The Illusion of Privacy
I opened a local newspaper today and read that there was a plot to kill high school students in Virginia Beach. The plot had been foiled by a girlfriend of one of the suspect. The ring leader was a 17 year old male, and his two accomplices were 15 and 16 years old.
They had been planning this attack for months. Several students were listed as targets. I’m not trying to blame the parents, but most of their weapons and plans were in their bedrooms. This is an example of excessive privacy. Remember, the child should only have the an illusion of privacy. Parents you must keep in mind that trust is earned, as responsibility is shown, give more trust. Giving your child complete privacy, it is a huge NO. However, it is encouraged to provide room to grow and the opportunity for them to learn on their own.
It is also okay for your child to have such things as MySpace, Face Book, and a cell phone, as long as the usage is governed by clear precise rules. My advice to all parents is that while your child is sleeping and /or out of the home, you conduct random checks in their intimate spaces, like, closets, backpacks, and under the bed.
If your child has a car, examine the car thoroughly. Look for such things as cigarette buds and beer cans. Be well aware of all friends, with knowing their full names and places of residency. It is further recommended that the passwords to the social network sites be obtained. Do not let your teenager intimidated you into thinking that they have a right to privacy access to the computer is not a right, but a privilege. The internet can be as dangerous as the real world.
I know you might not agree with this strategy. But this method was based on parents keeping the peace with their teenagers. My oldest child started out with no illusion, I would ask to see her backpack and look through it on a daily basis. I would check her room while she was awake. I would tell her that her cell phone was not hers, it was just an illusion of ownership. My main concern was not her privacy but her well being. However, this approach caused alot of conflict that could have been avoided by looking in her room while she was at school.
I now use both methods. My twelve year old knows that at any time I may ask to see her backpack or look in her room. However, normally I check her room while she is at school and her backpack when she is sleep. She has the illusion of privacy.