Dad Slammed for Demanding Access to Daughter's Phone and Social Media

A controlling father has come in for criticism after demanding his daughter hand over her smartphone so he can access her messages, email and social media accounts.

The demanding dad's actions were detailed in a post shared to Mumsnet by his ex-wife. According to the post, her former husband, who pays for his daughter's phone, recently got in touch to ask that she help facilitate the return of the handset and SIM card.

He apparently told her that since his daughter "isn't using her phone anymore" and the "contract is in his name and he pays for it, he expects the phone to go back to him with all the data...intact."

The ex-partner said that the dad wanted "access to her email, messages, contact numbers and WhatsApp messages" and also "expects access to any social media that she has."

Taking to the parenting forum, the young girl's mother appeared uneasy with this request. "My understanding is that all the information he is requesting is personal and that he should not have access to it," she said.

She says her ex has argued that "as he pays for the phone contract and it's in his name" and because his daughter is a minor, "everything belongs to him." He has asked her to "send him the phone" and ensure he has "access to everything."

But while the dad appeared forthright in his belief that he should have access to his daughter's online profile and messages, others disagreed.

DellaPorter wrote: "I wouldn't think he had any legal right to access her personal conversations etc. at all, unless there was a safeguarding concern."

BoobsOnTheMoon agreed: "He's delusional and controlling to think he has any right to the data," while NoCureForLove asked: "Is he always such a bully?"

TheGoldenWolfFleece commented: "If the phone was a gift he's got no right to ask for it back regardless," saying "wipe it and give it back to save the effort of dealing with such a p****."

BlueSky8 made a similar suggestion, writing: "Back her phone up, reset to factory settings, hand it back. Get her a new phone and get everything back for her from the back up."

In a follow-up post, the mom confirmed her daughter already has a new phone which is in no way connected to her dad.

While this particular father's actions may represent the extreme, parents are increasingly concerned about what technology is exposing their children to.

According to a 2020 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of parents today believe parenting is harder now than it was 20 years ago.

Asked to cite reasons why it has grown more difficult, 26 percent cited the impact of digital technology and 21 percent pointed to the rise of social media. A further 14 percent expressed concern over the way in which technology is exposing children to things at an increasingly young age.

Controlling fathers have been the focus of several notable viral news stories over the past week. One dad recently hit the headlines after hounding his 16-year-old child with incessant phone calls.

Elsewhere, a careless father earned condemnation online after returning his daughter's birthday gift and keeping the money "for something useful."

A man spying on his daughter's phone.
Stock image of an older man and a young woman on the phone - a demanding dad has been roundly condemned after insisting he have access to his daughter's phone and her personal data. Zinkevych/Getty