How Parents Monitor Their Kids With Gadgets

“Felt like a pet on a leash.”

How parents monitor their kids with gadgets

There are many devices and mobile apps on the market that allow parents to monitor what their children are doing: what sites they visit, where they go for walks. Some programs even allow you to listen to children’s conversations. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of parents in the U.S. admit that at least once they have viewed calls and messages on their children’s cell phones. 39 percent of parents have used special apps to monitor and limit their Internet activity, and 16 percent have used gadgets to monitor their child’s geolocation. “The Cold” tells us how children live with their relatives constantly being monitored and how surveillance apps affect relationships within the family.

This text was produced by The Cold, an independent publication. Subscribe on social media: Telegram, Facebook, Instagram.

“Two years ago I became afraid of my mother,” says Natalia (name changed at the request of the heroine). – All day long I thought that maybe right now she was watching me and listening to what I was saying.” Natalia is 16 years old and lived in Nizhnevartovsk until recently. She recalls: ever since she was little, her mother tried to control what she was doing, where she went, and with whom she communicated. “She would take away my cell phone,” Natalia says.

– “She would read my correspondence, check my browser search history, look at pictures. If my mother didn’t like the words her daughter was using in her messages, she would make remarks. Images that seemed inappropriate she could delete. When Natalya went out with friends, her mother often called and texted her to find out where she was and if anything bad had happened to her. Such concern was exhausting, but Natalia tried to be understanding. “My mom just always worried about me too much,” she says.

“When I was 14 years old, my mom installed an app on my phone that could keep tabs on me,” the girl recalls. – “She didn’t ask my permission, she just downloaded the app. It turned out that with the app, her mother could track Natalia’s geo-position around the clock and listen through the speaker to what was going on around her daughter – how she answered in class and what she was talking about with her friends.

“After school I would go for a walk with my friends, and my mother would start calling and questioning me: why I wasn’t going home, who I went with, where I went,” Natalia recalls. – I was constantly worried, I was afraid to go anywhere at all. If in a conversation with friends Natalia used words that her mother thought were bad, there was a serious conversation waiting for her at home. “I started hiding my phone deeper in my backpack or, conversely, holding it in my hands and constantly clamping the speaker with my finger,” she says. – Even through the app, my mom could record my phone conversations and then listen in. It was so unpleasant that I stopped talking to my friends on the phone.”

Natalia no longer went out with friends after school or talked on the phone

According to Natalia, constant conflicts started in the family. She asked her mother to delete the app, convinced that it was not normal. Her mother answered that everything she was doing was for the good of her daughter. “On top of everything else, the program also worked malfunctions,” Natalia recalls. – For example, I came home and called my mother. She doesn’t believe I’m home because the app shows my geo-positioning in a different place. It could show me in the middle of the day that I had left school somewhere. My mom would fight, and I would tell her: “Call the teachers and ask them to confirm that I didn’t go anywhere.”

This went on for about six months. According to Natalia, she began to feel that she was being watched all the time. She was uncomfortable even at home – it seemed that she could not be alone anywhere. “I became very nervous,” she recalls. – Unpleasant feelings in the chest area appeared. Sometimes I suddenly had a strong sense of panic just for no reason.”

Natalia no longer went out with friends after school or talked on the phone. After about six months, her mother stopped actively following her daughter’s life – it became clear that nothing unusual was going on in her. Gradually she completely forgot about the app, and Natalia deleted it without telling her anything. But even now, several years later, she still doesn’t like talking on the phone or broadcasting her geo-position to her friends on messengers.

“Now I’ve gone to another city to study,” Natalia says, “so my mom doesn’t control me anymore, it’s become useless. But although the story with the app is in the past, it seems to me that the relationship with my mother will no longer be the same. I will never be able to trust her the way I used to. According to Natalia, she no longer wants to be honest with her mother. “Why tell the truth if she doesn’t believe me anyway, but an app that makes mistakes?” – she reasoned.

“My care and your freedom.”

The app Natalya’s mother used is called Where Are My Children. It is a Russian application, which is now used in dozens of countries. It has 1.2 million active users worldwide, and the number of downloads on Google Play has exceeded 10 million.

“Where Are My Children Works in tandem with another app, Pingo. The first is installed on the parent’s phone, the second on the child’s phone. The apps allow parents to see where their child is and monitor the battery level on their phone. With the app, a parent can send a loud signal to their child if they are muted or can’t hear the call. “If your child has Android, there are a few other interesting features available to you,” the app’s website says. – “Recording your child’s cell phone conversations and recording the sounds around them, as well as a weekly report of the time in that particular smartphone app. These features are not available on Apple devices. As explained in the company “Refresh”, which developed the application, “the function is not available in Apple smartphones, because the manufacturer prohibits the control of their devices from other devices with the development of third-party companies.

According to the creators, the app should help parents whose young children go to school or for walks on their own. The creator of the program, Vadikh Giniatulin, is confident that parents who know where their children are will be less likely to call them and ask, “Where are you?” He says that in creating the app, he also took care of children’s interests – the program is designed so that it cannot be installed on a child’s phone without his or her knowledge. “You have to talk to your child and say, ‘This is not total control or dictatorship, but my care and your freedom,'” the entrepreneur says. – I’ll have more information, and I’ll worry less, call you less often, and let you go out longer. The less excitement, the fewer restrictions.”

The materials on the “Where Are My Children” app’s website say that installing the program should be voluntary. The authors say that “, for example, more than 700,000 children have already agreed to install the Pingo app.

Parents are advised not to use wiretapping and recording of conversations if children are more than 12 years old. The authors of the materials emphasize that these features are needed for emergency situations where a child may be in serious danger, rather than to constantly monitor them. Parents are encouraged to discuss with their children which app features they want to turn on and which they want to turn off. “Wiretapping is a major stumbling block in parents’ attempts to negotiate with their children about installing the app. If a child is adamantly opposed to this feature, don’t insist. Better yet, suggest that he or she work with you to turn off the listening function in the settings,” the site says. But in practice, many parents use the app very differently.

“When I was 12 years old, my parents saw an advertisement on YouTube for the ‘Where are my kids’ app and decided to install it,” says Oksana (name changed) from Moscow. – They said it was for safety, so I agreed. But my parents didn’t tell me it could be used to listen in on conversations.

Oksana says that one day she was coming from school with her girlfriends. On the road they were discussing lessons and about teachers. “I seldom use profanity, but on that occasion I couldn’t help it and swore a couple of times,” says Oksana. – And then I got a message from my mom: she warned me that she was going to have a serious talk with me at home.

It turned out that my mother had heard the entire conversation. “They took away my cell phone,” says Oksana. – They read all my correspondence, deleted my social media accounts. My mom told me for a long time that swearing is very wrong, and she took away my smartphone for five months.” When the sentence expired and her parents gave the phone back to Oksana, they continued to monitor her movements and listen to her conversations. There were frequent quarrels in the family because of this. Oksana says that now it was difficult for her to communicate with her friends as freely as before. She was always thinking that she could be bugged. Because of this, she began to feel superfluous in the companies. According to her, she “lost touch with her friends” and felt lonely.

A year and a half ago Oksana noticed that she felt strange. She says that she began to experience frequent unreasonable anxiety, she began to have obsessive thoughts. “I became very demanding of myself,” she recalls. – It became as if I was preoccupied with the order around me, constantly arranging and putting everything in its place.” During a routine physical examination, the psychiatrist said Oksana had OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which a person has obsessive thoughts or actions. Many experts believe that people who have severe anxiety or suffer from depression are at risk of developing OCD. Most often, this disorder first manifests itself when a person experiences severe stress and difficult events.

“I studied with a psychologist,” says Oksana. – We sorted out special techniques to reduce anxiety. Now I feel much better, my disorder no longer gives me serious difficulties. Although at first, when the symptoms first appeared, it was hard.

Oksana’s parents, after talking to the psychiatrist, decided that their daughter’s psychological difficulties arose because of her heavy study load and extra classes. “I do study a lot,” she says. – But I think the wiretapping app also affected my condition. Anyone would get frustrated if they were being monitored.”

Oksana is now 14 years old. The “Where are my kids” app is still installed on her smartphone. But over time, her parents stopped tapping her. “I’m a homebody,” she says. – I don’t go out that much. So there’s especially nothing to listen to.” Her parents keep checking what apps Oksana uses and how much time she spends on them. She says she is “used to this arrangement,” but still misses the days when there were no apps. “My parents used to be interested in me – asking me how I was doing and how my day was,” she says. – Now I feel more of a constant scrutiny than interest.”

“Parents are out of sorts.”

“Where Are My Kids” is one of the most popular parenting apps on the market, but it’s far from the only one. Today, there are about 600 apps that allow you to track your child’s location in one way or another and monitor what they are doing online and what programs they are using on their smartphone. In addition to apps, there are also built-in functions on mobile devices, services offered by telecommunications operators to users, and special options in computer operating systems.

Parental control software has been on the market since the 90s. One of the first parental programs, Net Nanny, was developed in Canada and began selling in 1995. It was a web browser that could filter content, block 18+ images and profanity. By the end of the 2000s, parental control features and applications were available not only on PCs and laptops, but also on mobile devices. In 2007, the American mobile operator Verizon offered its clients to use filters that block content that is not appropriate for children. In 2009, Apple began releasing smartphones with built-in parental control functions. Along with the development of GPS navigation in smartphones, applications that can not only filter content, but also track the location of the child became popular.

In 2008, the American application Life360 appeared – one of the most popular programs in the world, including parental control. Life360 allows you to keep track of where your relatives are. You can also send each other an SOS signal in an emergency situation. By 2018, the app had 18 million active users.

 I got a notification that you turned off geolocation. Please turn it back on.

In 2019, a big discussion around the app began on Reddit. In a thread titled “Parents Are Out of Mind,” there was a post with a screenshot of a correspondence between a student and his mom. “Don’t leave campus,” she wrote. – Set up the Life360 app so that it constantly tracks your geolocation.” The student replied that the feature was already enabled in the settings anyway. “I got a notification that you turned off geolocation,” the mother wrote. – Please turn it back on.” The author of the screenshot clarified that he was 18 years old and in college. The entry garnered more than 32,000 reactions and about 2,000 comments: many users said it was unethical to control adult children’s lives with the app.

Chris Hulls, the creator of the Life360 app, heard about this discussion and created his own thread on Reddit, where he offered to ask him any questions about the app. When asked how he felt about Life360 becoming a tool of psychological abuse for many parents, he replied that so far “these questions have not been raised.” In another response, he explained, “I understand that there are times when people abuse the app, but still, I am proud of what our team is doing. I myself and many others use the program because it makes life easier and gives peace of mind.” He later commented to The Washington Post and explained: in his opinion, people who talk about psychological abuse are just “a small group that doesn’t reflect the sentiments of the app’s core audience.”

Child clinical psychologist Irina Katin-Yartseva explains: if there are problems in the family because of parental apps and gadgets, the problem is not the gadgets. They are just tools, which can be used wisely, and can be used to your detriment and the child’s detriment. According to Katin-Yartseva, there is nothing wrong with tracking apps as long as they are used only for safety. “We all live in different cities and neighborhoods,” she says. – “There are places where the chances of being attacked are really high. But it’s quite different when parents use apps to keep their child under control at all times.

“There are times when a parent is not just worried about a child, but wants complete control over how they behave when they are outside the home,” the psychologist says. – This may be due to the parent’s high anxiety. Perhaps in some situation the person felt completely helpless, and it is so deeply rooted in him that he unconsciously tries to control everything around. It also happens that the child is not perceived as an individual. “In this case, the parent feels the child is part of himself,” Katin-Yartseva explains. – It seems natural for him to make all decisions for the child: how to communicate, with whom to be friends. This is a difficult situation for a child, and it can lead to unpleasant consequences. The person doesn’t learn to live independently, make decisions, he becomes quite defenseless. Those who are not used to controlling their own life may not learn to listen to themselves and to the signals of their body. According to the psychologist, in the future such a person has a greater chance of being in a dangerous situation than someone who is used to trusting himself.

If a child resists control, conflicts can start in the family. Eventually they may even lead to physical violence, either from the parents or from the child. A child who is tried to be controlled can become withdrawn, learning to lie masterfully. “The more a parent violates a child’s boundaries, the more severe the consequences can be,” Katin-Yartseva says.

Marina (name changed) from Engels believes that an excessive desire to control her daughter’s life is exactly what led her parents to install a tracking app on her phone. “I’m 17 years old, I’ve had the program for two years,” Marina says. – My parents listen to me and my sister almost every day through it. They often say that my sister and I behave in a ‘wrong’ way, that we laugh a lot and discuss Korean musicians. Marina explains that her parents don’t like that she’s “not serious. They say she should think about her studies and going to university instead of “discussing her Koreans.

Kristina (name changed) is 14 years old and lives in Yeisk. She says her mother made her install the app because she began to feel like her daughter was cheating on her. “I don’t know why,” Christina says. – We had a good relationship, I didn’t hide anything from her. Four years ago I got a stepfather, and for some reason he was always saying that I had “the wrong upbringing,” “I don’t know where I am, I don’t know who I am with. Gradually my mother began to think so, too.

Kristina recalls that a few months ago her mother began hinting to her that she was “hanging out with too many boys. She asked, “You know who does that, don’t you? You don’t want to be like that, do you?” Shortly thereafter, she saw an ad on YouTube for the “Where Are My Kids” app and decided to install it. “She didn’t use the wiretap,” Christina says. – But it was still awful. I’d go over to a friend’s house and she’d start calling me and asking me what I was doing there. If I couldn’t get online she’d get a notification and she’d call and yell and tell me to go home.

I think anyone would get depressed if they were constantly being watched. I’ve noticed that I’ve become very jumpy and tense myself.

Christina’s relationship with her mother soured. “Every time I would go somewhere, she would call and yell: “Why didn’t you tell me where you were going?” – Christina recalls. – I answered: “Why would I tell you when you can look for yourself?” Her mother often threatened to turn on the wiretap function and find out what her daughter was discussing with her friends. “I’m a normal kid,” Christina says. – I come home on time, help my parents. My friends don’t do anything objectionable. I’ve always had nothing to hide, I wasn’t afraid to tell my mom if I had a little alcohol, she knows I have a vape. I don’t understand why she became suspicious of me.”

Kristina argued with her mother, swore, and deleted the app several times, after which her mother decided to make an appointment for her daughter to see a psychiatrist because she had become “aggressive.” “The doctor diagnosed me with depression,” Christina says. – Prescribed pills. It seems to me that anyone will get depressed if they’re constantly monitored. I’ve noticed that I’ve become very jumpy and tense.

Anna (name changed) from Moscow was in a similar situation. “My mom overheard me playing ‘truth or dare’ with my friends using the app – I was talking about my orientation at the time,” she says. Anna is 14 and bisexual. She has told her mother about it before, and she reacted very strongly to it. When her mother overheard Anna talking to her friends, it became the occasion for another fight.

“I’ve had the app since February,” Anna says. – My mom is into mysticism, and one day she sent a picture of me to some friend, and she said that some drowned man was supposedly following me. My mom got worried, saying that I needed to be tracked, and suggested I get an app. I didn’t particularly resist at first – I didn’t realize how much trouble it would cause. Now, according to Anna, she cannot even go to the store to get lemonade – her mother sees her daughter in the supermarket and thinks she is buying energy drinks. Because of this, they quarrel. Once Anna suffered from insomnia and spent several nights on the Internet from her phone. Her mother found out about it through the app and scolded her.

“I felt bad, all the time it felt like my mom was bugging me, even when she promised she wouldn’t use the feature,” Anna says. – There was constant tension. Once I deleted the app, but my mom made me download it again. I got really hysterical. I showed my mom an episode of “Black Mirror” where the mother keeps watching her daughter with a microchip. But she just brushed me off, said: “Get your horror stories away from me.” Now Anna still has the app, but after a long argument with her mother, she managed to disable some of the features – her mother can no longer listen in on Anna’s conversations or look at the statistics of app usage.

Angela (name changed) from Sevastopol says her parents have been using different gadgets to know where she is and what she’s doing since she was little. “From the age of five, my sister and I wore watches with a GPS navigator and a wiretap,” she says. – It was up to my parents to decide who we could and couldn’t talk to. If we went out with friends, they demanded the names and phone numbers of everyone we would go out with. Angela says it made her feel superfluous in company. If the whole class went on a field trip or a holiday, her parents might not let her go.

“It seemed normal to me as a kid,” she says. – But then you get older and you realize that all your friends go out just like that, without navigators. They don’t have to give their parents all the information and phone numbers of their buddies. You start to feel like there’s something wrong with you.” She says that because of restrictions and parental control, she didn’t have many friends. She didn’t go on school hikes, didn’t participate in after-school activities, and her classmates simply forgot about her.

One day another tracking app malfunctioned and showed Angela walking around town during school hours. In fact, she was in school at the time. Her mother began calling her, the teachers, and even the school principal. “Everyone fussed, the class was disrupted,” Angela says. – It was very embarrassing in front of everyone. I fought a lot with my mom, told her I was going to throw the GPS watch away. She said she meant well and that I was ungrateful, so I ended up feeling guilty.

According to Angela, she gradually learned to lie to her parents and cheat on tracking apps and watches. For example, she would turn off the speaker and say it was audio interference. She turned off her GPS navigation for a while, having previously recorded her geo-positioning in a certain place. “My parents’ control had a big effect on me,” Angela says. – I got so used to lying all the time that it became part of my life. I could deceive strangers for no reason. Also, when I learned how to cheat on apps, I started to get crazy with freedom. I could hang out until about four in the morning, even though I had school in the morning.

Angela is now 14 years old. On her birthday, she had a serious talk with her parents and demanded that they remove the tracking apps and turn off the wiretaps. “They were swearing, saying, ‘You should thank us every day!” – she recalls. – But eventually they did agree to stop following me.” But even now, when Angela goes for a walk, she has to leave her parents her friends’ numbers and call every half hour to let them know she’s okay. “I have caring parents,” she says. – But I feel like a pet they put a collar on. The warm relationships, the sincere conversations, the sit-downs with my mom – we don’t have all that. It’s impossible in this environment. Angela firmly decided: after ninth grade she will go to college in another city and leave her parents, and she will not take her watch with GPS navigator with her.

The service is used not only by parents and their children, but by adults as well. Someone is going on a long business trip, someone is taking care of elderly parents

“Why am I doing this?”

Representatives of the company “Refresh” – the developer of the application “Where are my children” – in response to questions from “Cold” wrote: “To prohibit parents to take care of their children is impossible, but you can teach them to do it intelligently, without violating the rights of the child and not breaking his psyche. <…> We want children and parents to communicate more, build relationships with each other, negotiate and trust each other. According to the company, the article “How to get your child’s consent to be tracked with ‘Where are my kids'” has been read more than a million times on the app’s website, and the video “Stop yelling at your child!” has garnered 3.7 million views. Through this content, Refresh promotes “positive parenting principles” and teaches parents to “use the service wisely.”

In September, “Where Are My Children” became a hot topic of discussion on social networks. It started when several reviews appeared on its Google Play page in which users, who identified themselves as parents of teenagers, said they had beaten up their children after hearing what they were doing. Twitter users posted screenshots, and afterward, many teens began complaining that their parents were watching them.

Company officials say they are aware of teens criticizing the app and complaining about trespassing on social media. The written response from Refresh says, “This challange of kids telling stories about someone being beaten up by their parents began with two fake troll reviews on Google Play. A Twitter user nicknamed Little Dolphin posted screenshots of them as a próf and garnered a thousand reposts on the blatant fake. The tic-tac-toe kids decided to hype the topic and told the stories from the reviews as real. Thus, social media was flooded with fake stories about how someone got beaten up because of the app.” The company believes that many of the people who wrote such comments “had never been users of the app.”

The company emphasizes that it is impossible to install the Pingo app without a child noticing it. At any time he can prohibit the program access to GPS data and a microphone. At the same time, according to representatives of “Refresh”, these functions are not designed to constantly monitor the life of a child – they are needed for an emergency situation. “The service is used not only by parents and their children, but also by adults,” the company says. – Someone is going on a long business trip, worried about safety and wants his loved ones to always know where he is. Someone cares about elderly parents or other sick relatives who need supervision”. The company also said that the app recently helped parents in a Kazakh school find out that a teacher was swearing at their children during class and to sort out the situation.

“Parents who install tracking apps first need to answer themselves the question, ‘Why am I doing this?” – says child psychologist and Mental Health Center clinic specialist Evgeniya Chmutova. – If I’ve read horror stories about maniacs and death groups and experience heightened anxiety without any real reason, then I should deal with this problem. And listening to a child’s calls and conversations is a violation of his personal boundaries. Chmutova explains: healthy worrying is okay. GPS locator apps can be helpful. But it’s important to discuss with your child why you’re installing them. “You need to agree with him that you will not monitor his life,” says the psychologist. – “That it’s an app in case your child gets lost or you can’t get in touch with him. If a child is young, it’s worth teaching them to use the Internet safely and to reasonably limit the time they spend there, Chmutova said. But that doesn’t mean you can hack into his social networking page and read his correspondence. It’s better to ask his permission to add to his friends and try to build a trusting relationship – so that the child isn’t afraid to tell his parents if something happens.

“If a child is strongly controlled, read his correspondence, wiretapped, it always affects the life of the family,” the psychologist explains. – “It’s a signal to the child, ‘There’s something wrong with you, I don’t trust you.’ This can humiliate, offend and make the child angry. In such a situation it is unlikely that the child will ever tell his parents about his problems. Under such control, according to Chmutova, the child can develop anxiety, a feeling of loneliness, constant guilt, a feeling that he is always doing something wrong.

To find the line between care and control, the psychologist recommends answering yourself the question: is the child in real danger? “If you guess that the child has problems with classmates, that he is being bullied, you can ask him about it and ask him to take screenshots,” she explains. – If you see him drinking or taking drugs, it makes sense to impose some kind of restriction for a while. But you shouldn’t set up surveillance or read correspondence just to check something. This can only be allowed if there are very good reasons to think that the child’s life and health are in danger.

Many parents find that they manage not to cross the line by using tracking apps. “I have three sons,” says Evgeniya Nezheltseva from Zheleznogorsk. – The oldest is 12 years old, the middle one is 11, and the youngest is six. When the older child went to school, we got a smart watch so I could keep track of his movements. However, after six months my son said: “Enough total control,” and refused to wear the watch. Eugenia didn’t mind. A few years later, she decided to install the Family Link app, which monitors what apps her child uses and how much time he spends in them. “I installed it when I saw non-childish content on my son’s phone,” says Nezheltseva. – Now some apps are off-limits to him, and some he can spend limited time on. If I see that he plays a lot of online games I switch them off. Eugenia says she monitors who her sons correspond with and what sites they open. But she does not use wiretaps, as she thinks they are a humiliation for a child.

Anna Goryacheva from Saratov also has three children – two daughters and a son. Her daughters are 15 and 11 years old, and her son is seven. Goryacheva uses the Zenly app, which tracks their movements. “I explained to them that it wouldn’t affect their freedom in any way, the main thing is to respect the arrangements,” she says. – So they didn’t mind. In the app they can see where their parents are, too. There was no tension in our relationship; on the contrary, I started calling them less and asking where they were. According to Goryacheva, a couple of times she used the app to see her children skipping classes and talked to them about it. But no serious conflicts have arisen.

I keep track of what games they play. As a punishment, I can block their phones.

“They want to go out on their own, go to classes outside of school,” she explains. – I want them to go too, but I worry about them. When I explained this to them, they themselves agreed that everyone would be better off with an app.”

Evgeniya Dvoitsova from Ryazan installed the Family Link app for her ten-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. “They used to use my Google account: they posted videos on YouTube, subscribed to some bloggers that I didn’t really need,” she says. – I decided to create their own accounts for them, I indicated that I was creating them for children, and Google offered me to install the program along with the children’s account. Dvoetsova said that at first the kids didn’t mind – on the contrary, they were happy that their mom decided to get them their own accounts. But then they got upset and even started to get angry: it turned out that now only children’s YouTube is available to them, and their mother can control how much time they spend on different apps and block some of them. “I set the bedtime, so that from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the phone you can only call,” says Dvoitsova. – I keep track of what games they play. As punishment, I can block their phones. They say they hate Family Link and dream of removing it as soon as possible. But I try to explain to them why they need the app.

Dvoetsova says she has never used a wiretapping app because “it’s best when the child talks about their problems on their own.” On the other hand, she admits that in some situations “tapping is not an unnecessary measure, because teenagers are now accelerators and it is better to be aware of what they discuss with others and to be able to prevent unwanted consequences.”

As clinical psychologist Irina Katin-Yartseva explains, even if a parent has used the listening function, it should be discussed with the child. “For example, force majeure happened,” she says. – A child has left the yard, you can’t reach him or her and have no way to contact him or her, you have an unsafe neighborhood, and there’s every reason to worry that something might have happened. If you have a wiretap on for a while in such a situation, then it’s best to tell him about it and explain, “Sorry, I was really worried, and I had a wiretap on for a minute. Let’s agree on how we will act in such situations, so it won’t happen again. According to the psychologist, the main thing is to remember that the child is a subject, not an object. It is possible to come to an agreement with him or her and discuss the rules so that it does not infringe on his or her dignity. The main thing is to take care of his safety, and not to try to live his life for him.

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