Reading Teen’s Text Messages – Privacy Violation or Parents’ Right?

Reading Teen’s Text Messages – Privacy Violation or Parents’ Right?

Controversial public views on teens’ privacy are in balance. This was brought to light in the course of a survey, held by Meetville (dating app to find the right person), between 10/10/14 and 12/1/14.

33,850 voters have given their answer to the following question: “Should parents be allowed to read teens’ text messages?” We have seen a balance in responses, 48% – No, 52% – Yes. From the USA – 54%, from Canada 5%, from Britain – 12%, Australia – 7% and other countries – 22%.

Many parents monitoring their children’s messages without taking into consideration that teens have right to privacy. Cynthia Measom, an article writer, states: “In a perfect world, before giving your child a cell phone or other device that allows her to send text messages, you would determine that she’s ready for the freedom that comes with it. Once you decide she is ready, you would trust her to use the device appropriately, without interference. In reality, some parents believe it’s their right to read their child’s texts. However, invading your child’s privacy without justification might jeopardize your child’s development and result in unwanted behaviors.”

Doctors tend to think that violation of teens’ privacy may cause serious problems in the future. Dr. Steve Schlozman, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, points out: “Adolescents need to know you trust them to make good decisions. Your faith builds their confidence to take age-appropriate risks — ask someone out on a date, audition for the play, offer a political opinion.”

Alex Cusper, Meetville service analyst, thinks that this issue is a very tricky one. On the one hand you feel a duty to protect your children, but on the other hand, teens have right to privacy. All parents face this problem sooner or later, but there is no totally right decision, everything depend on your children personality, age and behavior.


Meetville, a leading mobile dating service, regularly conducts research among its users. Millions of people from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia answer hundreds of questions every month. You can find the results of the poll here. If you are interested in research on a particular topic, please contact us. Any reprint of the material should be followed by clickable links to the survey.

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