Many parents worried about what their children do online have taken matters into their own hands.

Fifty-five percent of parents log onto social networking sites like Facebook to spy on what their children are doing, a study has found.


More than half  of mothers and fathers thought nothing of snooping around on their children’s profiles to see what they are up to.

They did it to avoid having ‘awkward conversations’ with the children but nearly a quarter admitted it was the only way they could find out about their lives.

The figures show that parents are becoming increasingly crafty in their attempts to keep tabs on their children in the digital age.

Almost one in 20 mothers and fathers even log on with a friend’s account to avoid detection and gain better access to their children’s profiles.

Websites like Facebook and MySpace along with microblogging site Twitter have become immensely popular amongst teenagers and children.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that last year among 16 to 24-year-olds 75% posted messages on them.

The majority of 13-16-year-olds have more than 100 ‘friends’ on Facebook whilst more than 750,000 are using the website below the age limit, which is 13.

Experts and parents however have expressed anxiety about how they can monitor what the young are up to when they go on-line.

Now it appears that parents, at least are taking matters into their own hands.

Whilst 55% said they did spy on their children, 40% said they did not but the remaining 5% said they would do if they knew how.

Some 41% monitor their children’s status updates and 39% look at their ‘wall’, which is where they and friends can write things.

Just under one third, 29%, looked at pictures their children had uploaded.

When asked why they behaved like they did, 6% of parents blamed their ‘overprotective’ instincts and 14% admitted they were just being ‘nosey’.

But almost a quarter admitted it was the only way they could find out what their children were doing, and 6% did it to avoid ‘awkward conversations’ with them.

The rise of parents spying on their children has spawned a fightback on Facebook.

A string of groups have sprung up with names like ‘For the love of god–don’t let parents join Facebook’, which has more than 7,700 members.

Teenagers are increasingly annoyed their the older generation is cottoning on to what they believe is a place where they should be left alone.

Facebook was started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg in his bedroom at Harvard University.

It has gone on to become the largest social networking site in the world and made him the 52nd richest man on Earth with a personal fortune of £8.2billion at the age of 27.

In 2008 it had approximately 100million users and has grown to 600 million in just three years.

The study was carried out by computing company Bullguard Internet Security.

Via Daily Mail