Should you snoop in your kids' social media activity? - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Should you snoop in your kids' social media activity?

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To snoop or not to snoop?

That is the question facing parents who are worried their kids may be sharing a little too much online.

So, FOX 10 investigated if it is okay to monitor kids' social media.

We live in a split-second world of send it now, worry about it later.

"So, you have a great picture that someone just took in the hot tub, and you think it would be really fun to post it," Dr. Nancy McGarrah said.

Child psychologist Dr. Nancy McGarrah said between Twitter, Tumblr, texting and Facebook,
teenagers are literally putting themselves out there for the whole world to see.

"I think parents need to say, not just, 'don't do this' but, 'let me show you what it can do to somebody'," Dr. McGarrah said.

McGarrah said the part of the teen brain that controls impulsivity is still developing, so thinking about the consequences isn't their forte.

If they're mad or sad or just have something to say, they let it rip.

"It causes a lot of problems. What you write causes problems. What you post in terms of pictures causes problems," Dr. McGarrah said.

The internship, or college of your kids' dreams, monitors social media, and they might not like what they see.

"On a much smaller basis, there's been friendships lost and relationships lost and reputations hurt," Dr. McGarrah said.

Dr. McGarrah said you can't be there 24-7 to hold your kid's hand, or smart phone.

"But you can talk to them. I think parents should talk to them about that just like they would talk to them about smoking, drinking, drugs," Dr. McGarrah said.

So, is it okay for parents to snoop?

McGarrah says many do monitor, but be up front about it.

"They need to know that at any time you can say, 'I'm going to check your history', and the child knows it. It's not a secret, it's not a spying. It's a very open communication, and it's for their protection," Dr. McGarrah said.

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