Is it tattling to let other parents know what you’re seeing online?

When I was growing up in Gwinnett you knew all the neighbors were keeping an eye on you. Your mother would get a phone call if you were seen or heard doing something unacceptable around the neighborhood.

In our discussion yesterday about kids being on Skype and Face Time, FCM brought up a great point about telling your neighbors/friends if you’re seeing questionable photos or content online from their kids.  She thought talking to your neighbors was a good thing, but I wondered how that would be received.

I had a situation here recently where Walsh had shown me one of his friends had made a You Tube channel. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the content other than it had a video of the child who created it. I didn’t think the parents would want that out there just because the child is young. The child is also an entrepreneur and was selling merchandise on the channel. Again I didn’t think the parents knew. I finally mentioned it kind of in a joking manner saying we were surprised to see the merchandizing. I didn’t want the parents to think I was tattling but I did want them to know what was out there.

Later I asked Walsh do you have any content online that I don’t know about. He said no and I believe him at this age.  But I do think I will have to stay on top of it.

Rose likes to comment on art and fan fiction online and we talk a lot of not identifying herself or giving out any information. At this point I am more worried about people contacting my kids than my kids posting something bad. But that could come in the future.

So do you want to hear from other parents that may have seen or heard questionable things from your kids online? Would that be received well or would you think they were tattling? Would you tell other parents if you saw something questionable? How would you approach that? What level of material would it need to be for you to report it to a parent?

15 comments Add your comment


March 27th, 2013
12:58 pm

Unless they’re effing up my stuff, I don’t care what my neighbor’s kids do.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 27th, 2013
1:04 pm

jarvis — that made me laugh.


March 27th, 2013
1:32 pm

I would want to know. I think as long as you approach it with a non-accusing “look at what your kid is doing/you must be a bad parent” tone… then they would most likely appreciate the heads up. I know I would.

But having said that, now that you know they are aware and presumably staying on top of it now, if you should happen to see it out there again, I wouldn’t say anything a second time….. UNLESS, they are thankful for your heads up and ask you to “let them know” if you see any more activity.

It’s a dangerous world out there and we can’t watch our kids all the time. Having a neighbor give me a heads up about something that could be potentially dangerous would be appreciated. I have a neighbor who will tell me if my kids act rude or inappropriate at their house. I like it because 1) I want to know how my kids act when I’m not around and 2) my kids are aware that I do talk to the neighbors and find out these things and are less likely to do them in the first place. I tell them I have eyes everywhere. My 5 year old still checks the back of my head for my extra set of eyes…LOL


March 27th, 2013
1:48 pm

My inner-dialogue would usually make a sailor blush.


March 27th, 2013
2:00 pm

No kids at home but when my kids were little, I made sure the neighbors knew I had an open door policy if they saw something awry. Once , a neighbor told me that my son was driving too fast and I was fine with it. If he drove too fast in the neighborhood, no telling what he would do when he was outside of the neighborhood. That was almost 10 years ago. Yep, he had a few speeding tickets!

A neighbor’s son was speeding into our neighborhood about 6 weeks ago. I hopped on the curb and drug our dog up too, as he almost ran over both of us. It was right after lunch. I am sure my face looked shocked. I did not say a word. The GOTH looking girlfriend stuck her middle finger out the window at me. WHAT? I think there are bigger issues going on at that house. I believe they are under 21. Next time, I will call the police but I am giving them a pass for now.


March 27th, 2013
2:08 pm

The incident I mentioned yesterday was brought up after the bus left with kids on it. I told my neighbor I was mortified what my precious darling had seen…she said you know her precious darling had been on that site too.

Later on my precious darling mentioned that 4 or 5 freiends were now grounded. I asked why…she said same reason she had been.

This year a girl said something about someone trying to get her to come taste brownies when she was at the bus stop. Precious child of mine had told my mom. I mentioned (a few days later not knowing about this brownie person) that I had seen some guy jogging that seemed odd to me. He was dressed a bit odd for the weather. My mom mentioned the brownie person. So I called my neighbor and asked had her daughter said anything. She spoke to her daughter and eventually called the school. Then my neighbor went to the girl in questions house…the Dad answered the door. He called his daughter out and she said that it was a 4th grade boy (doesn’t make sense the 4th grade leaves before this kids grade)… the end the Dad said thank you for letting him know he would get to the bottom of it.

I agree with beth you don’t do it accusatory. You should also just know your neighbors! I like that if I am not home my kids know at least 5 homes they can go to if they need help. They have cell numbers for 2 of the neighbors.

All of us parents talk about this or that we have seen. We had a fire in our neighborhood. I knew about it before I left work b/c a neighbor called. Same with the ambulance that came before the first bus came by one day.

I don’t think it is tattling when you all are just looking out for the neighbors in general. After all what happens at my house can affect your property values.


March 27th, 2013
2:21 pm

Fences make for good neighbors. I simply cannot stand to be around nosy, gossipy people.

Just Me Thinking...

March 27th, 2013
2:26 pm

I agree with FCM and Beth. You don’t have to do it in an accusatory manner, but I do think you should let parents know. If you tell the parents and still keep seeing the behavior or internet content then you know that the parents either don’t care or are clueless about certain aspects of parenting. Either way your conscience is clear. How many times have we seen on the news or read in the news a parent saying “I didn’t know” or “Noone told me” when something goes horribly wrong involving their kid. Personally I want to know. There are many who don’t and see any questions or warnings as a personal attack on them instead of a heads-up on a possibly bad situation.

Sk8ing Momma

March 27th, 2013
2:37 pm

So do you want to hear from other parents that may have seen or heard questionable things from your kids online?


Would that be received well or would you think they were tattling?

I would not think the parent would be tattling. Besides, even if I thought it was I wouldn’t care. I’m a grown up…Do *parents* tattle anyway???

Would you tell other parents if you saw something questionable?

Absolutely! My rule is that I treat parents how I’d like to be treated.

How would you approach that? What level of material would it need to be for you to report it to a parent?

I approach it matter of factly. I don’t have any hard and fast rule on what I’d report…It would be on a case-by-case base.


March 27th, 2013
4:48 pm

xxx….years ago we thought something odd about one of our neighbors, in a previous neighborhood. We did not know them but people were coming and going all hours of the day and night. My husband casually mentioned this to someone who could check things out. Months later, a drug bust and the people were sent to jail. Right on our block. Would that someone would have mentioned it about the house where three kids died due to a meth lab in Lilburn:

Maybe a nosy neighbor could have saved their lives.


March 27th, 2013
5:03 pm

Sometimes it’s easier to have that conversation with a neighbor than a relative!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 27th, 2013
5:15 pm

Our neighborhood is very good at helping each other out — if someone needs you to pick up their kids or watch shortly there is almost always someone around who can help. The big ones both know they could go to multiple houses on the street if they needed help and for some reason I wasn’t there. I also keep my neighbor’s phone number under mine for safety on a piece of paper — I just felt a little weird saying hey did you know your kid has a video on a channel — I did want them to know but I didn’t want them to think I was being odd about it — I agree it can be said in a just fyi — just to make sure you know.


March 27th, 2013
6:00 pm

Better to have an uncomfortable conversation than imagine the conversation you would have at the funeral home!!!

I did this one time.’the other parent did not seem to appreciate it, but I did not care. I did what was right. His son was speeding–passed me going about 80. If a parent does not seem to appreciate it, I would suggest your kid not be allowed to hang with that kid.

I remember one time I saw a former student snuggling up with a girl in a pickup truck. I thought, “I wonder if his Mama knows what he is up to!?” Then I realized he was now over 20 years old! (He ended up marrying her, and they have 4 kids. They run a successful farm and apple orchard.)


March 27th, 2013
6:36 pm

I guess I really have nothing to hide and thus do not mind it when neighbors are interested in what might be going on with my family. Perhaps if you did have something to hide, you might feel differently.

What about Jaycee Lee Dugard:

A nosy neighbor would have been very helpful!


March 28th, 2013
4:48 pm

I was notified by the hs principal that threats had been made against my daughter on the Internet. He was notified of this by a parent whose student showed it to them. The school suspended him, he ended up in court, was expelled, and put in YDC. I really appreciated that parent for doing that. The boy was seriously disturbed.