Privacy, Parents, and Their Effects on Growing Teens


Source: Esteban Diaz- Editorial Cartoonist

By Braynon Gay

    As children enter their teen years, they develop an increased need for privacy that not all parents are able to respect. With their bodies growing and changing as well as going through a period of self-discovery, not every young adult is comfortable with their parents barging into their lives or demonstrating overbearing behavior. Having privacy and developing more freedom are a necessary part of growing up for teenagers to gain individuality and the skills to be a functioning adult.  
    According to an article titled “Why Teens Need Privacy From Their Parents” published on the website Very Well Family, < >, “When teens are given the privacy they need, it helps them become more independent and builds their self-confidence.”  
Experiences with Lack of Parental Privacy 
   Many teens have experienced having their privacy violated by their parents. An anonymous male freshman stated that once in the 6th grade his parents began looking through his phone and the photos on it to make sure he didn’t have anything inappropriate despite him not being a badly behaved child.  
   Sophomore T. Rodriguez stated, “My parents tend to barge in on me continuously. I ask them to stop as every time they’ve barged in, I’ve never been doing anything wrong or that would be a cause for concern, yet they ignore my pleas. They would also snatch my phone and read through my messages, taking a joke out of context. In addition, I always have my little sister in my room, but my parents don’t do anything about getting her out or get mad if I kick her out for privacy. 
   An anonymous female sophomore spoke fondly about a time where her mother thought she heard her speaking on the phone with someone upstairs when she was in fact working on math problems out loud. When her mother asked whom she was speaking to, the girl honestly said,no one” resulting in her mother asking to see the call logs on her phone. The call logs showed that she hadn’t spoken to anyone but her mother that day, yet her mother went on to look through her phone gallery and socials without reason, despite only asking to see her call log. Her mother read through her texts with friends causing her to feel violated, hurt, and as though her mother was just looking for something to be angry or argue about.  
How Lack of Privacy can Make Growing Teens Feel 
   After his privacy was invaded when his parents went through his phone, one anonymous male freshman stated that he “felt extremely uncomfortable.” He originally thought that his parents trusted him with that stuff, but the violation of privacy proved otherwise.  
   Sophomore T. Rodriguez felt as though she was unable to trust her parents with personal issues or venting due to the lack of respect for her privacy. These experiences made her feel as though she had to be extra sneaky and hide stuff from them because they might get mad if she told them, starting a full-blown argument.  
   Another anonymous female sophomore whose mother took the lock off her bedroom door stated, “When my parents stripped away my privacy, I learned to be more secretive and lie better. I’d share less information with them out of fear that they’d be upset with me.” 
   Ms. Wilson, an English teacher here at Miami High and a mother of two (one biological son and a stepson), feels that children deserve as much privacy as possible which should only be broken when their safety is at risk. She stated, “Providing growing children with no privacy in the long run causes them to close up to their parent in response. Then when the child is going through a situation where they should reach out to an adult to help, they won’t feel as though their parents are someone they can reach out to. Without feeling like they have anyone to lean to, or rely on, the child may go down the wrong path in life.” 
How Lack of Privacy can Affect Growing Teens in the Long-Run  
   Not only can lack of privacy and trust between a growing teen and their parent cause turmoil in their relationship and negative emotions, but it can also cause long term harm mentally. According to an article titled “Loss of Privacy Has Four Psychological Effects” published on the website for Houston Radio Station KTRH, “When people know they are being watched or monitored they may not share their true feelings with each other and hence, the dynamics of inter-personal relationships can change. Also, when people know that they don’t have privacy, they tend to distrust each other, and trust is a fundamental component of any healthy relationship.” 

Some Examples of Invasions of Privacy: 

  • -Reading personal messages/texts belonging to someone else without probable cause 
  • -Taking pictures or videos of someone else purposefully without their consent 
  • -Entering someone else’s private space before knocking without probable cause 
  • -Snooping through someone else’s space without probable cause 
  • -Tracking/following someone without probable cause
  • -Entitlement to know everything about another person/constant pushing or interrogation without probable cause 

If you ever feel your privacy is being invaded, don’t be afraid to speak up no matter the person!!