allowed in his room overnight. I was able to intervene via his Mum.


Aderyn19 · 16/11/2019 22:43

My DD has shown me messages from friends that she thought I ought to see, where a friend was very upset and struggling and I have contacted their parents. But we talk all the time about what she is doing, who she is speaking to and I have very clear rules about never answering a message from an unknown person or even opening that message. I've been through the privacy setting etc. So far I've had no reason to not trust that she is following the rules, since she has always brought anything questionable to my attention. I know the passcode and she isn't secretive, but I just don't feel right reading messages because to her, the phone is the modern equivalent of my diary as a kid or my letters. I wouldn't consider that my mum had had a right to read those.
I think that depending upon the personality of your particular child, you can protect them without necessarily looking through their personal business.


Clearnightsky · 16/11/2019 22:51

SIL relationships are tricky in my experience- there can be competition and underlying comparisons on one side or both.

I agree OP however I know I tread very carefully with SILs! It’s kept one a great friend. Another hates me but she hates anyone outside the family.


goodfornothinggnome · 16/11/2019 22:54

Yeah this is a bit of a weird one.
DD has a friend who's parents are of the "this is her private space, and we do not overstep those boundaries" whereas in our house if DD wants access to these things then we need access to them to check what's going on. Only through phone checking was I made aware of my DD being bullied by text messages about a year ago.
If DD cant explain to me who so and so is and it be a person I know that she actually knows at school etc, then no, sorry but they get deleted.

I dont check her phone at a set time or set day, but I always tell her that were doing a phone check and to hand it over without deleted anything.

I do trust her, however as I have told her repeatedly I remember being 11/12/13/14 and thinking that there was nothing wrong with meeting new friends on the internet. Of course at the time I didnt really think there was much wrong with talking to other people who were my own age, except many turned out to be older than they said. It's a scary world out there, and at the age she needs protecting and guiding. The protecting and guiding will get less as she proves herself to be responsible when it comes to her safety.
There are things I've seen on her phone which make her think shes not quite there yet, and we have discussed that. Thankfully she understands where were coming from


SaveKevin · 16/11/2019 23:00

Yes absolutely she should be checking. They can easily get caught up in silly behaviour that needs keeping an eye on.

I thought whatsapp recently changed to 16 recently?


Ambivert · 16/11/2019 23:07

At this point you should say nothing more about this to her.

By not trying to explain, justify or push it any further the heat of her annoyance will die down and then she’ll begin to wonder if she should google advice on the subject.

If she confronts you about it apologise for how it came across and just state that you honestly just thought that was the standard advice.

Your end goal is to see your DN protected. Best way to achieve it is to totally back off now. The seed is planted 👍


AugustRose · 16/11/2019 23:12

My DD is in Year 8 and I check her phone, I told her that I would be checking it periodically as part of the agreement to her having one. She does have whatsapp and that was part of the reason I told her I'd be checking it, I don't want any bullying or inappropriate stuff and thankfully she removed herself from groups set up with people she didn't really know (from her friend's school).


LH1987 · 16/11/2019 23:14

Personally, I think reading text messages is akin to eavesdropping on conversations or reading diaries. I would never do it. Also, you were not asked for advice on her parenting so giving it will have seemed an attack, even though I’m sure that was not intended.


Notcontent · 16/11/2019 23:26

I have come across this attitude as well.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?