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Argument with my mum over privacy

the past few days me and my mum havent said a word to eachother and it was driving me crazy with anxiety. so right before i went to my dads i asked her what was up. i was aware already she‘d been snooping around on my instagram account without permission. and it had been making me so mad but she instantly got mad and told me to go to my dads as it wasnt something she could tell me quickly. she had been reading my messages with my best friend and boyfriend ..she also said she was really upset with me. im terrified to go home. because i know whatever she says will really hurt me or even affect my relationships. she shouldnt be able to invade my privacy like that as me and my friends talk about really sensitive and upsetting topics. plus its a totally invasion of my privacy. she must of found my password and changed it as i cant change it back. this is besides the point though. im scared to go home and i dont know what to do. help....

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Parents have a responsibility to keep you safe. This might mean they need to see some of what you do and say online. But it’s also important that you have some amount of privacy and can be yourself without worrying about what your parents might think. It's difficult to get a balance between these things but the best way to do it is to talk about it and come to an understanding.

Social media is public but can also be very private at the same time. It may be that you want to share that part of your life with friends and strangers but not your family. You aren't doing anything wrong if you feel this way, it's natural to want to experiment with different social styles away from your parents.

If you have private messages on platforms like Instagram I can see why you'd want these to be private as they’re personal conversations. It can feel like you have been violated when someone reads your diary or listens in on a private chats. When we’re talking to someone we choose what we’re saying because they’re the only person listening. If someone else reads or listens, it can feel like they’ve stolen something from you.

Parents may want to know who you’re talking to online and what you’re saying. This is often because they want to make sure you’re safe and that the people you’re talking to aren’t going to harm you in any way. As you get older you may feel this isn’t unnecessary. But they might feel the risk you might talk to someone dangerous increases.

The best way to solve this conflict is to talk and come to a compromise. Understanding what your parents want and making sure they know what you want is the first step. Once you both understand each other and how you feel you can then start to work out how best to balance your privacy and your mum knowing you’re safe. One way of doing this might be that you talk to your mum about your online friends more and try not to keep secrets from her if she agrees not to read the details of your conversations.

I hope that this has helped you decide what to do next, but if you want to talk it through with a counsellor Childline is here for you.

Take care.


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