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Privacy at Home

Dear Sam, ​ There is no such thing as privacy in my home. My parents can walk into my room any time without my permission or knocking. I dont feel this is fair as i am a teenager and need my personal space. My parents take my phone or my devices without asking me and when i ask where they are they say that they have them. I dont like them doing this at all and if i ever ask them to ask my permission they say that they are my elders and have the right. I could be doing homework or chilling or even getting changed and my mum would just stroll in and ask me something. I get frustrated each time it happens but i can't say anything.My mum always looks through my phone asking questions about each and every thing invading my space. As soon as one of my parents see me on a device they wanna take it off me. It's like they can't bear me using it. It's so annoying i wanna scream. I hate this so much.Don't i have the right to my own personal space and privacy? Any advice?

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Sam

Hi there,

Your parents might have different views to you about privacy and personal space and that can make it difficult to know what your rights are. As you grow older it’s important to have some privacy, especially at certain times like when you’re getting changed, when you’re studying or when you want time alone.

When you live at home your parents or carers have the right to set rules they want you to follow and you have the right to ask about anything you don’t understand. There might be rules about when you can use your device, how long you can use it for and at what times. If you break the rules you might have your device taken off you for a period of time or you could be grounded. All families are different and some families have fewer rules than others, but it can be hard to know what to do if you don’t know what the rules are or if the rules often change.

It can help by not saying something straight away when you feel angry or upset about what someone else has done. Take a few deep breaths to feel calmer. Then you could write down what you want to say and how you’re feeling. Try to be specific - it might be that you’re feeling confused about why your phone has been taken away, frustrated that you don’t know when you’ll get it back or embarrassed that someone walked in to your room while you were getting changed.

It can also help to tell your family that something has upset you. When you’re ready you could ask to talk to your parents and explain that you’re finding some things difficult. It’s good to ask them what they are worried about so that you can show them you are aware of the dangers that exist online. If you can try to understand why they don’t feel able to give you privacy then it’s a starting point for coming to a compromise.

Try offering some solutions like you’ll not use your phone while you’re having dinner and you’ll turn it off before bed. Explain things from your point of view but be prepared to listen to what they have to say too and ask whether they would consider a change or a compromise so that you know what to expect from each other.

Thank you for your letter. Remember, you can talk to a counsellor at Childline about this or anything else that’s worrying you.

Take care,

Sam

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