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I was sitting in church when I heard the best idea, during a sermon. It is really so brilliant because I have worried so many times about letting our kids have e-mail accounts or Instagram account or Facebook, etc…

Now, our kids are still young (you can see them here), so it isn’t a worry for me just yet, but it’s not too far in our future.

Do this first

Go ahead and set them up their account.

The key to this:

YOU keep the password.  
Your kids do not know it.  

To keep them from logging in automatically, be sure to log them out each time when they are finished and do not check that little box that says “Remember my password.”   This would defeat the purpose of knowing their secret password.  The reason that I love this idea is that it lets you control what is happening.

You will go in before they do and you will go through their account, to be sure that it is safe for them to read.  Check their e-mail messages, check their Facebook messages, check the pictures that they are about to look at, no matter who or what is in the picture.

I know that some parents will say that this is a breach of privacy, but honestly, in this day and age, I really don’t want them to have this kind of privacy.  If they are afraid for me to see something, chances are they should not be reading it in the first place.   It is my job to stop them from doing or reading anything now that will impact their future in a negative way.

You are being their protector &  their parent, so do not feel bad about doing this… it is your job to keep them safe. 

becky & jack

So, when they ask you for the password- what do you do?

Ask them a few questions of their own first…
1- ‘Will you be able to resist checking an inappropriate spam e-mail that is titled “Take a look inside of my dorm room”?’
2- ‘Will you be able to resist the urge to gossip about someone when you get a message saying “Did you hear what ___ did today?  What do you know about it?”‘
Chances are they will not be able to answer yes… yet.   Give them a few more years.

When they ARE ready for it, give them one rule:

YOU MAY NEVER CHANGE THIS PASSWORD UNTIL YOU HAVE MOVED OUT OF THE HOUSE (or gotten married or turned 18… whatever you decide to be the best choice for your child).


Because you have the power to make the password whatever you want, so you can make it something that will be ingrained into their thoughts.   It will stay with them every day.  They will be typing it over and over, saying it in their minds as they type it.

At church, the password example was JESUS IS LORD.   Every day, the children had to type this and remember it.   You could do something similar or something like “MY FAMILY LOVES ME.”   or “I MAKE GOOD CHOICES.”  You get the idea, I’m sure.

In the end, just remember that it is our job to protect our children and we need to take that job seriously. This is just one more way to do it.

Since posting this, I get one question over and over… “What is to stop them from making an account themselves?”

My answer is simple – I don’t know.  I don’t know how to stop it. I just hope that I can.  I always monitor what they do.  Mickey and I can’t be everywhere with all four of them.  We can’t do it all, but we have raised our kids as well as we know how so that I hope that I am teaching them to trust and obey us.

A group of people sitting in the grass posing for a picture.

I have also made it very clear that I have full access to everything: iPods, computers, etc…  I will continue to have access to these things.   I check their iPods every day, without warning, whenever I like.  They are not to take them into their room (they are all charged in the kitchen in the day or in our bedroom at night).

Their friends’ parents are the same way, so I can trust that they know this when they go to a friend’s house.   Maybe when they are older, it will be harder, but then my job to keep them safe will be more necessary than every before.   In the meantime, teach them to use these social media platforms.  If you aren’t teaching them, someone else is.  Be their first teacher… even before they have an account.

A group of people standing on a beach.

If you liked this post, I would love to have you join my weekly e-mail list, where I send you a free e-mail every week with encouraging tips.♥

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I’m not sure, but have you watched the movie Men, Women, Children (2014)? It gives you a new point of view and it will sure make you think about what your post is talking about.

    I hope you’ll give it a try and watch it. I’m reccomending it.

    Kind regards, Naja

  2. My kids are young and I know that I have a little while before worrying about this. But kids are getting online younger and younger. I think keeping their password helps keep them accountable. Great tips! Thanks for sharing

  3. I also made it so that EVERY email my daughter sends AND receives gets forwarded to me. It’s helped maintain damage control while we transition into the teenage years.

  4. Yeah, I’d just go to a friend’s house and create my own e-mail that’s free from prying eyes and that I could use whenever I want to do whatever I want. I’m sure most kids would soon figure out that tactic as well.

    1. I’d like to think that their parents would stay on top of that, or that our kids would have enough respect for us to NOT do this.

  5. The one thing I think is missing from this particular discussion is the rules and guidelines of each of these platforms (not that is says to break them either). Most platforms say you can’t have an account until you are 13, yet I have had many students at young as 2nd grade (that I know about) who have their own Facebook, etc. – under guidance or not. The point of the article is invalid we we are allowing things that are outside of the given rules.

  6. Great article, Becky! This is such a relevant topic to parents- it’s critical that we as parents own the responsibility of teaching our kids social media and the appropriate protocol around it. Not only to protect them from cyber predators and becoming bullies or victims or bullies- but also to help them understand what IS ok to post/share on public social media so that colleges and employers will like what they see when they look at their social media profile prior to offering them a spot. I’m a mom of 17 and 13 year old girls and founded a private social media platform called Frienedy ( Totally free- check it out, would love feedback. I created it because I know kids are on social media at a younger age, and we needed a “training grounds”/safe place for them to learn and make mistakes without it coming back to haunt them down the road. We also need to have a private place as parents/families to share photos, events and conversations that we don’t want to put out in our public ‘friend sphere’! The idea is share in small private groups- completely off the search engine grid. Would LOVE your thoughts and feedback!!

  7. great ideas! but most schools will now give kids their own email addresses. my son got one last year (when he was in 6th grade). i didn’t even know he had one until long after he got it. we are really close, but it just wasn’t something he mentioned. i did have to sign something at the beginning of the year allowing him to use the internet at school for research and such. i’m not concerned (at this point) about the email address. he is aware that i can and will check his phone whenever i want. i really am not worried about invading his privacy. i am more concerned about making sure he’s safe, and nothing inappropriate is going on.

  8. It’s so hard to manage that delicate balance between giving your children privacy and letting themselves get into serious trouble online. Tweens and young teens need monitoring because they don’t always make good decisions – and they’re easily influenced by others. I don’t think it’s wrong to monitor your kids’ online activity during these years. Have discussions about what’s appropriate to share online – and also about the repercussions that follow if you make a mistake.