Is Snooping on Teenagers Ever O.K.?

Excerpt from this article:

Helpfully, recent research calls into question the utility of snooping and suggests better approaches for parents who are concerned that something might be amiss.

Adults who suspect their adolescent is up to something may feel compelled to cross privacy boundaries, but research on Dutch families found that the teenagers of prying parents weren’t misbehaving any more than those whose parents didn’t snoop. Notably, the same study instead linked parents’ snooping to their worries about the strength of their relationship with their teenager. According to Skyler Hawk, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, “the act of snooping seems to say more about what the parents are feeling than what their kids are doing.”

For parents who find themselves fretting about their connection to their teenagers, a new study in the Journal of Adolescence suggests that snooping is unlikely to make things better.

…“When parents engage in behaviors that teenagers see as privacy invasions,” Dr. Hawk said, “it backfires because parents end up knowing less.”

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