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Mobile phone privacy

SheriL's picture

Hi everyone. New member here. After being a stepparent for 24 years across 3 relationships, 4 1/2 with current partner, I have finally reached a point of needing to seek support online.

I have som many issues but I will start with one that I cannot find any advice on through any method of searching online. 

My stepdaughter, 10, had a mobile phone but she does not respect privacy. She is constantly taking selfies and photos in bedroom which is shared with my daughter who is almost 14 and videos for posting on tik tok and has absolutely no awareness of what is going on around her and what could be captured on the pics/vids. My partner spoke to her about it last visit in front of birth mother who apparently agreed with him at the time and yet last night my daughter reports that she was taking pics in the bedroom after lights out, one specifically aimed at my daughter.

I have an issue with mobile and Internet security in general but getting the message across to this child is not happening. 

I told my partner it is at a point now where we should ban her from having her phone in the bedroom because last night when my daughter texted me to tell me he sneaked up but she heard him so put phone down so he didn't say anything even though, why would my daughter make it up? He says that when we move house next week it won't be as easy for her to hear him coming (I agree) but in other words I'm not going to ban her having her phone unless I catch her in the act in the new house.

I have asked him in the past when she was 9 to check her phone for photos she had taken as I wasn't happy with something I saw her doing but he refused saying he is not invading her privacy. Privacy? For a 9 year olds mobile phone activity? I pointed out she could be being groomed and he wouldn't know and he agreed but he won't invade her privacy to check what she gets up to online (bearing in mind that when we got to together my then 9 year old had never heard of YouTube, it was his then 6 year old daughter who showed it to her.

My partner gets very angry especially when I am complaining about his daughter, so if I were to just take her phone there would be hell and especially if I tried to force her to unlock it so I can check photos. 

He had 2 boys aged 11 and 14 as well but they are not a problem at the mo (they have their moments though) but I just come to loggerheads over his daughter because she is a spoiled little diva. 

Monkeysee's picture

Since your daughter is involved in the cross fire & SD’s ‘lack of awareness’, I’d make it really simple for him. Either he removes the phone from the room or I would. He might be ok with his kid posting inappropriate pictures of herself or being groomed online, but I would never allow my child to inadvertently be involved since they share a room. If an inappropriate picture of my child found it’s way online due to SD, I’d go absolutely ballistic.

You have a responsibility to your child to ensure her safety. Never mind how he reacts, that’s his problem. I wouldn’t negotiate on this whatsoever, as long as he allows this negligence & our kids are sharing a room, I’d take matters into my own hands. Though honestly I’d have a hard time staying with someone who had such little care for his child’s wellbeing in the first place. 

justmakingthebest's picture

What about a rule as simple as phones stay in public places in your home, no bedrooms or bathrooms? At night they stay on the counter for charging.

There has to be some kind of middle ground where your partner recognizes that this is an issue but doesn't totally take away her phone so she hates him, which, let's be real, is really his fear.

eta- this would become one of those deal breaker moments. Your job as a mom is to make sure your child is safe. If SD won't respect rules on privacy and you are concerned something has to happen. A new home where BD and SD have their own rooms? Or you may have to leave...  You are the only one to know what the right call is,  but you have to put your foot down for change.

Winterglow's picture

He's an idiot.

A 10 yo has no need for telephone privacy.

Make it a house rule that all phones are left downstairs at night/

tog redux's picture

Wonder if he will check her phone after she runs off with the 41-year-old sex trafficker she meets online?

I'm out's picture

No no no no, this is probably devastating for your daughter, I have a 14 year old DD myself and I know she would be horrified in this situation. Everything's embarrassing at that age and her biggest fear is probably being in a tik tok video to start with if she's anything like mine. Let alone the dangers.

For your daughter's sake I would stop SD sharing a room with her when she's over. Tell your oh that if he won't take the phone then SD should go sleep on the sofa, she clearly has no privacy boundaries and your DD did not choose this relationship so shouldn't have to deal with any negative effects from an unparented spoiled SD.

Thumper's picture

MY rule is mess with my bio's I have full and complete access to correct it.

There was a time i was not like this....oh but I am a very different person now.

Always always ALWAYS put your bios first before bm's kids or anyone elses. Never ever let a man OR a woman throw you off kilter so much so that you think you must tip toe.

(((my dh is wonderful--he 99percent of the time agreed with me. We really do think a lot a like. Thank God))))

I might go as far as having that phone pictures removed AND videos too.  JMO



flmomma08's picture

This sounds just like my DH. SD is 11 and we’ve been having the cell phone conversation for YEARS. I am like you, very concerned about online safety and DH just has his head in the sand about everything and apparently would rather his child be abducted and sexually assaulted than for her not to have a good time at daddy’s house. These men are pathetic. It’s really a waste of time. If the parents don’t care, there is nothing you can do. HOWEVER, since she is posting pics of your daughter that’s an issue. Maybe say she can’t take the phone to the bedroom and if they won’t comply with that then she isn’t allowed in the bedroom. You have to protect your own kid first and foremost. 

SheriL's picture

Thanks for the replies so far everyone but, hold up, some of you may have misunderstood slightly. 

I didn't say she is posting photos of my daughter online, I said she posts videos of herself of tik tok, which according to Google are only 15 second clips, like pulling trout pouts and stuff what I meant was she is not checking her surroundings first, ie I saw her replaying one where there was a photo of my child in the background. The overall point being I don't know what else she might have captured. And the fact he won't check her phone to check.

And then the slightly separate issue of her general use of phone, taking photos when I have repeatedly told her I don't want photos taken in the bedroom whether they are going online or not and getting her phone back out after lights out. 

I cannot stop her sharing room, with 3 bedrooms and 2 adults, 2 boys and 2 girls that's all bedrooms taken.

Also, every time this child does something, if I insist on punishment they all get punished instead of just her, it's as though he just can't simply tell her off directly. 

After 4 1/2 years together only a few months ago she deleted a photo of me off the ipad and my daughter told me. She denied it. He found it in deleted items and confronted her. She burst into tears and said sorry daddy I love u but I don't like coming here. She didn't get punished, so delete photo, lie about it, turn on tears to get out of trouble, 3 punishable acts in my book, not 1 punishment given. 

It's no wonder stepmothers are given a bad rep, it's cos we want rules but the father won't enforce them so it's constant good cop bad cop. 

justmakingthebest's picture

My daughter loves tik tok. Her and her friends all have accounts and share stuff back and forth. I monitor it regularly and you can set your account to be unsearchable. It was a pain to get the girls connected because they are all set up the same way. 

I will say that we have a cell phones on the counter rule at our house. 8 pm all the kids plug it in and thats it for the night. It isn't to punish them, its to parent them. Just like our parents wouldn't let us stay on the phone all night. They picked up the phone in the living room and said "hang up, it's bedtime". Have a rule about a phones not being in private rooms isn't really a punishment either, it's just parenting. Kids don't talk on the phone anymore, it's all texts, snapchats, tic toks, etc. It's not like the whole world knows what they are talking to their friends and family about. Even if you did, so what? Kids get privacy when they aren't kids anymore. Until then, we parent and make sure that the choices they are making are good ones.  

Harry's picture

He is letting his DD do shat she is doing.  He is not parenting her. Not teaching her not to take pictures of people in there bedroom.  He’s is your main problem 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Did I understand this correctly, ..."if I insist on punishment they all get punished instead of just her, it's as though he just can't simply tell her off directly." If SD does something wrong, all the kids get punished, not just her? Why are you letting your kids get punished for things SD does? That does not seem right.

I feel for your daughter. She has to share a room with someone who may be taking photos of her or her room and if she complains, she gets in trouble too?

SheriL's picture

For example, we have just moved house but at old house there was not enough room for them all to sit round table for meals so we only enforced sitting at table for main meal. One day sd spilt some drink on sofa at breakfast time, when we spotted it he didn't call her down he waited til next time she came down. When he asked her 'what's this?' she had a smirk on her face and said something like 'nothing, what?', he didn't say anything quickly enough so I jumped in with 'you know exactly what judging by the smirk on your face'. There was a few seconds of silence so I said, 'so she knew she had spilt it but didn't tell us' she protested she did tell us and he said, 'you need to tell us straight away so we can clean it up' so off she went. The same day, after tea we let them have pudding on sofa and she dropped her pudding. Let me first make clear I don't get angry at accidents but I was annoyed at her from the earlier incident of lying and smirking. So I said she eats every meal at the table from now on. From then on he has made all kids sit around the table for every meal instead of just her. I wanted her punished for the lying and smirking, not the spillages directly) 

Sandybeaches's picture

"All kids punished"

OP it sounds to me like you need to stand up to this man and for YOUR kids!!  I would be damned if I would let a boyfriend of mine punish my child for something his kid did.  This is very unfair to your child and teaching her things I am sure you wouldn't really want to be teaching her.  

His child should not have a phone and with all do respect everyone should be eating at the table regardless of whether anyone has spilled or not.  

Thumper's picture

Heres the thing OP...

She is too young for a cell phone PERIOD.

YOU can tell your boyfriend--NO cell phones in our house for minor kids.

You do have that authority,,,,remember that ok?





SheriL's picture

Can I get advice on this issue please, a number of you have commented I have the authority or I can enforce rules but I do not feel I can. Many times in the past I have said things and the eldest kid who hates his mum at mo, he is 14,suddenly finds his loyalty and runs off to call her saying I've said this, I've said that then dh has had a call saying you're gf has said this and that and he doesn't give her shot, he sort of defends me sometimes, other times he hasn't heard something I've said to sd directly so he says I'll ask her about it and call you back. One time sd was caught out for stealing 3 times in one week, she was maybe 7 at the time, one thing from shop, one thing from my dd and one thing from my make up bag. He she ran off and I followed and he didn't and I said, if you touch anything else that doesn't belong to you again, I swear to god, then I walked away, the message that got to her was I said you're gonna get it. So he hung up from her, I told him what I had said, he waited until I was going out to call her back cos he knew if I didn't shed hear me screaming in background. I said don't let her make it all about what I said, she needs to deal with the stealing. When I got back and asked what had been said, she had made it all about me and he said he'd tried to deal with the stealing but couldn't get a word in etc etc. He never argues with her because she will use threats. So I can't say anything in front of kids, if I store it up all day til their in bed I'm angry all day then we have an argument which the kids can hear anyway so why bother waiting, and as they are here for the weekend, if something happened on a Friday night if I waited til Sunday night I'd be angry all weekend then it runs our next couple of days because the kids aren't there so we can argue more vehemently.

I also add my poor dd isn't stuck in the middle all the time as she lives with me 1/2 time and 1/2 with her dad due to a medical condition, we share care so that we both get equal time with her and equal respite from the illness and despite what goes on in our house, she loves being here, she has said that if both me and her dad died she would want to live with my partner (that's over and above any blood relative) 

SheriL's picture

Thanks for all advice and suggestions, I will take them all on board and cannot respond specifically to each individual point but rest assured I will re read this thread, probably many times to remind me of what has been said. 

Harry's picture

Its your lovely DH who is causing this drama.  He is letting his DD control the household.  In stead of just telling her to knock it off.  If not the phone goes into DH care until the morning.  He is playing games with you. Letting his DD control everything except you.  He is controlling you. By gaslighting you.