Nearly half of parents spy on kids' Facebook pages

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some parents are on Facebook to stay in touch with new and old friends. Others say they opened their account so they could spy on their kids' social media activities.

Amanda Carlin monitors her son's Facebook page and says he doesn't mind.

"Mainly with Facebook, I check it once or twice a week," Carlin said.

Carlin is among of a growing number of parents keeping an eye on their children's social media communications. A study by Education Database Online found that 43 percent of parents look in on their children's Facebook pages daily.

Channel 4's crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson says parents should do this, and have every right to monitor their children's online activities.

"They can't be allowed to say, 'You're invading my privacy,'" Jefferson said. "The parents have paid the cost to be the boss, to invade your privacy at anytime… as long as they're under your roof, that's they're responsibility."

She said policing her Cole's page was a non-negotiable item when her son wanted to create a Facebook account.

Carlin says she primarily looks for discussions and photos about sex, drugs and alcohol.

"I check his messages; I go through whoever he is speaking to -- I know most of them," Carlin said. "Usually, we don't have a problem. We've had a couple of times when we've had a problem."

While Channel 4 was with Carlin, she found something the caused her concern -- a direct message Cole sent a friend.

"Obviously, a joke that Cole sent," Carlin said. "But it's got some explicit language that I don't like."

While Cole says while he doesn't exactly enjoy his mom's prying eyes on his page, he says he doesn't have anything to hide.

"Sometimes, when they judge on some of my funny moments -- kind of like kid humor that only teenagers would know -- they don't understand it, and they tell me to take it down," the Fletcher High School student said.

Jefferson recommends parents back off the monitoring once their child turns 18 and is considered an adult, or when they move out of the house.

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