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How to monitor my son's Facebook account without his knowing?

My son is 14 and I am very worried about what is going on behind my back. I admit that I've made the conscious decision to allow him to use Facebook, but how can I keep an eye on his internet activity and, more importantly, keep him safe? Should a parent demand that a 14-year-old child give them his Facebook account passwords?

Seeking Experience Safety & Privacy 3 years ago
Anonymous
Anonymous

4 experts and 4 parents have answered

expert answer
Leonie Smith expert
Leonie Smith Cyber safety consultant AU
E-safety expert

At 14 I feel you need to start to build trust on social networks with children. Of course each child is different, and if your child is in crisis or mortal danger you need to do whatever you need to, to keep them safe. If you feel so strongly that your child is in that much danger that you need to spy on their Facebook profile I would also suggest you seek professional help. Kids are very good at making multiple accounts and hiding their behaviour if they feel they need to. Please seek help from a councillor if you need to.

6 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Francesco admin
Francesco Founder @ Quib.ly London, GB

There are a few ways that you can monitor your child's facebook account, but most of them require that you have your child login name and password.

Option 1: log in to your child account using your child log in credentials. Clearly, this implies that you have this info. If you do have it, be wise about it. Since you'd be snooping around, avoid commenting as your child :) and do not make a big fuss about "teenager" things...you've been there yourself.

Option 2: friend your child - this will allow you to see all his friends and posts...assuming he/she has not explicitly set his privacy settings to keep you out. In that case, you can do some further investigative work by checking out a few of his friends' profiles and see if he is posting anything out of the ordinary.

Option 3: there is monitoring software that alerts you if there are posts or activity that may be potentially problematic (i.e. posts with keywords - drugs, sex, etc; friends lists, photos in which your child is tagged etc.) - these tools require that you have your child's credentials to Facebook.

Bottom line - the best thing that you can do is to work on your relationship with your child and base it on mutual trust. If your child wants to keep his digital life hidden from you, he will find plenty of ways to do so. Monitoring" his FB account is not the answer.

4 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Chris Puttick expert
Chris Puttick CEO, chief assistant to the duck GB
E-safety expert

Monitoring in this case is spying, no matter how you as a parent feel about it; it looks like spying to your child and if (when) they find out it will eliminate trust from your relationship, with potentially disastrous consequences for your son.

There's a process of growing up that has to happen in cyberspace just as it does in the physical world. Pre-teen is the time for the highly protected and guided use of the Internet, to facilitate learning about the basics of being sensible online in an artificially safe environment; once they are teenagers it is time to let them make some mistakes, again just as it is in the physical world.

What will keep them safe longest is their being able to talk to you or other trusted adults about mistakes they have made while growing up. Finding out that they are being spied on will reduce communication, but not the mistakes.

3 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Linda Criddle expert
Linda Criddle Sr. Consultant, privacy & safety Kirkland, US
E-safety expert

There are in fact several ways you can spy on your son's every online action if that is what you truly want to do, but it is not a decision I support.

Your question appears to be phrased poorly as it would seem that your interest is more one of curiosity and a general concern and less about a desperate circumstance or a desire to stalk your son.

So, assuming you want to monitor your son's online Facebook, the question is why would you want to to this without his knowledge? It's perfectly acceptable to have a discussion with your son about having 'spot checks' where you periodically sit down together and review his site for safety, privacy and security risks as he is first learning to use the tool.

Think of teaching a child how to use social network and other sites as you would when teaching a child to ride a bicycle. Before they get on the bike, you teach them the basic rules of behavior, how to properly use the bike, and how to protect themselves. You may put in place some tools (like training wheels) when they first start, and you help them practice is a secure, limited area. As they master the needed skills, you take off the training wheels, step further and further away from the bike and their actions, and when you are fully confident they have mastered the needed skills and have accepted the 'Terms of Use' you've applied, you let them step up their use - riding to friends houses, riding on busy streets etc.

If something goes wrong, for example your child cuts in front of an oncoming car, you first need to find out if the error was due to lack of control (he wobbled in front of the car) or it was intentional (he was racing a friend and deliberately cut in front of the car). If the error was one of skills, you practice the skills until they are able to confidently try again on their own. If the error was one of judgement and he made a deliberate choice to put himself or someone else in harm's way, then it's appropriate to scale back on the privileges until he demonstrates the maturity to make better choices.

Ideally you would have had this responsibility and safety discussion prior to giving your permission to use Facebook, and you would have assured him that your purpose is not to spy or pry, but simply to ensure he's acting responsibly, and has not inadvertently, or deliberately, put himself, his family or others in harms way.

If you didn't have this discussion, you can still have it now, just expect more push back.

Begin by saying that the use of any website requires the user to accept and adhere to the site's Terms of Use and these Terms include behavioral standards. Both of you should be familiar with these standards. Beyond the site's requirements, you should have family standards about privacy, respect, safety boundaries, information exposure, what constitutes a 'friend', acceptable privacy and safety settings, and so on, and these should be discussed so your son is aware of, and gives you a commitment to adhere to, your family's 'Terms of Use'.

These terms should also include a promise on your part that you will not trample his privacy, but that you will periodically review the site to ensure his, your, your family's, and his friend's privacy, safety and security are being properly managed.

Then, periodically sit down to review privacy/security/safety settings - at 14 his site should be as private as settings allow. Review contacts - do you know all of them? Does he know all of them? Scan content for any signs of bullying (of him or by him). If the content isn't bullying, you just don't like it, it's not your place to say anything about it - now or in the future. If it is bullying and he's the victim, report it to the service and work help him handle the situation - see bullying information for how. If he is the bully, he's violated the site's and your family's Terms of Use and he needs to feel the appropriate consequences. Has he exposed personal information about himself or your family that makes you uncomfortable? If so, he needs to take it down and respect the family's Terms of Use. And so on.

Like with mastering bicycling, the more skilled he becomes and the more responsibly he acts, the less oversight you need - until finally you need no oversight at all unless something clearly indicates a problem.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Jen Puckett expert
Jen Puckett Child Safety Officer California, USA
E-safety expert

I have to agree with Leonie Smith, who so eloquently stated her feelings above.

At the teenage years, youth will seek out spaces to be private from their parents. It is a natural part of growing up and becoming responsible. Unless your teen is in danger, has health or safety issues, or has asked you to help them monitor unwelcome bullying behaviour on their Facebook page, I would recommend that Facebook be a place for them to have a private space away from mom and dad.

Trust goes both ways; and kids listen to their parents more than we sometimes give them credit. Give them the space to explore, and earn your trust. They will thank you for it many times over!

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Atta John
Atta John Islamabad, Pakistan

"There is no way to do this without knowing either his facebook password. ... source: Is it possible to check my sons icloud account without him knowinG

0 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Emmals Evans
Emmals Evans

I know that this monitoring app can monitor Facebook. Hope it can help.

0 Reply Share:
Fact 6 months ago
Stefan Dobrev
Stefan Dobrev

It's easy, but you must log in with your son's username and password. In Fact that there’s no simple approach to hack into somebody’s profile. The only way is to add them as friends. This particular approach is used by faceves.com. They believe success only comes from action.

0 Reply Share:
Experience 1 month ago

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