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As children get older, they need more privacy and more personal and psychological space.

This is because they are dealing with big teenage challenges, like working out what kind of person they are. They are also gaining new physical and thinking skills, and developing new interests. Part of becoming a grown-up is learning to handle these challenges with independence and responsibility.

Whether it’s as extreme as reading their diary or as subtle as checking browser history, invasions of privacy generally aren’t tolerated. It’s rare to find someone who will defend these actions. Yet to this day, some parents still insist that they have every right to do this simply because it’s their child.

There is some logic behind this mindset. In general, a parent does and should have authority over their child, and it makes sense that parents would want to keep themselves informed about their children’s lives. However, prying into anyone’s lives without consent is a clear overstepping of boundaries. Wanting more privacy and time alone doesn’t necessarily mean they have something to hide. Secrecy goes along with the development of independence.

If a parent were to invade their child’s privacy all the time, the child would likely never tell them anything freely again. After all, if a parent can’t be trusted to respect the most basic of boundaries, then how can that same parent be trusted with any personal information in the future?

Parents want their children to trust them with personal information; children want their parents to respect their privacy. If they don’t trust their parents with information, the parents are less likely going to respect their privacy. If parents don’t respect their children’s privacy, their children will lose trust in them. It all boils down to trust and respect.

More importantly, when a parent breeches their kid’s privacy in such a manner, it assures that their child continues to see the need for privacy. Bottom-line is: prying into a child’s life 24/7 is the fastest way to make sure they never want to share anything ever again.

That said, it would be rude to make it seem that all parents who refuse to respect their children’s privacy are downright cruel. From a parents’ perspective, it usually isn’t an issue of privacy at all, but rather an issue of protection. After all, it is a parent’s job to watch over their children, and its difficult to protect someone without first knowing what’s going on in that person’s life.

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Shaavetha Mohankumar, Grade 9, Cambridge International School, Dubai Image Credit: Supplied