Last updated on 01/11/09
At what point do safety measures invade a child’s privacy?
As children get older, their desire for privacy becomes greater. They often want more time on their own and spend more time in their bedroom. Many parents and teens do not see eye to eye on the topic of teen rights to privacy. Many parents feel they have the right to look through their teenagers rooms and to check up on them. However, that approach can cause more problems than solutions.
Just as adults need and expect privacy, teenagers certainly deserve it for themselves. They have private thoughts, conversations and there is no reason parents need to be privy to everything. Parents who have healthy relationships with their teens can find out what their child is doing by talking and listening to them and spending time with their children.
Certainly, if something bigger is going on, they may not share it, but unless you feel their lives are truly in danger, respecting a teen’s right to privacy is important. If you do feel your child may be using drugs or is depressed, talk to them about it. If you think your conversation still warrants checking their belongings, do it together and do it in a caring manner, rather than fighting and accusing.
If you decide to snoop around and then confront your child with what you find, it can get explosive and that does not help anyone. In addition, the focus can easily be shifted from the actual problem to the fact that their privacy was invaded. Approach this in an open way and it will more likely come to a better resolution.
In the Jewish Community
Recently, there has been an increased awareness about the existence of problems such as alcohol and drug abuse in the Jewish community. Although awareness is extremely important and is the first step in treatment, it is equally important to respect a child’s right for privacy. With open communication, parents will not feel the need to search a child’s room or listen in to telephone conversations.
Use the following links to educate yourself about your child’s right to have privacy. Learn how to balance safety and privacy, and find out where you can get help.
Frequently Asked Links
How can a GPS keep kids safe?
Do parents have the right to track their children with a GPS?
Should parents eavesdrop on their children’s phone conversations?
Can I read my child’s diary to find out information?
What are some of the dangers of searching a child’s room?
Can I break my child’s trust in order to help her?
By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Why do teens need privacy?
How can I balance my teen’s safety and his right to privacy?
How can I balance teen privacy and internet monitoring?
How much privacy do teens need?
Should teens have their own rooms?
By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Can parents set limits to a teen’s demands for privacy?
What should I do if I suspect my child is doing drugs?
Compiled by Rabbihorowitz.com
Connecting With Your Preteen
As your preteen becomes more independent, staying connected may seem like more of a challenge. However, it is as important as ever – maybe even more so now. Here are some tips.
Talking to Your Child About Drugs
Just as you inoculate your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help "immunize" them against drug use by giving them the facts now.
A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
You have lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the back-to-school blues. So why is the word "teenager" causing you so much anxiety?
Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community
Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) mission is to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them. Among their many activities, NCMEC also operates a CyberTipline that the public may use to report Internet-related child sexual exploitation.
Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.