Do You Use Facebook to Spy on Your Kids?

Illustration by Karl Tate,

The online habits of kids is certainly not a new topic here at CF; we’ve talked about tweens on Facebook and debated what age kids should be before they have an email account. But what about parents and social media? A report on has us questioning the motivation behind parents using social networking sites like Facebook. Is it all about the networking, or a covert way to keep an eye on your kids’ habits online?

According to a new BullGuard Internet Security Survey, 55 percent of parents admit to using social media to “keep an eye” on their kids. But apart from being privy to their latest photos and status updates, keeping tabs on your child’s social networking activity plays a much more important role—it lets you see who they’re befriending online and what those people are saying. If you notice that someone you’ve never heard of before starts leaving inappropriate comments on your tween or teen’s Facebook wall, it may indicate a need to talk to your child about internet safety.

“It certainly seems as though parents are taking advantage of the trail of information left by web use in order to check up on their kids,” says Claus Villumsen, internet security expert with BullGuard in a press release. “These figures are initially quite surprising, but since certain malicious third parties have been known to prey on unsuspecting or over trusting individuals online, it does seem as though many could have legitimate concerns.”

For tips on keeping an eye on your kids online without crossing the line into helicopter territory, check out our story on walking the line between your teen’s privacy and safety.

Tell us: Do you use Facebook? Did you start an account to keep an eye on your kids’ online activity?

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