How do I monitor my kids' cell phone use without seeming intrusive?

Parents: If you want to monitor your kid's cell phone without seeming intrusive, be honest about what you're doing and why. Explain that your rules are for their safety and protection. It's a parents' job to make sure kids are using their devices appropriately. Some parents say, "If I'm paying for it, I'm entitled to read my kids' texts, check their call logs, and know who their friends are." That's valid, but kids consider these devices to be as personal as diaries, so tread cautiously. Spot checks are a good idea. You know your kid best. If you sense something isn't right, spot-check more often.

Do you think it's important to monitor your kid's phone without seeming intrusive?

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Teen, 14 years old written by heiday

my parents read pretty much all my messages and its extremely frustrating. they shouldve figured out by now that im not in any sort of danger, im not sending inappropriate messages, theres literally nothing going on. they want me to trust them and come to them if i have an issue but i honestly dont trust them. knowing that theyve probably seen all my personal messages breaks that trust. they expect me to come to them about my problems, but honestly whats the point when they read it all in my texts anyways? they have made my anxiety so much worse, and im just miserable. they mke me feel likei cant do anything right; i get in trouble for the smallest thing, and frankly, im sick of it. i would much rather they just leave me alone and not be in my life at all than what theyre doing now.
Teen, 13 years old written by A male teen

Wow your parents are strict. I would be pretty proud of an a minus I don’t have a clue what to do about that sounds like asking them would make them mad
Teen, 14 years old written by oopsie

Hi everyone. My parents recently put parental controls on all off my devices for having an A- in school (keep in mind that the highest grade possible is an A, not an A+), and made me sign a device use agreement, listed below) I am wondering what the community thinks about this and if it is fair. First of all, my parents jailbroke my phone, and the ONLY app I can access is the phone app. Furthermore, the only phone numbers I can call are my parents. My laptop now has Microsoft Family Restrictions on it, involving a 1 hour time limit and only educational apps/websites. Our TV has a code on it that only my parents know. My younger brother only has 18+ restrictions (he is 9), and my older brother also only has 18+ restrictions (he is 16). The 18+ restrictions are understandable, but not completely locking down my devices. Here is the device use agreement: I will not use my devices for unintended use. I will not attempt to bypass any restrictions put in place by my parents. I will not attempt to bypass the administrator password. I will not hide any passwords from my parents. I will not give out any form of personal information online. I will not download apps that my parents have not approved. I will not use devices during non-designated screen time. I will not use my devices in school unless given permission by an educator. I will not use apps with disappearing messages (Snapchat). I will not bring devices on the second floor. I will not use devices during meals. I will not circumvent Ask To Buy on all devices. I understand that my parents reserve the right to take my devices away if they suspect they are being mis-used. I understand that my parents reserve the right to monitor my device activity. I understand that restrictions are in place to protect me. I understand that all of my devices belong to my parents, not me. Pretty tough. Reply for questions and possible solutions.
Adult written by NotTheParentIWa...

Your grades sound awesome...great job! Perhaps there’s more to their reasoning than you presented, and it may be for reasons you don’t know or understand (perhaps they know someone whose daughter got burned online and they don’t want it happening to you). However, unless you intend to break the rules they specified in the agreement it all sounds fair and reasonable. It’s not much different than the resoonsible use policy your school makes you and your parents sign at the beginning of each school year. As a parent of a 14 year old (I also raised two daughters who are now adults), I would think twice about giving an internet connected device to a son or daughter who objected to any of those terms. If you are concerned about any of the terms, ask your parents respectfully if they can take time to discuss and explain their intent to you, but stay calm so they are willing to listen to your views as well...maybe you can reach a compromise and agree on something that is comfortable for everyone. Be thankful they care and are looking out for you!
Kid, 11 years old

I recently found out that my dad is monitoring my computer. I'm fine if he wants to keep me away from 18+ stuff, but that was clearly NOT his goal. He was telling me to do my homework, and while I was logging in to studentvue, I tried to explain to him that I didn't have any homework. As per usual, he started screaming at me (like he does every time I say something that isn't right in front of his face and therefore *obviously false*). Then, he yells something about a show I watch on my computer, one that I HAVE NEVER TOLD THIS GUY ABOUT. It felt like a personal attack on me and my interests. This person did god knows what to my computer, and didn't even bother telling me?!?? He didn't even tell me that he was basically putting a camera in my diary!! Oh, but it's fine. I mean.... IT'S NOT LIKE A MOODY PRETEEN GIR COULD *POSSIBLY* HAVE ANYTHING, *ANYTHING AT ALL* THAT SHE WOULDNT CARE FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO KNOW. Honestly, whatever they find next, be it my cousin talking to me about her self-harming friends in Maine or my coming-out practice, they have brought it upon themselves. All I want to do at this point is put a camera on them.
Teen, 13 years old written by purple1202

My parents recently put time restrictions on all my apps, they have access to all my social media and they read my texts. Honestly its terrible. I figured out how to take the restrictions off but I got caught and I'm grounded for awhile. When you don't give your kids freedom most likely they're gonna go behind your back and do something. I don't even feel comfortable texting, snapping or DMing my friends because I know my parents will read it. I don't say bad things, I don't send nudes but my parents knowing about my crush or the girl drama makes me very uncomfortable. I think you should give your children talks about these things and check it in the beginning but unless you want your kids to rebel and sneak things don't be a helicopter parent like mine.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sturpp

I find parental controls frustrating and annoying. It really feels like your parents don't trust you to be responsible. Plus, a lot of people keep personal information that they don't want to be seen on their phones. Personally, I have a location tracking and a text, phone, and web monitoring app on my phone, as well as plenty of monitoring on my computer. They really feel intrusive and it feels like my parents won't trust me. Plus, most kids these days know a lot about tech. They could easily disable these. Sometimes, it's a trial and error, too. When I don't want my location tracked, I can get around that, easy as pie. At first, I turned my location permissions off, but I figured out it sends my parents a notification. So I go into settings, and force stop the app. It just keeps my last logged location as my current location. It's perfect for sneaking out without a loud notification going off. As for the monitoring apps, my mom uses the same password on it as every other account she has - she even told me to help set it up. If I want to get around barriers, boom. Log in to the admin account, turn them off. The more restrictions you have on your child, the more they'll want to rebel. Take my own example, I'm not allowed to go anywhere without holding my parents' hand AND having the locator on me. That's the reason I sneak out. There's not anything to do in my neighborhood, just walk in the middle of the street feeling like a free man. Restrictions are useless in the modern day, and all they do is make other kids feel sorry for your kid because they can't do anything. For me, it also generates a lot of jealousy, seeing my peers and even younger people being able to do whatever they want, and it saddens you and it seems like your parents really don't care about you. I feel like there would be a lot more trust between my parents and I if they would stop trying to intrude on me and instead let me have a productive conversation with them. Teens will keep secrets from their parents, and the more you try to stop it the worse it gets. It's like your parents reading your diary when you were a child. It's absolutely devastating for the kids, and you discover a lot of things you wish you hadn't known; plus, there's a loss of trust from both parties So really, it's a lose-lose-lose. You shouldn't keep a constant eye on your children without a reason, or they'll just start doing things behind your back. If your teen wants to do something, they'll find a way. Of course, I'm not here to rule over your parenting, just giving you insight from a teen.
Teen, 13 years old written by dancingsolo

Having parental controls on my phone myself, I find it frustrating. I really feel like my mom doesn't trust me to do simple things like time management, managing what websites to be on, how to be safe on the internet, and etc. I know there are some times that I can go a bit overboard on my phone, but most of the time I have it managed. Though my parents don't check up on my phone, they do have a paranoia with the internet so I do get little time on other devices such as a computer. My grades have still been the same average that they normally are, even with the app. I do agree that things 18+ should probably be kept hidden from me, but I don't look up that type of stuff anyways. I feel like it depends how responsible, mature, and old your kids are to have an app on their phone that controls it. If they're mature, have good grades, know how to manage time, and know how to still do other things off of their phone, then in my opinion there really is no need for an app. I do feel frustrated that my parents don't trust me (or I think they don't), that I have become a little more resentful of their choices. The app says if done correctly it might build trust between the child and parent, but for me so far, that has been a complete lie. I honestly do not want to have it, I feel like my choices are being controlled, I'm scared to get on my phone in case I get in trouble, I feel distrusted, and nothing has mended between my parents and I. Think carefully before you but a restricting app on your child's phone. Is it really the best for them and your relationship with them?
Teen, 13 years old written by cocoa3

I am mixed on the situation because i do believe that young children should have devices restricted from 18+ things etc. however, i am 13 years old and i have parental controls on my devices and hate it. i really really hate it. Sometimes my dad will check my phone and i'm 100 percent okay with that - parents should check their children's phone anyway but it's the silly restricted stuff that i hate. it makes me feel like i don't fit in with everyone else and that makes me feel jealous of everyone as a person which i think is really sad. i just have to live with that feeling every day around other people my age and younger who don't go through with what i do. my dad doesnt restrict my phone as much as he did before but he monitors it. im not actually sure what he monitors but it makes me feel so violated and scared to use my phone and not relaxed in case i do something that will get me into trouble. i dont even do anything on my phone that is bad. however, last year there was an incident with my phone on social media that my dad went absolutely ballistic on. i didnt have parental controls then but after that he put them on. i have had the parental controls for a year now and this year has been one of the best academically because of parental controls because my grades went up several notches and its something im very proud of. what i am trying to say is: you know your child best, right? Use that. use it so you can find the best way to protect them and keep them feeling happy and free by using their personality and prone actions to judge what they may need in terms of mobile restriction. If your kid is super mature, good grades, good friends - do they need the controls? are they okay with just monitoring? are there some things that you dont feel comfortable using? that's totally fine. maybe your kid isnt that mature but knows how to get by and be sensible then will they get mad at you for putting controls on? a part of me loathes my dad for putting me in this position in my life and i hate it when they use the wrong approach if they want to see my phone. when i grow up, i'm not going to do what dad did - no way on earth. i would never want my kids to feel like their privacy is violated but i don't want them to be talking to strangers and sending nudes etc. i would much rather keep them happy and myself happy. the level of parental control you use for your kid will effect them. if its a high level like i once had, it made me damn straight scared to even be around my parents and i was really emotional and depressed around that time. now its at a lower level i feel more comfortable but i still am scared around them and uncomfortable around them. im just so worried all the time. i dont want to do anything wrong. i just want to fit in with my friends and other people so i can be social in the kind of society teenagers get into these days. Maybe your kid might bend the truth and deceive you but its your job to build the best relationship with them so they wont feel barred to tell you the truth and so they can come to you for anything. maybe you're thinking 'my child doesn't have any issues because i know they always tell me everything' but is this actually true? kids go through a loads of stuff and a lot of that stuff they might not tell you. To conclude, i didnt make this so i could stop children from getting parental controls and the protection they need but i'm just trying to give parents out there an eye opener from an actual 13 year old. thanks - cocoa3
Adult written by Sweetapples

I can look into my finance, phone without touching it. He has a finger print lock on it. And as a messnger, I need to see who he his talk with. And a Facebook page too
Kid, 11 years old

There should be something in the settings for Facebook. However, depending on the type of phone you're using, you might not be able to get rid of Google, and you can get to YouTube through Google. These things are not inherently bad, however. you can put restrictions on Google to make sure that your kid isn't visiting any bad sites, and bad content is banned on YouTube.
Adult written by Daniel K

We check our teens phone, because teenagers have a habit of bending the truth. Supposed to be at the park, but is actually on the other side of the town. Supposed to be at baseball, but that ended two hours ago and he went somewhere else without asking. We use the iphone's restrictions and find-my-phone. As one adamant boy has repeatedly pointed out, you can work around that. But if any time the phone cannot be found, the phone or the PS4 is revoked. Very little is worth losing the iphone or PS4. So you don't have to 'cover every possible loophole'. The iphone is pretty solid. It can't be bypassed very easily, and if they manage to factory reset it, they meet the iphone lock. Then you get set the phone up again the exact same way. I don't understand how some parents get "locked out" of their childs phone. Should that occur, we'd take it and hand back the LG cosmos. Nobody wants that.
Teen, 15 years old written by Johanna521

I have a mixed opinion about the situation. I have a friend that gets her phone monitored. Every single text message, every single app, game; every single thing she does. Including Snapchat, she has to save everything she sends to people until her mom checks it. She tells me she feels very violated and she’s scared on what to say to anybody online, therefore she barely texts me because she’s scared on what to say. I know her mom personally, she seems like a very nice person, but to see my frisnd feels violated doesn’t change anything. As a child ages, monitoring should become less often and monitoring less things your child does. My friend is extremely sweet and I’ve never seen her cuss before, and even asks her friends to not cuss around her even if she was all alone with them at school! I’m 15 myself and my mom used to check my phone but doesn’t anymore. When she used to check my phone, she would see a text about let’s jjst say a horse game. Not only does she question the horse game, she made me get on the game and made sure it was child friendly. She questioned why I sent pictures to my friends (when she clearly knows them), and I felt so sick. I was scared about what to text to my friends because I was worried my mom would completely start worrying and question me everything. Once she stopped, my aunt got mad at me and told me to tell my mom my phone’s password or else I would go to Hell for hiding things from my mom (and she’s extremely religious, so clearly she was upset enough to where she said that), and my mom wanted to start checking my stuff again. It got to the point I didn’t even want to text at all, and it was only because she would question everything. Even I replied with one word, “yes” she would ask me why I said that. She soon forgot about it but the other day my friend’s mom brought it up that she checks my friend’s phone, and now I’m afraid she will try to get that to happen again. If she does, I’m going to have to delete all my apps and messages I sent and then start new conversations on my messages app to make it seem like I didn’t delete anything and just try to make her not question anything. I’m not hiding anything, I just don’t feel okay with her being a little helicopter parent. My dad agrees with me having privacy on my phone but my mom will find a way to check my phone if she is actually going to start checking. When I ask her if she evsn trusts me she says, “I do trust you but I’m scared you’re going to make a mistake,”. I’m honestly terrified to talk to people I don’t even know, I don’t have Facebook or twitter. The only way I even got online friends was from that online horse game i played, and that’s when I got the app discord to talk to them. My mom knows I’m skittish of people, so that’s why I don’t understand it. What I’m basically trying to say is that i just felt extremely violated and watched all the time when she checked my phone. Whenever I didnt want her to check it, she thought I was doing something inappropriate. That’s not the case, I just feel very violated that somebody is checking everything I say. Sometimes privacy is healthy to gain independence and learn how to cope with things yourself. If your parents are holding your hand with everything you do and not only watch you, but act when somebody does something wrong to you on the internet, then you aren’t going to be ready for the future when your parents can’t be by your side anymore and you won’t know what to do. Seems over-exaggerated, right? It’s not a hyperbole, this is for real. And I’m not trying to say to not monitor your kids, I think at a young age while you are teaching them how to act on the internet you should be doing that. However, if your child learns properly and you see that even when you aren’t checking their stuff they are doing alright then that’s when you should stop. Although it makes sense to think, “Well if my child isn’t ok with me checking their stuff they are probably doing something inappropriate,” occasionally, it isn’t the case at all. And on those occasions, they just are violated that they can’t do something themselves in privacy. It’s okay to let your kids talk to your friends in private, sometimes they really need that to bond good friendships. :)
Teen, 13 years old written by FluffyPuppyDog27

So recently I had been doing some not so good things on my phone. I want doing anything really bad like sending nudes but I had said some questionable things. One day out of nowhere my parents just took my phone. They like took it out of my hands. I was grounded for 2 weeks and lost my phone for 3. I felt my privacy was violated but I understand that they were trying to keep me safe but they did it very hostile and suddenly. It was horrible. My friends got in trouble. It ruined my life. I lost friends. To make things worse, My parents became helicopter parents. They put secret monitoring apps on my phone. I honestly hadn’t done anything THAT BAD. They don’t trust me at all but the worst part was she told our ENTIRE FAMILY. My uncles, cousins, family friends, everyone knew. It wasn’t the part were they checked my phone but more how they did it and how they felt with it after. I have deep resentment for my parents and I fear when they call me upstairs now if fear I will be harshly punished even if I have nothing to hide.
Parent of a 14 and 15 year old written by Health Homemade

I realize it feels like the end of the world sometimes. Imagine having children of your own and the issues they may encounter out there, or being sued because your child did something they were not supposed to do. It is a dangerous world we live in and pressure from the external world can take you places you may not realize until it is too late. You sound like a good person and I believe they really care about you and love you too much to let someone take advantage of you. Don't be in such a rush to grow up, take your time, enjoy your life, time flies and before you know you have responsibilities that are a load to handle like your parents. The reason parents talk to other parents about locking you down is because they know what is on the other side, someone trying to take your child physically or emotionally. I remember I thought I was going to do things differently when I got out, after being attacked, I realized my first mistake was thinking it wouldn't happen to me. You are blessed to have someone who cares that much about YOU.
Teen, 15 years old written by doritodog

I don't care if my parents monitor my phone. I don't really do anything worrisome online. But what really irks me is when they take the device at random intervals for "my safety". The constant fear that I will be suddenly stopped and forced to readjust my situation is taking a bigger toll on my day-to-day mood than anything else.
Teen, 14 years old written by Isabella1994

I do not understand why parents are monitoring there kids phones. They have to respect there privacy It’s not like I’m snooping around there stuff and respect there privacy so they have to respect mine!
Adult written by Brianna H.

Even though I am currently residing with my mom at this time, i do feel that a few boundary rules should be present. From the time I received my first cell-phone, she has always complained that I spend too much time on my phone. I could understand her point of view when she was paying for the phone. Now that I am 19 years old, I think that it is just plain ridiculous. I recently made the mistake of creating a Facebook account and then relaying this information to a cousin of mine. When i asked her to keep this information to herself, she said that it was my place to tell my mom, not hers. However, she called my mom and told her anyway. Which resulted in my only being allowed to use my cell-phone at school, until we discussed the situation with my father. Since i am paying the phone bill, I feel that this is completely intrusive and hurtful. Although he may be some-what disappointed, I don't mind talking with m dad about such things. What does bother me is when she talks to him first and gives her side of the story, making me look like the bad person. I began to lose trust in my mother at a very young age. She would say that she was going to do things with me, and then come up with an excuse when it didn't happen. Also, she would promise that i would be spanked for something I did wrong, but sometimes didn't follow through. Even now, I don't trust her much at all. She is constantly saying what i should do, and how I should do it. i try to be the best daughter that I can. Even helping her with things that she should know how to do for herself. i feel that If your off-spring is below the age of 14, ffeel free to monitor their devices. But if they are older and you suspect that something bad is taking place, explain to them why you want to monitor their devices. Don't just do it because you are the parent and "It's your responsibility". Children are a lot smarter these days than you may think. This is why i hide some things from my mom to this day, because i know that she is prone to over-reacting and telling my business to her friends, or whoever she deems necessary. that's another thing. Don't correct your child(ren) for something and then boast to your friends about what you did. This is not a constant competition of who is the best parent, or how big and bad parents may think that they are. You have to be patient and, most of all, develop a trust between you and your child. Doing this will prevent the need for your children to want to hide things from you. If a child feels they need to hide something from you, ask yourself, where did I go wrong. Since we are all human, it is possible.
Teen, 13 years old written by FruitRollup

My mom checks my phone and my laptop for no reason sometimes she does it without telling me.She looks through texts and phone calls and contacts just to find something to be mad about. Its pretty obvious she doesn't trust me on my stuff and I know she knows her parenting is bad so she doesn't trust me. Guess what there are always ways to get around it....she hasn't found anything and its been 6 or 7 years that I have been hiding stuff...She even listens at my door a few days ago I saw her through the crack of me door listening.. imma start paying for my phone bill bc her excuse is either "I pay the bill for it" or "its in my house so I should be able to" she also thinks I'm hiding something in my email I don't even use my email for messaging people wtf and I don't trust he anymore that's why I don't tell her stuff and I have hidden account and passwords. She wants my passwords to my social media or my email which she is NOT getting SMDH
Teen, 13 years old written by Pizzadog50

My parentts do not bother me with this garbage. I can bypass any spyware. I have LIVE OPERATING SYSTEMS, SECRET ACCOUNTS, TOR, VPNS, and a keylogger on my computer to snatch their parental lame-trol passwords. I am UNSTOPPABLE.
Teen, 15 years old written by davise1781

dude please teach me your ways my mom is a pyschotic amish loving freak and thinks phones are the spawn of satan
Teen, 14 years old written by blue1989

When I was 11, I wanted to check my email in a public place. I didn't have a phone, so I asked my mom if I could use hers. My mom, sensing an opportunity, let me log in and asked me to sign in with my school email too. But soon, I started noticing responses to emails I'd been sent that were from my account, but I didn't send them. Around that time, my mom also started reading my actual mail. I'd find opened envolopes on the kitchen table that were adressed to me. There was nothing suspicious about the emails and the mail my mom read. When I confronted her about it, my mom said she had a right to read my mail. When I set up an Instagram account about a month ago, my mom made me accept her follow request. Not only that, she started following everyone I follow so she can see what I see on Instagram. I decided to hide my Instagram Story from her so that I'd be comfortable saying what I wanted. I have a private account, and I only accept people I know, my mom is the only person who can see my account, who I don't want to. After another failed attempt at convincing my mom to not read my emails, I started using a secret email to talk to my friends. My parents knew I had the email, but I told them I'd set it up so I can watch Hetalia on youtube, which is age restricted. They were okay with that, but they don't know I use that account to email people, so they don't moniter it. When I asked my mom why she still feels the need to moniter my email, she said it was so she could make sure I wasn't being sent anything inappropreate. At 14, I think that's unnessascary. I get the online safety talk every year at school for the past 9 years, and I know to delete an email if it has anything inappropriate. In the 3 years I've had my email, I never had to deal with anything like that. Parents, don't spy on your kids without good reason, everyone deserves privacy, and if you break your kid's trust, they might start going behind your back, like I did.
Parent of a 14 and 15 year old written by Health Homemade

Sounds like your Mom cares about you and that you have learned from her about right and wrong so you make pretty good decisions. You are blessed to have someone that loves you. Remember Honor thy Mother and Father, only commandment with a blessing, and YOU will have a good life. One day, everything you do will come back good or bad to you with your life, family, friends, and pets. Right now it is hard to see that she just cares about you.
Parent written by KryketShueh

I think that a contract that both the parents and child signs as to what to expect when using a mobile phone that the parents are paying for is not too much to ask. As for privacy -- it should be agreed upon before the start of the contract. I will not deceive my kid but expect that they meet us on mutually agreed-upon terms. We must give our kids' appropriate boundaries just like the phone companies make us sign a contract etc, in order to teach/grow them up accordingly.
Teen, 13 years old written by narinarinippa

Parents will always violate that contract. Children will too. You know why? Because it IS too much to ask for. It's almost like y'all are having kids just to spy on us. Here's the truth: your child will eventually find a way to watch porn, or whatever you're trying to stop them from watching. It happens sooner or later, and it won't scar them seeing to adults engaging in sexual intercourse. It'll scar them if they see YOU engaging in sexual intercourse with your partner.
Teen, 14 years old written by joecurryvang

Okay, if you’re gonna check your child’s phone its just gonna make them mad. Some way, there phone is their privacy. I’ve lost some trust in my parents for doing that. But honestly don’t just go through there phones. Cause it’s a really big part, where they keep the stuff to themselves.
Adult written by Alexa K.

Don’t sneak around in your child’s phone or laptop. As your children grow older, they begin to become more independent and privacy becomes a bigger issue where boundaries and lines start to become clearer. If you don’t have reason to suspect and your child has a good track record, a quick glance should be enough to make sure your child is safe and they should know that you are only doing this because it is your responsibility as their parent and guardian. If you have reason to suspect, you should still let them know but go in a little deeper. It’s better for them to think you don’t trust them in the beginning before you monitor than to break their trust AND make them think you don’t trust them.
Teen, 14 years old written by BigDaddyWasHere

Just stop thinking you can do whatever you want and not get caught. Teens know much more than you think, also, the icloud based apps do not actually work for the most part and the apps that are installed locally usually require a jailbreak, jailbreaking is a very bad idea because it opens your phone to viruses and could potentially brick the phone. Apple will actually refuse service if they find out your phone is jailbroken. Even if you proceed to do this, we will be able to tell. Also, rooting (depending on the manufacturer) may void your warranty, while the new samsung phones are almost impossible to root, and reflashing the stock ROM is very difficult for someone who does not know what they are doing (most parents). Just accept it, teens will always find ways to outsmart you parents. Stop trying to be sneaky and be upfront about your intentions if you even think spying is a good idea to begin with. If you have a reason to "monitor", please tell your kids why you are doing so. If your kids are trustworthy and responsible, there is no reason to do this, unless you either didn't or did a really bad job at giving your kid the cyber safety talk.
Parent of a 14 and 15 year old written by Health Homemade

What you do comes back to you, good or bad. Your parents know what is out there, that is why they try so they are not blamed later because they didn't pay attention or keep the reigns close or to keep from being sued because of some learning mistake teens make. It is funny how most people don't see that until they are grown and concerned for their own kids and become their parents because they understand what is important now. You've seen it, every lie comes out, and what do you get from it - 10 fold. By the way, my Daddy just passed away in October 2017, he told me you don't know until you know you can't pick up the phone and call your Mom or Dad, because his Mother was already gone. I thought about this because your name BigDaddyWasHere and we called him Big Daddy. I wish I could eat a sandwich with him, not a fancy meal. Have him tell me what to do, monitor me, etc. What I know now is that they care about you enough to be trouble because they have seen what is out there waiting for you.
Teen, 13 years old written by Kobeisinfact

Please somebody kill me. My parents will not stop and my life sucks pretty bad right now. I am having to learn to hack so that I can keep some of my things on my phone private from my mom. I am constantly having to change my passcode for everything. I have put a lock on my history and social medias. Kids need to evolve and learn their parents. I am the master of Duping my parents and I know what they will do in every scenario. My parents lack in consistency and do not enforce often. When they do search me it is usually because they're mad. I am working on a fingerprint or voice thing that I can put on my phone. This makes it so that if you leave your phone with your parents or home alone, you're invincible. What they do the other times is an attempt to force you to give them access threatening your sports, passions, hobbies, and even friends. You, kids, need to show that you have nothing to lose. The TV, your phone, and your video games is their best weapon. They hold it over you every time as they have complete control over it. Never argue or show emotion because it simply shows your parents how much you care about those things. Just shrug and accept it. It is up to you if you want to be good to have those things all the time or punish your parents by purposely being bad and difficult in situations of conflict. Im currently on the second option. So you choose what to do and dont be afraid to stand up to your parents or make a plan to lock your privacy. All you kids need to evolve and protect yourselves from the old people
Teen, 13 years old written by A male teen

The thing is this is what I call the take away game. Anything and everything you lover is a bargaining chip. You can beT this by showing unstressed in something you parents think you like and it becomes useless to take it away. One thing is after they take away these chips they have nothing else so you got nothing to lose
Teen, 14 years old written by irlchamomile

my mother has been monitoring me ever since i was in 3rd grade- i'm in 9th grade now. she's scrolled through my texts, looked through my apps, checked all of my history, and she searches through each thing on my phone for something, ANYTHING to get mad at. at some points, she finds nothing to get mad at and decides to get upset because i save pictures of celebrities on my phone. in addition to this, she also invades my privacy offline, too. she digs through my trash. she reads my diary (even when i wrote on loose leaf paper and hid it in my room, she found it and read it all). she raids my backpack. and she gets angry at every single thing she deems wrong or not to her liking. she's done this since i was in 3rd grade. i grew up with this, and i grew up feeling like no place was safe, like i had no right to express my thoughts, even to myself. there was a time in 7th grade where i was so paranoid that i thought she could read my mind, and i did everything i could to only think of things that would prevent me from getting in trouble. it barely felt like my own body belonged to me because she's enforced this theme of her owning anything and everything for so long. when parents invade their child's privacy, it makes them think that they aren't safe. they lose trust in their parents, and in turn you'll loose trust in us. to this day, i have to take every backdoor just to do things like text my classmates about homework. my mom found out about some old things i used to do to get around her restrictions and she’s since tried her best to invade my privacy even more because she no longer trusts me (as if she trusted me in the first place). i know the dangers of the internet- yes, i do make internet friends but i don’t ever try to meet up with them, give them my full name, tell them where i live, or anything of the sort. i’m mature enough to recognize if i’m being bullied and i know to not bully others. i’m very particular about video calls. i learnt all this in school and from my dad and on my own. your child most likely is capable of handling their phone if you teach them how and trust them. if they turn out to be doing things like sending nudes and you happen to find out, then fine, start monitoring them. but if you don’t give your kid a chance, you’ll never receive the bond that i hope you crave from them. your child is neither you nor your subject nor an object. treat them as such. the law may not grant us rights to privacy but it’s your duty as a human to realize that we, as a general whole, deserve it.
Parent of a 15 year old written by Jeff S.

To be honest- i don't think people should monitor their teens phones. Would you want someone constantly checking your conversations and internet history? Let them grow up themselves.
Teen, 15 years old written by Archipelago

To parents: Please think over why you might want to monitor your child's device. I understand that some parents believe that because they paid for the phone, they have the right to read their child's text messages, look through their phone call records, social media accounts, and even read their search history. This happened to me last summer. I am male and currently 14, soon to turn 15. They began to look through everything on my laptop computer, my phone, and my iPad. This took place over a bit under a week. After this finished, and I got my devices back, I noticed a feeling that I kept having. A sense of fear kept coming to me. I was always suspicious that my parents had placed some type of spyware or something to read incoming and out coming messages from my devices. When I was on my computer and an icon briefly popped up on my toolbar only to then disappear (I realize now that this is normal), I thought that is was some type of software they had installed to monitor my usage. It got to the point where I began to think that there were cameras put up in our house to spy on me. I thought that the wifi would send my internet searches to them, and that they would read them. I thought every electronic device I "owned" was being monitored by my parents. I did not trust them. I found out that what I had developed is paranoia, and while I have learned to suppress it to a large extent, it put me way behind in socializing than I was before they searched my devices. I was well liked and had many friends, but after my parents searched my electronics, I lack basic confidence and communication skills to mantain many relationships. Although it is getting better, I can only imagine what my social life would be if the electronic search simply didn't happen. So again, parents, please reconsider you decision and approach your child instead of surprising them.
Adult written by Amanda M.

DO NOT feel bad for monitoring your CHILDS internet, phone, media usage! I am the adult, I pay for the cel phone and I will check it to ensure that their conduct is appropriate, no perverts are grooming and their "friends" are self governing themselves as well. Don't feed into this "kids privacy" crap the world feeds you!! Through monitoring my kids phones I have observed the following: unsolicited pictures of sexual body part sent to my children, grooming from "older kids", two voice messages from a 45 year old man in California wanting to talk to my daughter because he was "scared" of thunder, unsolicited pictures of drugs other kids were selling and there were some inappropriate things both my kids have been caught sending or viewing cause they are not perfect.... COME ON. These are young impressionable children and there are many ways their innocence can be taken. I wish I had NEVER purchased a phone of either of my children. Phones also keep your child from face to face conversations, thinking before they react, diminishes their time to do other more important things, consumes their life, provides a false reality (since everything posted is usually shallow and superficial). Monitor your child 100% until they have proven themselves to be able to handle the responsibilities of having 24/7 access to their friends the entire world and worse their friends and the entire world have24/7 access to them!!! Once trust has been developed you can back off from checking all the time to monthly, spot checks. Both my children are out of high school now but 80% of the drama came from something on the phone or because of the phone. They are the worst thing you can purchase for your child.
Parent of a 15 year old written by Jeff S.

Perhaps this 'Drama' was because you monitored their phones so closely in the first place?
Kid, 11 years old

I'm 11 and don't have a phone yet, but I own an iPad and my parents have never looked through what I do. I don't plan to have any social media until I'm 13+. If you're a parent and insist on checking your child's phone daily/weekly, you likely haven't taught them the dos and don'ts of texting, social media, etc. I recommend only looking through their phone if they seem to be doing something suspicious. Would you like it if you were a kid and your parents gave you no privacy? Nope. Don't try to secretly monitor your kid, most teens and preteens are a tad more intelligent than they seem to be. Most kids/teens in their 10s need privacy, don't barge into their electronics if they're not doing anything bad.
Adult written by Alana C.

I am 41 years old adult and I am100% against monitoring or even looking into a childs phone once they are over age 12. I think if a parent is a good parent then they should have already shown their child how to behave responsibly, how to know dangers or not, and how to not bully people or stand up to one. If you do not trust your children then that is on YOU, not them. You clearly raised them incorrectly then. I would never snoop into my childrens/teens business because my own paents never did that to me. I did have some technology very early my parents were very big on new tech. I was raised by people two generations my senior, yet I had total privacy. No searching in my room no snooping in my business, no reading my notebooks with all my secrets in. And certainly I made a few errors as a teen. However, I survived, and got good grades and have an IQ of 158, and never had a teen pregnancy or any issues because my parents raised my correctly! I could defend myself as well as sense dangers. You parents MUST trust your children. Teens must have freedom, and I mean a lot of it. They HAVE to learn who they are, and who they are is not just some extension of you and a bunch of rules, they learn by making mistakes. They learn by being taught by you. Kids these days will never develop into proper adjusted people if parents do not start butting out again like mine did exactly enough. Also, if a teenager chooses to look at sexual content that is a natural thing. All humans are curious and want to see what sex is. No ne can tell me they did not also do so back then. Because I did, my friends did, my boyfriend did, and I know my parents have too in life because parents are HUMAN. Why is it that I seem to be the only adult on here with any sense of privacy and trust, who agrees completely with these teenagers? I was raised with tons of freedom, and I was just fine. I am 41 and I still feel like I am20 inside because I had the freedom to learn exactly who I am. Kids are not stupid, they know right from wrong!
Teen, 13 years old written by hannalindsley777

Yes I agree with you. Kids should have their own privacy about crushes and their personal life. Unfortunately that will not happen to me. My mom will check my texts and my history and put so many restriction on it.
Adult written by riley1319

Our son is getting his first phone at almost 13 and we will monitor its use. If he'd like a diary, fine, I'm happy to get him one and I won't touch it, because that diary isn't a tool to communicate with the outside world and vice versa. As an adult he might look back on a diary and laugh at his point of view or the things he thought/felt as a teen - that's a far cry from putting it out onto the internet and being forever responsible for it. It's also a far cry from creating a direct line into your home for people with less than good intentions for your child.
Adult written by Amanda M.

Good parenting!! Don't ever let society push you into raising your child against your better judgement! I have posted some information on what took place with my two children and what I did.
Parent of a 14 and 15 year old written by LonBoy

He Kids, as long as your parents are paying for your food, clothing, schooling AND phone...You Don't Have Any Privacy. There are seriously sick predators out there. There are kids brutally bullying other kids. Even kids encouraging kids to commit suicide! Our job is to Keep You Safe. Try showing a little gratitude for what you have and a little respect for your parents. Your reputation is their reputation. In a few years, as you prepare your college applications, and after that your employment applications, you'll wonder why you ever posted such stupid stuff anyway! What goes around, comes around. Have a great day!
Teen, 14 years old written by BigDaddyWasHere

You may pay for the phone... but, JAILBREAKING IS SUCH A BAD IDEA TO BEGIN WITH! It voids the warranty. Well, since you pay for it, that means you're paying for a new phone if you brick your kid's phone while jailbreaking it, apple will not help you at all, they will refuse you service. Rooting your android does the same thing, just don't attempt it, it's not worth wasting another $700 on a phone (that you have to explain to you kid how you broke it). Also they can buy their own phone on certain carriers, so good luck if you're not paying for it. We will also find ways around your crappy spying techniques.
Adult written by Amanda M.

Amen!! Thank you for spreading the truth and caring more about your child's mind and safety than their "privacy"! CHILDREN have no privacy!! THANK YOU!!
Teen, 14 years old written by Adom21

Ok first of all, you parents are absolutely stupid. My parents check EVERYTHING, and are on my phone 24/7. Because of this, I have many other apps to keep stuff secret etc. I hate that my parents do this and it absolutely pisses me off. Anyways, if you parents check your kids/ teens phones, don't think they don't know and don't think they don't have other ways to hide their stuff from you. Checking our phones/ social media is like if your (as in you adults) parents checked your journal, total invasion of privacy. It just is very sad how parents are so damn overprotective these days.
Parent written by Tate M.

Mobile Parenting has become a real thing. Part of parenting today is knowing Location of our kids, What they are doing, and Who they are talking/texting with. I use to help!
Teen, 17 years old written by neonn

As a teen, I know that even the most technologically-disadvantaged teen can hide photos from parents idiotic enough to hire a professional hacker *cough*. CommonSenseMedia despite what they say, is behind and always will be. Their "texting slang" is stuff people said in like 2013. Nobody uses any of that anymore. Snapchat, while the ninja spy thing that kids would use to hide from their parents at one point, is now as commonplace as twitter and new apps are being used. The last thing I want is to be a tool to parents who think spying on their kids/teens is okay, so I won't name any names. Let's just say that some of our newer apps are better than ghosting a vault app on the 88th page of our phone and putting a 20 digit password on it. Good luck, nosy parents :D P.S. for idiots who think not letting their kid have a phone will prevent sexting and whatever, it makes it more dangerous. We will just use a stolen/borrowed phone that you don't even know we have.
Teen, 13 years old written by Ptrfamily

My parents have been monitoring all my devices without my consent for a long time and have been doing it in secrecy. To this day, they still think I don't know that they're monitoring me. But, I see why they would do this. Most of the time, teens are afraid of being monitored because they have some texts of being rude or spreading gossip, or they have some arguments with some random person on the internet or in rare cases, they're watching explicit videos, have inappropriate pictures or sexting. So to answer your question, yes, even as a teen, I think it is important to monitor your kid's phone/devices. But, there must be limits. First, tell your kid what your doing. Not telling your kid what you're doing can lead to them not trusting you even more and end up them hiding everything from you. Second, do weekly or monthly checks. Checking everyday can make your child think that you don't trust them at all. And finally, be casual about it. Don't yell at your kid, "HEY! I want to see your phone right now!" or "Tell me all your passwords for your social media!" Instead, ease your way into convincing your kid to voluntarily hand over their phone. Don't be like my parents and check their phone during the night when they're asleep, they could easily find out and they'd trust you even less. Also, remember to be "light" on the judgement. If your child does do something wrong, talk with them first. Be patient, even if they brush off your talking. Punishments such as taking away the phone, grounding, or ban on social media should only be handed out if the misbehavior continues or if they do something in the "extreme" area. Hope this helped!
Parent written by Kim C.

Avoiding getting the kids a cell phone as long as possible. They complain that some 3rd graders already have their own. However, most of the 3rd grade parents I've spoken with have come to the same decision re: the cell phone. At some point they'll need cell phones, especially with a million and one practices, games, and meetings going on and I can't be everywhere. No place seems to have pay phones anymore. also young people can be very cruel. There are a few ways that you can monitor your child's facebook account, if you are not friend visit
Teen, 13 years old written by SGHaggarty

As a 13-year-old, I know what it's like to have intrusive-seeming parents and I also know how they could find out what I'm doing without seeming that way. 1. Talk to your teen about what they should be doing on their social media, phone, etc. before they get it. 2. Casually ask, what are you up to periodically. 3. Ask to see their social media accounts. 4. Get a social media account yourself and follow your child's account. Hope this helped! :)
Parent written by John H.

I don't really trust anyone who drops blanket statements like, "Well, this is what *I* did with my kids and it worked out, so anyone who does things differently is obviously doing it wrong." Parenting is an art as much as a science, what works for you and your family may not work for me and mine. Being so judgemental and self righteous towards other parents must be exhausting. Many parents don't spend the time and the result is kids that lack attention, discipline, and common sense. Like I said, I see lots of parents doing their thing, and totally leaving their kids to fend for themselves. These guys helped me once to see my Daughter's fb page .
Teen, 16 years old written by Nikkkk

As a teen who has experienced both sides of the issue; having a parent concerned for myself and being concern for a sibling, I have to say that the lengths you all are willing to go to for such an issue is quite ridiculous. You adults must realize that we, your children ar of a time where technology is as normal to us as riding a bike. I would like to point out that many of you are so naïve to think that you are able to control every aspect of your child's internet usage. I speak from personal experience when I say that we are especially good at getting around the rules. Another point I would like to make to those adults who have taken the time to read these comments, if you think your child is too young and innocent to recognize the dangers of social media, don't you think perhaps they are too young to have social media. Being internet safe is as much a part of good parenting as being street safe. If your child is unable to recognize what is and is not safe on the internet, it is your fault for not properly educating them as such. I would also like to discuss simply the invasion of privacy. I'm sure you can all think back to being a young to mid teen, writing all the thoughts you once thought were important into a diary or a notebook. For kids of this time, we dont use journals, rather we share such things with our social media. I can imagine all you parents gasping in horror right about now. But understand that sharing these thoughts provides us with a channel to receive support from peers who we may not have connected with otherwise. The internet is not a scary place, but to be safe children must be educated just like everything else.
Kid, 11 years old

i'm 11 and my parents won't let me have snapchat or or instagram or any social media because they do not trust me sometimes i download those apps and make private accounts hey don't know about them delete them when i'm around them i always have a feeling they will find out some way i just think it's stupid that they don't trust me. also they always look through my text and if my friend is joking and calls me dumb they get all worked up about it. again it's stupid. last but not leaste they have to approve the apps and games i download like why can't i just download what i want? it's stupid and i think parents should just let us download apps we want and not have to check our phones
Kid, 11 years old

The social media apps you mentioned are 13+ though...but I agree that parents shouldn't get angry over a harmless joke.
Teen, 13 years old written by qwertymcqwerts

Just use parental controls and be done with it. If your child is old enough to have a phone then they are growing up. Monitoring a little is ok, but not tracking (there is a difference!).
Teen, 15 years old written by Untitled_Teenager

This morning, I woke up late but stayed home anyways because I was feeling too sick to go to school. 40 minutes after I told my mom I can't go, she comes in my room asking if I'm sure I can't go and I said yes. Then she says, "You do know everything you search goes on my phone?" And that's obviously a bad thing to wake up to, but I reply 'yes' because my father told me that when I got my phone returned to me early in the school year, but my heart's still beating extremely fast because I know it's leading to something bad. I thought it was because I had snapchat downloaded on my phone for a day, which is only because my friend needed to use it since it wouldn't work on her phone. So I tell my mom, "If it's about snapchat-" She then cuts me off and says that isn't it. She told me her phone sent her a message about me going on youtube watching some sort of sexual videos, that's when my heart beats harder and faster and I'm terrified because I searched no such thing! She continues saying she's only worried for me and for about 5 minutes, the entire conversation was her asking if it was me or if anyone else had my phone, to me telling her I didn't do it, I'm scared what are you talking about, I swear to GOD it wasn't me! I had to keep my voice down because I was scared my dad would hear, this is all at 7:50 mind you so being tired didn't help with my nerves. She tells me this is my last chance as if I did something in the first place, and I'm terrified. What videos were they? Why did she get that message when the only time I ever used youtube was to listen to music or watch some games or cooking videos? But at the same time I had felt relief that she didn't tell my dad, for I knew my dad wouldn't believe me. I try my best to go back to sleep, and wake up and get downstairs at around 2 pm. She asks me one last time if I did it, with my answers being the same. I didn't do it. She then says my dad and I will talk about it tonight and I felt like I was going to pass out. I rose my voice at her, not because I was mad but scared, asking her why she told? And he won't believe me. So I've been spending my time figuring out how to prove it wasn't me that searched up such videos. Then I find this post and it honestly angers me. If your child gives you a reason to check it, ok. But to have an app to spy on them? Hell no. That is such an invasion of privacy and makes you a hypocrite if you tell your children that you trust them. My parents know my password so there's no point spying on them. That's just stupid.
Kid, 11 years old

I find that excessive monitoring is a tad wrong and invasive. Like having something like DyKnow (where you can see the child's screen -- my mother is a teacher) is just plain wrong. It seems a little creepy. I understand that our parents care about us, but seriously? Why monitor our every internet movement? But sometimes it is necessary. Like if your child seems secretive and maybe a bit untrustworthy, then maybe that is a good idea. I think you should only monitor if you think something is up or if your child is acting suspicious. But hey, what do I know? I'm just a kid.
Kid, 11 years old

Nailed it. No one over the age of 18 would listen to me, even after saying that I have no right to fail anything because of my high IQ (ironically, I don't believe in IQ tests). Recently, my dad made fun of a show I watch because he thought I was "talking back" (all I said was "ok, I'm checking my homework"). That's how I figured out he was monitoring my computer, and he didn't even bother telling me that he was basically reading through my personal diary every time he opened his computer.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sodex234

My parents monitor my phone, which I find annoying. I understand the fact that they love me, but sometimes as a growing up person, I need my own space. They follow me on Instagram, and can see that I don't do anything badly, its just the fact that they check *Every* text. When you were children (to you adults) did you have secrets that you didn't want your parents to know? Technology has enabled us to communicate better, and to know each other in better ways, and it introduces new threats to the table - and I clearly acknowledge that. But backing up my point, I don't do anything bad, and I don't want my parents to know everything that I know. Sometimes us as teenagers and developing humans have to work things out for ourselves, do things that if go wrong, we will learn from. Most of us don't do anything that is inappropriate, but we would like to have some personal space. Did your parents follow you everywhere?
Adult written by Greta B.

Tracking is immoral, of course. Unless you have a kid or a teenager prone to keeping secrecy of his personal life – you simply preinstall the tracking app onto the target device and give the device to him or her as a present. For several times actually helped to make some situations clear. It’s all about my teenage sister. We never keep constant track of her life – that’s not an appropriate thing to do. I only check her contacts for suspicious entries couple of times a month. When she’s depressed, she’s always ready to share with me first, even not with our mom. I’m aware of her troubles and my monitoring never seems intrusive. Besides, GPS tracking option is extremely useful. I can always check where my sis is without annoying her with constant phone conversations if she’s out.
Parent written by Rosehart97

I use a paid monitoring service to I can check exactly what apps and web sites my child visits. This can be non-intrusive or intrusive depending on how a parent chooses to use it. As for myself, I feel it's well worth it. I can block an app I find questionable right from my computer or my phone. I can set time limits. This paves the way for open discussion. Overall, my child is great but children need to learn that in life, with everything, there are boundries. Better to learn that as a child. I feel it's my job to guide my child to making the right choices. If they slip up, it's also my job to provide correction. I personally feel that parents should monitor what's going on all the time. Not to be nosy or intrusive, but to protect naive children from falling prey to adults who know they get at kids who are unprotected. It's the same in the teen years as it is in the infant years. You would stop your toddler from running into the street because you want to protect them. So we stop our teens from using apps and visiting web sites that are geared for mature adults but lure innocent and naive children. A parents ultimate job is to guide and protect so our kids make it successfully into the adult world.
Teen, 13 years old written by Natalie_Grace_1112

OMG. what a huge waste of money! I'm sorry. this is just my oppinion. and you won't think very much of it because I'm 13 and your an adult and adults think we will just think that is bad so we can get away with things but if I knew that my parents had that app at first I would be furious and then heart broken. I can't believe my own parents don't trust me. Don't they think I'm a good kid? Don't they think I am mature enough to make the right decision? I can't believe my own parents are actually paying money that could be used for better things because of their lack of trust for me. That's just how I would feel about that. I would feel so heart broken and betrayed. At some point I hope you trust your kid enough to stop paying this service. I am not saying you are a bad parent at all I am sure your motives are good but i'm not really sure about this service. It's just so... wrong. ----from a fellow kid..
Adult written by Constance D.

Natalie, the only reason your parents would do such is because they love you very much. In a world where information is so accessible to our teens and our kids, we as parents have to be responsible and make sure the activities that you are participating in is the best for you. As parents our jobs are to guide you and to help you become a responsible adult. So don't be heartbroken or upset be very happy that your parents care enough to want the very best for you. Remember to use technology responsibly....all the best.
Adult written by Anne K.

It's not you your parents don't trust it's the creep posing as a 16 year old when he's really 46. Your parents know a lot more about the evils of the world than you do and they are trying to protect you. Be glad someone cares enough to want to keep you safe.
Adult written by VivianA 1

I too would like to know the name of this app. I am totally overwhelmed looking for software that is easy to use and helpful to parents.