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Do you read your child’s SM messages?

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#1 Em1

Posted 01 January 2020 - 08:54 AM

Hi there

I read my sons social media messages last night and was surprised with what I saw. Do I speak to him about it directly??

Basically he is extremely negative about himself to others and I think partially it’s for attention but I think he sometimes struggles forming good friendships (which speaking negatively about himself is not going to help long term but I think he sees short term benefits)

I also think he lies a bit, and I can see this ruining friendships.

I’ve brought him up to be honest  so a little bit lost here


Edited by Em1, 01 January 2020 - 08:54 AM.

#2 Apageintime

Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:00 AM

How old is he?

#3 seayork2002

Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:03 AM

My son is in a chat room with people from his school, when he first did he was told i would check occasionally but not read word for word every thing, so far no issues but he was told i would be checking so was fully aware he had to agree to that to be allowed to do it.

If your son was told you would check then yes I would in passing not in a big deal way talk about it or around the subject

#4 EsmeLennox

Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:23 AM

How old is he? Fine line to tread, I think. I’d want to talk to him, though, about how he’s feeling in general. He may not be feeling exactly the things he’s put on SM, but it could also be related to other stuff such as self-esteem issues.

#5 Em1

Posted 01 January 2020 - 11:49 AM

He’s 14

#6 lizzzard

Posted 01 January 2020 - 12:20 PM

That is bloody hard.

To be honest I wouldn't say I'd read his messages. At that age, I think he would see it as a big invasion of his privacy, and it might affect how much he trusts you.

However is there a way you could open up a conversation about his friendships? I would be on lookout for a chance to 'observe' an interaction or raise the issue some other way. What kind of relationship do you generally have with him?

#7 CallMeFeral

Posted 01 January 2020 - 01:30 PM

I don't think I'd say outright that you read his messages. I'm planning to set a caveat when DD gets social media that I'm going to be checking her messages, but I still want her to feel like her communications are not up for general discussion so I plan not to bring up anything from them unless it's a safety issue.
And also in terms of having the end in mind, is his lying and being negative something that is likely to change due to that conversation? I'd suggest not. He may just hide more.
I'm not sure the way to deal with it though, unfortunately, except to find ways to address self esteem and honesty through other methods. Do you think it's at the level he'd benefit from seeing a psych?

#8 EsmeLennox

Posted 01 January 2020 - 02:20 PM

Em1 said:

1577843376[/url]' post='18538129']
He’s 14
Oh, that’s hard. They can be so sensitive about their privacy, and if they feel like you’re invading their space they can become even more cagey, I’d definitely raise it, even if I had to go about it in a round-about way without actually telling him you saw his messages. I sometimes see some stuff from mine that’s a bit sketchy and I raise it in another way...bring up a similar scenario that I’ve ‘seen’ and talk about it generally. Sometimes I can see them squirming...but sometimes they also offer a different perspective and think it through a bit, too.

I often talk about ‘what would Grandma say’...the idea that if you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see what you wrote then you shouldn’t write it at all and that sometimes the things that we write are reflections of other issues.

My 14 year old can be a bit this way, too, and a lot of it is about figuring out identity and how they ‘fit’, along with self-esteem and so on.

There are some excellent resources available to help parents in this space:

Edited by EsmeLennox, 01 January 2020 - 02:22 PM.

#9 SeaPrincess

Posted 01 January 2020 - 03:33 PM

I occasionally read DS1’s messages. In particular one day when he was at school and his iPad was notifying Instagram messages constantly, I mainly checked to make sure he wasn’t responding (his friends from a different school had a pupil free day). I’m aware that they swear when they message each other, and I don’t like it, but I let that go.

On the occasions when I’ve seen something I don’t like, whether he posted/wrote it or someone else did, he immediately knows what it is, so I am hopeful that he will figure it out eventually. I did have a conversation about something truly obnoxious that one of his mates said about girls.

View PostEsmeLennox, on 01 January 2020 - 02:20 PM, said:

I often talk about ‘what would Grandma say’...the idea that if you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see what you wrote then you shouldn’t write it at all and that sometimes the things that we write are reflections of other issues.

I bring it closer - if he wouldn’t send something or say something to me, he shouldn’t send it or say it to anyone.

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