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Is Snooping on Teenagers Ever O.K.?

Adolescence comes with a thorny problem: Teenagers suddenly yearn for privacy just when their lives are expanding to include a range of risky new opportunities.

Whether or not they have something worrisome to hide, normally developing tweens often start to shut their bedroom doors and become cagey about their time online. And when teenagers act aloof, their parents often feel tempted, if not duty bound, to secretly search bedrooms and surreptitiously scan online activity to ensure that their child isn’t engaged with drugs, drinking or digital misdeeds.

Spying on teenagers, which most parents don’t actually do, belongs to the category of parenting tactics with which I deeply empathize and almost always counsel against.


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