Spying on your children's smartphones with apps is illegal

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Protection of the confidentiality and privacy of children and the right / duty of training and education on the part of parents: these are the two opposing positions to be taken into consideration when talking about technology, smartphones and surveillance.

In fact, the so-called "spy app”Which, once downloaded and installed on smartphones, allow you to spy on your children's cell phone. They range from the simplest, which allow you to locate the position via GPS, to the more complex ones, which allow you to listen to phone calls from another smartphone, read WhatsApp conversations or even activate the phone's microphone to hear what the person is. doing.

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The temptation for a parent to use them to monitor movements, conversations and photos of their children is certainly strong but we must be careful: use the "spy app"Can be a crime.

It is forbidden to use "spy apps"

As Paolo Parisi, lawyer of the City Court explains, "the issue is governed by the Del Paeseno Criminal Code, according to which anyone who illegally introduces himself to a computer or telecommunication system protected by security measures against the will of the owner is punishable". Likewise, it is forbidden to "read and violate any form of correspondence, closed or open, whether by letter, telephone or computer". As regards directly the "spy app", It is interesting to underline that the penal code forbids" to install equipment, instruments, parts of apparatuses or instruments in order to intercept or prevent telegraphic or telephone communications or conversations between other people ".


«From the reading of the articles of the Criminal Code, therefore - explains Parisi - the crime of secretly and illegally accessing IT systems and violating the correspondence of others. Similarly, it can be considered an abuse to sneak into other people's smartphones ».


Parents and children: there is no specific discipline

"In the event that access is made by the parents on a computer device in the possession of the minor child, a more particular field is entered: currently there is no specific discipline on the subject, but it is good to remember that the International Convention of Rights of the Child provides the protection of the rights of the child in its various aspects, including correspondence. In this context we are therefore faced with two interests equally protected by the Legal System of the Paeseno: the protection of the confidentiality of the child and the duty of education on the part of the parent ».

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«The topic will be addressed bearing in mind the degree of maturity of the children. It can be hypothesized that parents, in the context of the duty to take care of the training and education of their children, can access the computer devices of minors with discretion, in order to contribute to a progressive integral and harmonious growth of the individual also through the control on the correct use of smartphone, to avoid counterproductive excesses. It would be good to operate the control not through "spy app"Or secretly but with the collaboration of the children. In respect of the gradual growth of the personality of the children, favoring the progressive autonomy in the choices that contributes to the development of their maturity, it can be hypothesized that from a certain age (i.e. that of the emancipated minor: 16 years) it is appropriate to fully respect their sphere of confidentiality ".

Choose the path of dialogue

It is certainly not easy to manage the relationship with one's children and technology, to understand how to behave and how to behave while maintaining a spirit of understanding and openness on the one hand and carrying out one's educational task on the other. "The secret is dialogue", underlines Arianna Montagni, family mediator, clinical educator and pedagogist.

«Managing, giving rules and limits is certainly fundamental but it is not enough. To resolve the conflicts that arise we must understand what we are confronting with: otherwise it will be a constant battle with the children about the use of the smartphone regarding how much they can use it, what games to download, which groups to join or other. Parents must understand that their children, being digital natives, have a greater knowledge of this world, and in order not to be reduced to being a judge and a detective, they must act in advance, educating their children to live within this technology. We help children and young people by talking to them, we explain our fears, we define our resolutions. Behind every conflict there is a need and a conviction that moves an action and a behavior ".


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In a world where we are all connected, even children are increasingly living in technology and with the media at their fingertips. How to behave? What limits to set? When to intervene? Exist...

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  • Whatsapp
  • psyche
  • children education
  • spy app
  • children and technology
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