How can I track or monitor my kid's phone?

You can monitor your kid's phone by using a phone-monitoring service through your service provider or you can download an app to monitor the phone. Or -- you can just monitor it yourself. Providers including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile each offer add-on packages for a fee that let you keep an eye on things, including monitoring usage, managing access to features, and tracking the location of the phone. Also, third-party software programs which you can download from the app store and install on your computer, can show you texts, website histories, photos, and more.

No monitoring service is 100 percent reliable. The programs require you to enter some of your kid's log-ins and passwords to track the phone's activity, and your kid can always change passwords on you or sign up for services you don't know about and can't monitor. They also can make your kid feel spied on, which can lead to sneaky behavior. And if the phone is off or discharged, its location can't be tracked. Parents aren't perfect either, but teaching kids how to use the phone is a skill they can use their whole lives. Try talking about responsibility and appropriate use first and consider the monitoring programs as a backup or extra insurance.

Do you monitor your kid's cell phone?

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Parent written by Sarah C.

I have tried them all and the carrier parental controls are just terrible. Most of the apps in the app store do not work or struggle to work. After trying what seems like them all we finally found Netsanity and have been using it for the past year and I love it. It works and it is the first one my teen hasn't been able to disable. Don't use the jailbreaks mentioned in this article!