What the experts say
Published 12/02/2013 | 06:00
Parenting blogger Caitriona Redmond (wholesomeireland.com) says parents should check their children's texts and messages.
She says: "You have to hold your child's hand while they're learning to cross the road but eventually they'll be able to do it on their own.
"It's the same with messaging, you should be clear that you will be checking them at first, but as they gain your trust and get more confident there should be less need to monitor what they're doing."
Instead of considering privacy and internet independence a right, it should be gradually earned.
"Think of it like earning the key to the front door, it's a rite of passage," says Redmond.
Family clinical psychotherapist Joanna Fortune (Solamh.ie) agrees.
She says: "Mobile phones, email accounts and social-media accounts are not the same as a diary or personal letters (which shouldn't be read without your child's consent) because they put children in touch and in direct communication with a wide range of information and people in a way a diary does not.
"If your child is spending a lot of time texting or on social media on their phones, ask what it's about," advises Fortune.
"If the answer isn't satisfactory then ask to see the phone and explain you are going through their messages because you're worried about their safety, not to breach their privacy."