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Cellphone Parenting

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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Adult written by RoxieV

My mother never tracked my internet or app usage as a teen and I pretty much had free rein of the internet. I don't think I should have but if I do say so myself, I was pretty good at avoiding creeps and staying safe. Now as an adult, beginning at 18 when I got my first bf,(she made us break up because of an age gap) my mother began looking through my phone and questioning in depth whenever I have lengthy conversations or calls with someone. Since then she will pester me and demand to know if I am in a relationship and if I say yes, will break it up because of something she sees in the partner but no one else can see and track my phone and computer or take both away to make sure I never contact the partner again. She also convinced my younger siblings to spy on me and try to catch me doing "bad things" and tell her to "keep me safe" so they burst into my space, grab my phone and look at it etc. I blocked my friends list on Facebook after she began harrassing me about people I was friends with and telling me all the reasons they were bad people and why I had to stop being friends with them. She cried about this and was complaining about it last night and said that I "made all my friends block her" (not true). Whilst I explained why I did what I did and how I felt constantly watched, she said that facebook is for stalking only and thats why she uses it and that she knows what sites I visit and who I talk to /what about anyways so it doesn't matter. 0_O Alarm bells went off in my head because I am literally 2 weeks away from being 21 and I still live at home because of COVID, school and some other things. I cannot really talk to any one about this because I feel like it will be found out and I will be put under an even closer watch. In the wrong hands I think that parental controls will be used in the wrong way and further unhealthy realtionships with parents in adulthood. On another end, I moniter my siblings internet usage by watching the films/reading with them to make sure they don't visit shady sites because they are still very young.
Kid, 12 years old

I hate parental controls - I cant enjoy anything of my computer anymore because my parents have a time limit. if I ever try really hard on something but then fail, I feel so much worse than I should because I know that I just wanted some or most of my screen time on something with no outcome - and it ends up rewinding my whole day. I would feel so much better if I had no time limit and i count just try again. if my parent cant trust me on my pc then why should I trust them. I think parents need to accept the fact that this is a new generation and children need there electronics for everything now. sometimes I try SOOO hard to make a good piece of homework and my pc stops working because I crossed my time limit - then all my work doesn't save at it makes me so frustrated. if I waste even 1 minute of time on something I get so mad cause I will never get that 1 minute back. I always have this thought in the back of my mind that I am being traced on everything I am doing. I know my parents wouldn't like it if I checked their search history so why do they check mine. this is all i can right because my screen time is about to end - bye
Adult written by Boo007

I am a parent of a 16 year old. The reason why we monitor is because a couple of times we found she chat really deep stuff to strangers she never met take selfies while she is in the bath and even when she gets dressed she takes selfies. She has video calls with a boy she never met and have sexual chats with him. One day she befriended a man she said that he is 17 because he told her he was. Then she got sexualy harrased by a man on instagram and we took it to the police and they found it was the same man that she befriended that told her he is 17 and then it came out he is a registered sexoffender that is 48years old. So this is why we parents do what we do. When you as a parent have a gutfeeling something is wrong do something about it. One day when they are all grown up with kids off their own they will thank you.
Kid, 11 years old

I’m so sorry that it happened to her. You have all the right to monitor now, after knowing that. It’s just really surprising because we all learn at such a young age NOT to do that, yet people still do, and it’s horrible
Teen, 13 years old written by Lax4life_

I accept your point that we could be doing stupid things online and that has happened in a lot of cases. However, I have straight A’s and good friends that don’t cause any sort of trouble. I just have trouble understanding why they still wouldn’t trust you if they have a reason to. And, another thing, parents obviously know a lot more than their kids but as a teen we have seen and know a lot more than you could imagine. Just be aware of that. Have a good day!
Adult written by DarkLordofAll

I just recently became an adult, (18) and I am still living in my parents house. My parents have never ever checked or gone through my phone, because my parents completely trust me it seems. I don’t have a lot of friends and I’m homeschooled, and my parents aren’t really strict. Anyways, I believe that the reasoning behind a parent checking a phone is crucial because if you have no reason to believe that your child is doing something wrong, then you don’t need to check it, unless of course your child is 13 and under, then I suggest just making sure they aren’t getting into things that are harmful. But anyways, I’ve noticed a lot of kids on here complaining about phone monitoring, and some adults complaining that these kids should be grateful for their parents protection. I believe a middle ground is probably necessary, again, depending on your child’s situation. I don’t believe a parent should randomly check through messages from friends or maybe people they are dating or whatever, because it’s just an invasion of privacy. I recommend to instead tell your kid you can just come to them with anything. Punishment isn’t always the answer for behavior you don’t agree with, sometimes kids just want to be heard and understood. It’s also always good to keep in mind that your child is most definitely keeping *something* from you, and it isn’t always wrong. Obviously I’m talking about the little things. It’s good to understand that you need boundaries, and checking through their phone is just going to make them feel uncomfortable with you. Make sure you have a real reason to check, a matter of safety. And for those of you who do check your kids phone and read their texts, please, don’t confront them about their friends choices that they might have made and told to you kid, and don’t get in between their conversations unless it’s something really serious. But most importantly, be patient with your kid, and be gentle, especially when dealing with sensitive issues. I trust my parents , and I don’t feel the need to hide things from them. I still don’t tell them absolutely ever problem I have because, I just don’t need to, but I tell them the important things, and it works out just fine
Teen, 15 years old written by sugaryxsweet

As a teenager in this day and age, I can tell you a lot of things about the way that we live our lives, and its so completely different from what teenagers were like just 10 years ago, let alone 20-30 years ago when our own parents were that age. Our phones are an important part of our lives, and most of us even go as far as to say we 'can't live without it'. We use these devices to communicate with each other, to strengthen our bond, to find out new things and so much more, so to have your own parent install something that controls this feels so awful. I've had parental controls on my phone ever since I was 12 years old, in the 6th grade. My father found out from some work friends about an app called 'kaspersky safe kids' and will I tell you that this app was so intrusive, I wasn't able to have any social media on my phone, the closest thing that even came close to it was google, and I do understand that my parents worry, of course, they're my parents they're bound to but to take away something we hold so dear to us is in no way acceptable. When I turned 13, all of my friends had social media, instagram, snapchat, twitter, tik tok, the whole package, I felt so disconnected from all of them, they would have their own chats on these platforms that I wasn't included in, they had their own inside jokes, and I was so lonely. When I turned 14, I was trying so hard to discover my own identity, I went as far as to search up 'how do I know if i'm gay' the app right away reported this to my father and we got into a heated argument over the fact that I even dared search something like this up. I saw many adults mentions in the thread below how they do these things because they're scared of their kids being bullied online, but what happened with me was that I was bullied BECAUSE of these parental controls, people got hold of my phone number and message me things about how I'm a 'goody two shoes' that my parents control me and I'm not a teen, but an overgrown six year old and to an extent that I don't have a life. My parents gave me so much anxiety that I started harming myself and even suffered 5 s**cide attempts, I've ran away a numerous amount of times. these apps don't strengthen the bond between you and your child, but only break them. I'm currently living with my uncle who is fully supportive of me and my lgbtq+ identity and he gives me the freedom that we as teenagers deserve, because at the end of the day we are still people, though we are young. I haven't talked to my parents in almost a year and I'm not planning to, so if any of you are thinking of doing these types of things, please talk with your child, address your concerns to them straight up, no sugar coating it, treat them as equals and not as someone who is below you, use me and my family as an example of what could happen do to miscommunication.
Teen, 14 years old written by noyrak8

As a teenager, I belive that parents should only check their teenagers phone if they have a valid reason to be concerned about them. A valid reason is not "she's missing one 5 point assignment!" or "she was on her phone for longer than she was yesterday". A valid reason would be "she's not talking to us, but she's normally very talktive and loves to tell us things". If your child is a student that gets good grades for their personal skill level (they do not have to be straight A's as long as they are trying their best) and have given you no indication or reason to belive that they have done something bad, you DO NOT need to check their phone. In my personal experience, random, unprompted phone checks are a huge invasion of privacy. Teenagers need to have privacy and personal space: we DO NOT need you to confront us over a text we sent our friend or jump into an argument that we can handle on our own. This just makes everything more difficult and uncomfortable. My parents, especially my mom, check my text messages. As a result, I feel the need to delete a lot of texts from my friends. They are texting me information about themsleves that they want only me to know. However, because my parents check my messages, I need to delete the personal text messages because I know they will read through our conversation and ask me about it later. This is a huge invasion of privacy of both my friends and myself. Remember - if you read a conversation between two different people and one of them is not yourself, you are invading both of their privacies. Other messages I feel the need to delete are the ones with any curse words in them. I am going into sophomore year when school starts up again, and everyone in my school knows every curse word. Parents - if your child is middle school age and above, THEY KNOW CURSE WORDS. A lot of elementary school kids know curse words too, because guess what?! They hear their parents swear and they pick up and remember the word. Almost every kid I know swears, both in person and over text messages, which brings me to my next pont: if your child or a friend of your child swears, it DOES NOT mean that they are trouble or bad news. As I stated above: EVERYBODY swears, and they pick up most of the curse words they know from their parents. It is not the end of the world if your kid's friend says s*** over text. Something that also annoys me is the mindset that all social media is horrible. It's not - it's actually a great way to connect wit your friends or talk with someone that you kind of know. Not everyone wants to give out their phone numbers, so social media is a great way to talk. If I want social media because my friends have it or everyone else has it, it's not an "if your friends jumped off a bridge would you?" scenario. It's just a way to connect with others without getting too personal or giving out your phone number. If parents are concerned about strangers seeing their child's pictures, there are ways to make your social media private, which allows only people you choose to follow you see your pictures and posts. Another thing I would like to bring up is screen time. I am lucky enough not to have it, as my parents didn't know about it until after I had had my phone for a while. However, my brother has it on his phone. While I understand that parents don't want kids to be on their phones all day, please realize that we have literally nothing better to do. Right now, we are in the middle of a pandemic, meaning that we can't leave the house or hang out with our friends . Our phone is our only way to communicate and our main way to keep ourselves entertained. Even if we weren't in the middle of a pandemic, there is still not that much to do besides go on our phone. Sure, the weather outside it nice, but that DOES NOT mean that we will be able to keep ourselves entertained by playing tag all day. This might just be my personal experience, but parents are often on their phones more then their kids. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked over at my mom during a movie to find her on her phone, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. But if I go on my phone to text my friend something during the commercial break of a TV show, I instantly get told to put my phone down and get a lecture on the importance of family time. While I understand that family time is important, parents have to realize that WE LITERALLY LIVE IN THE SAME EXACT HOUSE. We see each other every day and have plenty of time to talk to each other. Me being on my phone for 5 seconds DOES NOT mean that I hate talking to you and don't want to spend any time with my family. It mean "let me send this one text to tell my friend I have to go and then I'll shut my phone off for however long you want to talk for". The biggest thing that pisses me off about parents checking their kids phone is the excuse "well we paid for it, so we can look at everything in it!" While it is true that you paid for/are paying for it, a child's phone is like their diary. Sure, you paid for it, but it is personal to them and they see it as a way to express themselves or talk to the people or person they choose to. Phones are very personal and can contain things that your child does not want you to know, and thats ok. How would you feel if you told your best friend something, and I unlocked your phone, read all of your personal messages, formulated an opionion on your friend that I've never met just because she said WTF, and then confronted you about what you said to her. If you wouldn't like me to read through your messages and limit the amount of time you can spend on your phone, please don't do it to me without a valid reason to do so. Once again, a valid reason is NOT "I pay for your phone!" Overall, if your kid wants to tell you something, they will. If they don't, then they don't have to. All checking your child's messages does is make them very good at lying and hiding things from you as well as make them feel like they can't trust you with anything, even major problems. As long as you educate your child and tell them about the dangers in today's society and online, they should be perfectly fine. We know a lot more then you think we do about the world, but we can still learn more and some guidance from adults is necessary as long as its not controlling or exessive. I feel like I would be comfortable enough to talk to my parents about things and say what I am really feeling and thinking as long as they didn't moniter my every move - it feel like they don't trust me, and as a result I am uncomfortable with telling them about anything that goes on in my life, which has definitely harmed my relationship with them. Also, please don't gossip to your friends about us or campare us to other kids. It's really annoying and makes us feel insecure and angry. That concludes my little rant. Sorry I just got really annoyed at some of the comments on this thread and at my own parents.
Teen, 13 years old written by Lax4life_

Honestly, I feel like I have to completley change myself over text because my parents will have a "talk" with me whenever they find anything. Its not really a talk, its just "hey, why did you say WTF (not even what the f*ck but the abbreviation) or why did you swear or why are you texting this person." Parents, I get that they are trying to do this because you love your kid to hell and want to protect them, but think of it this way: Its not like I texted you about what I wanted to say. Its not like I went to text you that I like a girl or my best friends secrets. If I want to tell you, ill tell you. You dont have to do it for me, im mature enough to handle myself. As a 13 year old boy, I can tell all of you parents that we know a lot more than you give us credit for. Or maybe not, because some parents check web history and restrict it so that its impossible to clear it. Once again, I know your trying to protect them, but let us learn it on our own. Once again, we didnt come to tell you these things, so we dont want you to know about them. One time, I wanted to know what porn was, so I searched it up. My parents saw it and we got this entire long discussion which ends up with me so mad im crying about 98% of the time. also, ever heard of puberty...sex drives...curiosity? Sorry im getting a bit heated. but anyways, I liked this girl and I was texting her, facetiming her, and then my sister hears me from her room. She walks downstairs, says to my mom "__ is talking to a girl!" From then on I felt like i could never trust my parents again. Constantly teasing, getting pissed about texts, and just bringing up unecesary conversations that I wasnt comfortable with having. Im pretty sensitive so this might be different for others, but Its my life. Please, let me live it. Its not like we go and check your conversations, but I bet if we did you would feel like they knew stuff that they would want you to know. I feel like I have to delete messages because they are private things about myself and my friends. Also, for the parents with sensitive kids like me: respect their boundaries when speaking to them. They dont always want to talk about their friends personal lives or their girlfriend. Once again, im sensitive so i tend to take these things a bit more seriously, but it feels like your taunting us kids. One more topic: Screen time. Please, dear god please, do not limit them to two hours a day when we are stuck in our houses for 12 hours straight. Screen time can have some good uses such as restrictions to innapropriate content, but DO NOT limit their usage unless you feel like they are harming others, sneaking out, or their social interaction with friends is being limited due to their phones. And by the way, we DO NOT NEED TO SPEND ANY MORE TIME WITH OUR FAMILY WHEN WE ARE AROUND THEM 24/7 DUE TO COVID. Please, for the love of god stop saying spend more time with family because part of a teenager is growing independent and adjusting to changes. (however, this obviosly depends on how serious the matter is, like seeing parents 3 or 4 times a day) Funny how I get so mad at this when im upstairs on my chromebook at 3 in the morning, but cant get up the courage to tell them this in person. (hint hint: maybe your limitations on your childs phone only causes them to try and find other ways to entertain themselves like me) Once again, im trying to see both sides. Hopefully all kids know that their parents love them and are motivated to restrict them from dangers of the internet. because of this. But it gets to the point where its annoying. By the small chance that my mom and dad sees this: Im honeslty pissed off about all of this and I want to ask you to remove some limits, but I had to have all A's and to "gain trust back" after searching up porn. All just to get instagram. This keeps going on and on. Last thing. Dont be mad at your child for deleting messages and trying to bypass limits, because your the one causing them to do this. I personally have good grades in school and consider myself to be trustworthy, however I still dont think my parents trust me for searching up porn. Listen, theyre gonna do it. the temptation is natural. Dont give them shit for it. Please reply to me and give me feeback because I need someone to debate or relate to. Reading all of these comments has literally inflamed me and pissed me off more than I already was.
Teen, 14 years old written by Kid Sister

Okay so, as many people know, we're stuck inside due to Covid-19. I will admit that my grades have been dropping because of this. Before, I had a structure. I was forced to go to school and focus. But now, I have my phone. Now, I've had a phone for around three years (I turn 15 in about four or five months I think) and my parents have been monitoring my phone ever since. They have the Verizon family plan thing. I'm a fourteen-year-old girl. There's stuff I honestly just don't want them to see. They're really strict as well. They read every single text I receive and send, they go through my photos and videos, go through my app data, set screentime limits, restricted my ability to change my password and edit my Apple ID. I've called a hotline twice and the second they saw that on my records they took my phone away for three months. I cannot get social media even though it's the new "cool" thing and it's basically normal for teenagers my age to have. I'm going into high school and not everyone is going to want to give out a phone number when they could just use Snapchat. It's all 12+ anyways. I honestly believe that it's not a good idea to stalk your children's phones because I've gotten so much better at hiding things. I have my iPad, which isn't linked to my Apple account, it's a completely different account. I have my laptop, which I can clear my search history. Heck, I have my school Chromebook and I can request passcode changes if my parents ever find it because my school counselor would get mad if they saw our conversations. Honestly, please just stop trying to get all involved in your kids' lives. I know you care, I really do, but this ruins any form of trust and stability in your relationship. I'm going into the 9th grade and I, as of now, feel like I'll never be able to do anything on my own with my parents up my behind all the time trying to make sure I do everything correctly. Like, I understand you care, but give me space to mess up. I can't even call my teachers (for online school) without my parents leaving their work calls to pay attention to the lesson and make sure I'm doing the work. Then they get mad at me for making them waste time. Anyways this turned into a vent, I'm sorry.
Teen, 14 years old written by Kid Sister

Okay so, as many people know, we're stuck inside due to Covid-19. I will admit that my grades have been dropping because of this. Before, I had a structure. I was forced to go to school and focus. But now, I have my phone. Now, I've had a phone for around three years (I turn 15 in about four or five months I think) and my parents have been monitoring my phone ever since. They have the Verizon family plan thing. I'm a fourteen-year-old girl. There's stuff I honestly just don't want them to see. They're really strict as well. They read every single text I receive and send, they go through my photos and videos, go through my app data, set screentime limits, restricted my ability to change my password and edit my Apple ID. I've called a hotline twice and the second they saw that on my records they took my phone away for three months. I cannot get social media even though it's the new "cool" thing and it's basically normal for teenagers my age to have. I'm going into high school and not everyone is going to want to give out a phone number when they could just use Snapchat. It's all 12+ anyways. I honestly believe that it's not a good idea to stalk your children's phones because I've gotten so much better at hiding things. I have my iPad, which isn't linked to my Apple account, it's a completely different account. I have my laptop, which I can clear my search history. Heck, I have my school Chromebook and I can request passcode changes if my parents ever find it because my school counselor would get mad if they saw our conversations. Honestly, please just stop trying to get all involved in your kids' lives. I know you care, I really do, but this ruins any form of trust and stability in your relationship. I'm going into the 9th grade and I, as of now, feel like I'll never be able to do anything on my own with my parents up my behind all the time trying to make sure I do everything correctly. Like, I understand you care, but give me space to mess up. I can't even call my teachers (for online school) without my parents leaving their work calls to pay attention to the lesson and make sure I'm doing the work. Then they get mad at me for making them waste time. Anyways this turned into a vent, I'm sorry.
Teen, 13 years old written by xXDarkSpaceNerd...

Well, to start, I'm a straight A student, and I have good friends that don't get into trouble. To make it better, I am at a Christian covenant school so almost everyone is nice. The promblem with my parents is that they really do not understand how it feels in society today. My parents are in their late fourties so when they were my age they didn't have the same pressure problems or acceptance issues that are present today. I saw once that 1 in 6 college students suffer from anxiety or other depression related psycological disorders. I was in a public school with around 100 or so kids in my elementary school per grade and so there was always fights in the 'social hierarchy.' With social media being a large part of a teen's life today (even though my parents won't let me get social media even if it is 12+) the lack of it can really give a child anxiety. If your kid is kind and responsible and has good grades, do not stalk their every move on the internet. They are probably not looking up horrible things on YouTube. If you think it is really necessary, go for it but do not resrict it yet. See what they are doing, and if the things they are doing are inappropriate, then you have the right to bust into their bubble and help them figure it out. Also, parents, Disney Circle is one of the most invasive of all the restricting apps. Parents can set a time when screen time turns on and off at say, 6:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. If your kid is not tired and slept till 10:00 A.M., let them at least play a few games till ten because like me, some will stay up past midnight reading. Also, it restricts innocent apps like Duolingo.
Adult written by Shinejj

It’s amazing to me to see so many 11-13 year olds that think their parents are so wrong to be concerned for their well-being to check their electronic devices that the parents pay for, your parents are responsible for you till you are 18 plus years. Try to look at it as they love you and want the best for you. For you to be the best that you can be. To protect you. It’s all in how you look at it. I don’t see anything wrong with parents protecting and knowing what their minor child is doing while they are under the age of 18. The parent is paying for everything for you. Until you can make it on your own, then you make your own decisions and choices. The choices you make will put you in the path of your life. Your parent just want the best for you to be the best you can be. I have 2 grown kids that I knew all their friends and monitored their electronics and till they left. They are both well educated, happy and we have a great relationship. They both say I was an awesome parent. Now I have a 10 year old that sounds like these 11-13 year old here saying it’s their right, their parents are always in their business and so on.... this is sad to me.
Adult written by Shinejj

It’s amazing to me to see so many 11-13 year olds that think their parents are so wrong to be concerned for their well-being to check their electronic devices that the parents pay for, your parents are responsible for you till you are 18 plus years. Try to look at it as they love you and want the best for you. For you to be the best that you can be. To protect you. It’s all in how you look at it. I don’t see anything wrong with parents protecting and knowing what their minor child is doing while they are under the age of 18. The parent is paying for everything for you. Until you can make it on your own, then you make your own decisions and choices. The choices you make will put you in the path of your life. Your parent just want the best for you to be the best you can be. I have 2 grown kids that I knew all their friends and monitored their electronics and till they left. They are both well educated, happy and we have a great relationship. They both say I was an awesome parent. Now I have a 10 year old that sounds like these 11-13 year old here saying it’s their right, their parents are always in their business and so on.... this is sad to me.
Teen, 13 years old written by Lax4life_

In my opinion, this post is made by an arrogant person who does not respect boundaries or personal space. I get your perspective on this, but it sounds like you can't accept that kids have problems that they want to deal with on their own. I do stand for lightly monitering the childs activity, not to the point where you cannot understand why a child may not want you looking in their stuff. Its almost like reading their diary. Whats sad to me is that you have no understanding of what being a child is like in the modern day. Their phone is one of the only things they have freedom with. You are taking away from that freedom by thinking your child is unreasonable for wanting to keep some things private. Please try to understand why someone will not want you knowing everything you could ever know about them.
Adult written by Shinejj

It’s amazing to me to see so many 11-13 year olds that think their parents are so wrong to be concerned for their well-being to check their electronic devices that the parents pay for, your parents are responsible for you till you are 18 plus years. Try to look at it as they love you and want the best for you. For you to be the best that you can be. To protect you. It’s all in how you look at it. I don’t see anything wrong with parents protecting and knowing what their minor child is doing while they are under the age of 18. The parent is paying for everything for you. Until you can make it on your own, then you make your own decisions and choices. The choices you make will put you in the path of your life. Your parent just want the best for you to be the best you can be. I have 2 grown kids that I knew all their friends and monitored their electronics and till they left. They are both well educated, happy and we have a great relationship. They both say I was an awesome parent. Now I have a 10 year old that sounds like these 11-13 year old here saying it’s their right, their parents are always in their business and so on.... this is sad to me.
Teen, 14 years old written by Moonlight_the_k...

well... I have to say this.. Parents like mine seems to be. how do I say it? hmmm... people who believes in stereotypes placing limits to one's creativity, way to be and actions based on illogical ideas (stereotypes) so... they want to see my computer JUST BECAUSE I WORE NAIL POLISH ONCE... I am not gay, I just like cute stuff, sadly I can't get those things, nothing that I want is bad... is nail polish bad? is pink bad? is being girly bad? the answer is no, but my parents won't ever get it, so please don't spy on us just for being girly, it has nothing bad to it, come on, we are on the 21 century and doing that is just limiting someone because {he/she}'s not like the other people, it has no sense and I hate having to do a lot less stuff I like.... just please.. please don't make people like me suffer just because {he/she} is different to everyone else, it is horrible, believe me
Adult written by Vuvu

Dear teen, I really don't know about your age although you claim ti be 14, but I do know few things... And please DO note that i am not being judgemental al tall, quite on the contrary. I am VERY open minded. 1. I do believe that kids, teens or any other form of childhood (early or late) are as entitled to respect, privacy and courtesy as any adult it. 2. Kids, teens or any other form of childhood (early or late) know ZERO about life. As it is rather obvious. 3. A boy being girlish, wearing pink lace, nail polish, kitty necklaces and truck tire earlobe deformers, wearing lipstick and preserving a squeaky voice is not a problem per se, but they might be a problem — even in the XXI century — for the kids themselves. 4. The things you mention are alert lights to alternative sexualities (even though it's not your case or you may think it isn't)... and as you may imagine, not every adult is open minded. Most of them grew up in an absolutely non tolerant society. Most of them cannot even begin to understand those things. 5. Maybe you should also try to see their side... 6. Solve EVERYTHING by talking freely and openly about ANY issue. 7. Parent's actions, although eventually misguided, are usually taken as protective measures. 8. Most of them are just trying to help. 9. Religious fanatics are not included in this kind of people (couldn't stop myself from saying this, sorry). 10. To be WHO you are and to live as YOU feel comfortable you DO NOT need to be flamboyant... That's usually seen as a reaction behaviour and it may embarrass you in the future. You will not always be a teen or young and your youth flamboyances may bite you in the neck later on. 11. Give adults a chance and balance your behaviours. Do nor refrain from being who you are, but do nor cross lines... Life doesn't work like that and doesn't treat people whoa re like that with leniency... I am am man. I sued to be a child, a teen, a youngster, an adult, a man, a middle aged man. I am also a son, a brother and a parent. Cheers. P.S. That's more to life that whims, fads and — whenever reprimanded — tantrums. Cheers.
Teen, 13 years old written by released

Okay, so I'm a 13-year-old who's taking 9th grade classes with straight A's. My parents tend to restrict my phone time and read my text messages to the point where it's crazy. My screen time is limited to 30 minutes a day, and I can't take my phone to my room. I have the same rules all throughout this coronavirus outbreak. It's hard for someone to connect to friends if they don't even have a way to.
Adult written by Shinejj

Maybe thank them, maybe this is why you have straight A’s. Change the way you think about it. Be appreciative, grateful. Soon you will be living your own life and they have given you a firm foundation.
Adult written by Botus

Hi - I just wanted to add my recent experience of this. We gave our teen a smart phone, mainly so she could travel to school and to begin with it was a good move. I was also recommended she have a tracking device on so that we knew where she was - as we live in a remote area. To begin with I trusted her fully and let her just get on with things, however as time went on I became more and more concerned about what she was doing - as I could see she wasn’t always where she said she was. And other things didn’t add up. I questioned her - but she always said I was attacking her - and our relationship became more prickly. She heavily resisted any attempt to have her phone taken - It was the ultimate sanction. When I tried it once, after a bad incident, she kicked the place down. I was pretty shocked. Fast forward to now, when for various grim reasons, we had no choice but to check and read her phone. I am sick with shock. She has been scoring drugs and sneaking out in the middle of the night to do drugs and meet boys. Literally every single thing she has told me in the last year I’ve realised has been a lie - and the reason she’s fiercely protected her privacy is that she’s doing some very bad things that are harmful and damaging to her - and illegal. I operated on the basis of trust and my heart is now in pieces for the lovely girl she is who is choosing the road to ruin. I don’t think I’m a draconian mum. I have always tried to show kindness and latitude. But I have tried to set rules - like I need to know where you are. You mustn’t lie. Drugs are bad. I offer this story as a warning to other parents about phones - restrict them early and check them as a regular thing. If there are any teens who can offer me some hope, I’d love to hear from you.
Teen, 14 years old written by gorgina

I am a teenage girl, and I just want to tell you, not all of us are like that. I’ve never snuck out, done drugs, had sex, taken any other illegal substances, or chatted with total strangers online. neither has almost anyone else I know. And my parents trust me fully. Yes, they do tell me I can’t get some apps, and once in a while they go through my phone, but I have nothing to hide and they know that I am responsible with my decisions. I don’t know anything about your situation, and I agree that some of the stuff your daughter was doing was a result of her online activities, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of it had to do with who she made friends with at school. i think parents should make sure they know who their kids are friends with without being too overprotective and obsessive about it. I promise I’m not trying to tell you how to parent or anything, so I hope it didn’t come across that way, but that is just my personal opinion. hope it helped :))
Parent of a 13-year-old written by sophieisprettycool

Hi, I’m a teen stuck inside with my family during the Coronavirus. I love my parents, but recently I feel distanced from them, especially my dad. We have to do school assignments from home, along with soccer drills. I love my dad, he’s really funny and understanding, but whenever I forget to do an assignment or seem not as interested in an activity, he immediately questions how committed I am. I wanted to do an exercise for soccer by myself, and he thought I was going to “half-ass” it. In school, he saw that I had a couple of assignments i forgot to turn in and he thought I didn’t care for my education. I do, and it upsets me that he can’t see this. He constantly threatens to take my phone away. I feel powerless because he won’t believe me if I try to come up with reasons why certain activities haven’t been done. I hate it. It was never like this before quarantine. Whenever he yells at me, I cry, and then he apologizes, but he’s already said it. This has happened twice now. This is a bit of a tangent, but I’m a straight-A Honors student and I’m passionate about all the things I do. I’m just crestfallen that my dad can’t realize that.
Adult written by 126wiwwy

I’m currently 22 years old back from college for the summer (my school shut early because of coronavirus) and thought I could give a little insight as I had what some would call overbearing parents at one point. When I was in 8th grade in middle school, my parents would check my phone had monitoring apps and everything, tracked my location, they had it all. I understand after reading a lot of posts on this forum that the main reason is for the safety of your child. However, this made me feel like I was trapped, and no longer trusted my parents and why would I, because in my mind at the time they had no trust in me. I got better and better at hiding things and I was in my worst form when my parents were at the peak of monitoring everything. I ended up having a conversation with them about a year later, how I needed privacy and felt like they had no trust in me. A little while later they stopped it all, became more relaxed and encouraged an environment where I felt my privacy was being protected and felt comfortable to be open and talk to them about the things I previously felt like I wanted to hide. Monitoring to an extent is understandable, however you have to let your child make mistakes, learn, and grow from it. Adolescence is a hard enough time for your child you have to try as hard as you can to give them space to be themselves. It’s hard and I know talking with my parents now they tell me how they didn’t want me exposed to certain things. But reading these comments I can tell you things I know for certain, teenage boys are going to watch porn, don’t embarrass them and make sex a taboo, have an open discussion about safety and respect. I was the guinea pig for parenting in my family, and I told my parents what to say and not to say, as I have 17 year old twin brothers, who were 15 at the time my parents found out they were watching porn. They tell me just about everything, and let me tell you they have grown up gentlemen. Make your home a safe place, and your kids WILL open up to you. Give them your trust until it’s broken, and then reel them back in as you see fit. Once my parents gave me my space and stopped the monitoring, which they thought was a horrible idea, I straightened out, had straight A’s, Never touched a drug in my life because of the open conversations I had about the dangers with my parents, and can count the number of times I have drank on one hand. I recently got into medical school and can tell you I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am today without my parents giving me the space I needed during the trying years of adolescence.
Adult written by UncelJo

I totally agree that we should respect our kids and keep their privacy. I looked for a long time to find a solution that doesn't limit them. I found it in Boscoapp an app that only shows offensive messages.
Teen, 17 years old written by McCra

I'm sure many of you have girls, and you probably believe in having stricter rules for them. It makes sense-- raising a girl is nothing like raising a boy. However, I'm going to ask that you consider my opinion (as a teenage girl). I don't think that checking your kid's phone is entirely a bad thing, but I do believe that doing it excessively is. Teenagers build walls. When we feel like our privacy is being invaded, we'll feel a greater urge to push you away, to keep secrets, to sneak-- that's just the way it is. I'll share just a little bit of my personal situation to help you understand. My parents are divorced-- they have been since before I was born. This means that I have had a step-mom, a mom, and a dad my whole life. Currently, I live with my dad and step-mom, who are very strict .. And every now-and-then, I visit my mom; she's the complete opposite. With her, I am completely myself and 100% honest. I tell her about everything: school, work, friends, life, etc. I even tell her about mistakes/decisions I've made that she may/may not agree with. No matter what it is, I tell her because I'm comfortable telling her. I WANT to. But I don't feel that way toward my parents here at all. Coming home means constantly walking on eggshells. They've given me so many rules that I feel like I can't keep up, and I'm constantly in-trouble or getting something taken away. Living this way is miserable. Don't hover over your teenagers. The teenage years are a time to live and learn. Educate them on internet safety, discipline them and such, but don't take away their privacy. If they become overwhelmed, they'll stop sharing anything with you.
Teen, 15 years old written by persona21

As a teenager, I think I can give some helpful insight on this. I got my phone just before turning 11, and that was a good age for me. My parents made it clear that they will check my phone from the start to make sure I was safe. When I am having a problem and need to talk, I will text my friends about something I don't want to bring to my parents yet. Respecting privacy and still keeping your kid safe is a delicate balance. Over the years, my phone gets checked less and less. This is because I have built up trust with my parents and if something is going very wrong, I will talk to them. I think reading text messages is fine, however, if there is something very private your kid does not want you to see, don't look at it. Of course, this only applies really if you trust them an d you have no reason to think they are doing something wrong. Although it may seem suspicious for them to request this, most of the time they could just be venting about their feelings or helping their friend with a private issue. Follow them on social media, but I wouldn't reccomend digging through it too often. Same with internet history. Some kids have questions they may not feel comfortable asking and prefer to google it. This doesn't mean they hate you, by the way. Some topics are just naturally scary to discuss with parents. If you read texts and look for any suspicious apps or things you don't allow maybe once a month or so, for me that would seem very reasonable. Make sure to remind them that this is to make sure that they are safe, not because they are bad. If your kid gives you a serious reason to suspect any dangerous behavior, that's when you should take a more in depth look at their phone. That is a matter of keeping your kid safe. I also don't reccomend getting apps to track everything and spy on your kid without a good reason like if they have broken your trust multiple times. All of my friends who's parent have that stuff don't have very good relationships and are afraid of their parents. These things just cause more sneakiness. If you are not judgmental when your kid has a problem they need to talk about, they are much more likely to be upfront about what they are doing and not lie to you. This is because you have created a safe environment to learn from mistakes instead of hiding them and causing more trouble. If you find something you don't like on your kids phone, just ask calmly about it. If you start yelling at them it can really cause them to be more sneaky and less upfront in the future. This doesn't mean just take away consequences from them. All im saying is be sure to listen to their side of the story and explain why their behavior is not safe an help them learn from it.
Adult written by wizwash

This is a good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. Thank you so much. Keep up the good works
Teen, 13 years old written by aPersonThatLove...

I understand that you feel restricted that your parents randomly take your phone and push their insecurities on you, but try to tell them or explain to them that this parenting method isn’t helping you in the slightest and that they could turn it down a notch and be less insecure about you
Adult written by 2Kids8997

I believe it’s a necessity nowadays. I have seen grown ppl being Cat phished and really being lured into sending money and different things. So, if an adult can be easily manipulated than a child can too. I feel that we, as parents can give out rules on our child’s phone, the usage, apps and other things and they will still cave to peer pressure and even delete the app off their phone before coming home. If a parent doesn’t see an app on their child’s phone it doesn’t mean they aren’t using it. How can you tell? Go to the App Store and on there type in the app that you want to check, for ex: Snapchat. If it doesn’t say GET then they have downloaded the app to their phone. They are probably downloading when they aren’t around you and then deleted the app off once they realize they will be around you soon. How to tell if they are using it but had it on the phone before you realized it then you deleted app...if you deleted their snap acct for example it takes 30 days to delete permanently. So, after 30 days from the date you deleted the app their name should not show up
Teen, 14 years old written by Moonlight_the_k...

hm... well... I think that some parents just think that some stuff that isn't bad is bad, like being girly, and for a small reason as painting your own nails, that single act that isn't bad (but I did because it looks cute, I even did a cute face on one, she called it disgusting and told me: you're a boy, not a girl) was enough to make my mom start looking at my computer just because I am girly, spying on a boy for being girly is tomfoolery, also thinking that a "pervert" told you to paint your nails is also tomfoolery because I painted them because I wanted, not because a random guy told me to do it, being girly isn't anything bad, forcing someone to be like the rest of the society when they don't like it and that doesn't affects anyone is the bad thing...
Teen, 16 years old written by chasuke15

I'm 16 years old and I have done many things during my lifetime that have made my parents not trust me that much at all. It's to the point where my parents downloaded Norton Family on my phone and keep my phone with them while I'm at home. While I understand that I am the cause for all of my parent's strict rules, it can be really annoying at times. I have friends that I would like to text/call and I would like to text/call my girlfriend, but since I'm not allowed to be on my phone at home, I cannot do these things. This really stinks because it negatively affects my social life and it makes me unavailable to my friends. I am also not allowed to have social-media or games on my phone because my parents think it affects my grades and my ability to make good decisions. Again, I am responsible for all of this. I try to gain my parents trust but I end up screwing something up and making it worse. I feel like I should be able to use my phone at home because I feel that it is unfair for me to not be able to text my friends in my own home.
Adult written by yep7694

I am 23 and still living at home while I finish up my degree. I have purchased both my phone and laptop myself, and I pay for some of my own subscription services such as HBO and Hulu. However, I do use my parents' Netflix and have since I was a teenager. My parents still monitor my laptop and phone, which they have done ever since I had devices. This means they can see all of my computer and phone usage. My parents are pretty conservative, and we do not agree on what is appropriate to watch as far as movies and tv shows. I respect their opinion, but at the end of the day I am an adult and I feel I should be allowed to make this decision for myself. Today my parents changed the settings on my Netflix account and blocked everything that is MA or R rated without telling me. I felt so betrayed and like I was 16 years old again. I agree with a lot of the people on here that it's usually a good idea to monitor a teen's phone, even an older teen. There are so many dangerous things that a child/teen can run into on the internet or social media and it's honestly probably irresponsible for a parent to not monitor their kids' device usage. I don't think it should be obsessive, but a spot check here or there or certain restrictions are very smart. However, I am an adult, and even though I'm not completely independent, these are my devices and this is my life, and I feel like it is time for the monitoring to stop. If I want to watch the new season of Orange is the New Black, then that is my choice. Honestly, if I wanted to watch porn and talk to strangers on the internet, that is also my choice. Probably, ill-advised, but that's what adulthood is for!
Teen, 13 years old written by ellbell_37

my parents family link on my phone and I hate it only because I only use my phone for the bus ride and my screen time limit means i can't be on my phone whilst being on the bus or i get locked out, if you put it on your child's phone, discuss with them how long they need and be open for suggestion. E.G. the bus ride is 1 hour and 5 mins so the screen time is 1 hour and 20 mins so they can have their phone for the whole time on the bus.
Adult written by Ry.dix2019

My stepdaughter has broken mine and my wifes trust one major really concerning way. We would have never thought about getting a monitering app put on her phone before her incident. Now we strongly believe it is necessary but dont know what app to use and with our phone plan if i have her phone linked to mine or my wifes our daughter can also see our texts ect. She was all good until she changed group of friends. Her mother and I but mostly her mother makes sure she knows that she can talk to us about everything. She was good at telling us who she was with but not where she was while with these friends and started making poor decisions. She lied to both of us left the house with a friend and suppossed friends mom. Everything was good until her father passed the vehicle she was in and seen it was an older boy driving. He got to our house told her mother and i so me and my step daughters father went to where she was going and found more older guys. Needless to say we brought her home to mine and my wifes house went thru her phone. Very disappointed with her choices my wife and i decided to wait til the next day to talk and she tried to say she never texted anything we read or didnt see what she was doing wrong. We just need a free to cheap app that lets us moniter her location and possibly block unwanted apps. We got her a new phone but want the monitering app on our daughters new phone before we give it to her. Please any info will help.
Teen, 13 years old written by ellbell_37

I know it has been a little bit of time but on my phone, my mum has put on it family link, with the parent app my mum can see what apps I have been spending time on and can give screen time limits and bedtimes, you can also lock her phone whenever you like, she will not be able to see anything on your phone and she will have to ask through the app to go onto any possibly inappropriate apps or to download or buy anything. If you got her an apple, you could just use find my phone that comes pre loaded with apple. that is all i can help but i hope it has been usefull
Teen, 17 years old written by BreadBud

Monitoring cell phones is fine for parents to do. If the kid seems like they're doing something that's harmful to themselves or others, or if it breaks any serious rules or laws, it's understandable why parents would track and monitor phones. Now on the other hand, for parents to be tracking the phones of their kids who do not have delinquent tendencies, or that have been following the rules of the parents and don't get into much trouble, tracking a phone is excessive. If the child has earned the parent's trust, it wouldn't be a good idea to break the child's trust in the parent. I learned not too long ago that my dad has been tracking the location of me and my brother's phones. I do have a driver's licence, but I always tell my dad when I'm leaving the house. If he's not home, I'll text him and tell him when I'll get back. Whenever I'm out with friends, I keep close contact with him with status updates via text or call. I always make sure that he knows what I'm doing, because I know that he worries. But learning that he's also tracking my phone has broken some trust and connection between us. I put in a lot of work to get him to trust me on outings, and yet he still feels the need to track me every move. Especially now, he's finally given me more freedom to move around and drive, and I thank him for that. But getting a text during class from him asking why I'm not at school (the GPS on the tracker glitched) really broke a level of trust for me. There was another instance when I slept over at a friend's house, and 7am he's knocking st the door because the GPS had said that I was in another city. I feel like he doesnt trust me, even though I've worked so hard to build trust by never breaking any of his rules and especially not breaking any laws, and yet he still insists on tracking my phone. I've also had my dad lie to me about needing to look up something on my phone because his was dead. I did give him my phone because I had nothing to worry about, but instead of looking up what he said he was going to search, he read through all of my text messages, and yelled at me for using the occasional swear word. I am 17 years old. He has sworn in front of me before. Am I not allowed to use a dealer word for emphasis in a text message? I know that for delinquent kids or suspicious is a cause for searching and tracking devices, but for a child who has done everything within the rules set, it's not necessary.
Adult written by SkylineT

Hi, BreadBud! As a parent, I understand what your dad concerned. Parents could get exhausted. The efforts really deserve an appreciation(I am very thankful for other parents out there trying so hard to create a safe and responsible environment). I see what a thoughtful and sincere young person you are, your dad’s effort paid off. Your words make me think what I can do with my child; make me rethink what’s a possible better way to build the trust. I am deeply moved by your thoughts. Talk to your dad and try to understand each other. Hope things work out!
Teen, 15 years old written by ThatDifferentChick16

Depending on you kids age and his daily attitude and actions, is there any reason you do? Or do you just not trust him (I know parents you do this for whatever reason)
Adult written by Sarah Krilow

I do not see any alternatives to parental control apps . Not all teens understand the possible dangers online. I personally do not want to find out that my daughter went on date with an unknown person after this date.
Adult written by Older brother

I've been reading comments and I understand how teens can lose trust in their parent/guardian. Especially when there's no reason to be so intrusive in their business, BUT, I've been seriously considering using a spy software on my younger sisters phone ONLY because she has been making some extremely poor decisions this past year and it's come to a point that we as a family can't trust her. We've tried putting a curfew on the wifi, taking her phone away, and we try to engage with her, bring her out, let her spend time with her friends, and talk to her openly about how she feels. She is very spoiled and she betrays and manipulates our love to her own benefits. She's told me in her words, "I should just get things". Shes done absolutely nothing this summer but lay on the couch on her phone. My dad bought her the newest iPhone just because she wanted to show off. Her mom (not my mom) left and my dad works 80hrs a week. We don't have the time to monitor her every minute were awake. I know she's seen some of those really messed up stuff on the internet. I mean truly messed up, where you can watch videos of people being tortured to death and probably raped and what not. That type of content is openly viewable to anyone with a phone and internet. So to answer the question, YES, I believe it's important to monitor your kids devices until the future finds a way to limit what can be accessed in the world wide web.
Teen, 15 years old written by liak1224

I feel like it's important to monitor your child's cell phone use, but not so consistently that they develop good skills at hiding things from you. My parents are helicopter parents, and they just randomly take my phone and iPad away every week and keep them for days on end, completely disregarding my need for school stuff on both my phone and iPad. My parents even said they trust me and let me do whatever I want, but even we both know that's a lie. They say they're just doing this for my safety, but its just so restricting that I have no choice but to rebel in order for them to see me as an actual person instead of their inferior kid or however they treat me. I can't even pick up my phone without them screaming at me,"PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN!!" It's just so annoying and so restrictive and it makes me so mad. Just like with social media. They don't want me to have it because they think it'll make me depressed and suicidal. Keep in mind I'm almost 16 and can handle this stuff maturely, but they still treat me like I'm 6. I just want the helicopter parenting to just stop, as this is what makes me have such bad anxiety about everything. I just can't do anything myself. I wish I was with another family who actually treats me like a 16 year old. I sure hope my kids don't turn out like I did.
Teen, 15 years old written by Kymberjelly

My dad does quick checkups on my phone from time to time and i’m fine with that because I know that they just want to makes sure we’re being safe. I strongly disagree with parents that monitor so strictly that they need all their passwords and read their messages because it’s very toxic and just gives you a bad look. I may not be a parent so some parent may think that my opinion is irrelevant here but to me a parent like that displays such strict behavior is just overprotective and controlling. Beside when you’re living under you’re parents roof they have control of everything they basically decide how you live you’re life and phones are one of those things that a teens has a hold off and some control off so no wonder teens tend to rebel when it comes to phones. I also think that it just shows that you don’t trust you’re kids to the point that you needs to violate their privacy and it creates distrust and conflict between parents and kids. I also think it comes off has not being understanding. It’s like how can you expect them to open up to you and be comfortable to tell you things if they can’t trust you, might has well read their diaries. Teens should have the freedom to explore learn especially in their teenage years when they’re curious. Now I understand that some teens abuse that freedom of having social media and miss-use it by causing harm someone to someone else or to themselves and I would step in and have a talk with them and maybe check more often if that’s the case too but keep in mind that not every teen is like that and unless that bad behavior is done it’s better to stay out and just teach them how to use internet and media safely. Beside believe me the more you try to be strict the more you’re kid will be close off from you and try to push the limits and I honestly would find it very irritating and hurtful if my parents were that strict.
Teen, 16 years old written by acidicsneezing

Theres only one answer: do not monitor your kid’s phone. Respect their privacy, they don’t snoop around your device, so why would you snoop around theirs?
Teen, 13 years old written by ellbell_37

put on family link, it will block those types of sights and you can choose how much time he spends on his phone
Teen, 15 years old written by ThatDifferentChick16

He's 15 hun. That's all he'll ever do. I have 9 brothers, and me being the only girl, I've seen them do things and watch things I wish I hadn't. You can try to talk to him, but I wouldn't. He'll either deny it or simply say he won't, but will. He's a teen, and he's growing in more ways than one..
Adult written by Samrae81

I’m a Mom and I found this article while looking for some ideas on how best to parent a 14 year old with a smart phone. I came across the comments of teens and thought it’s important to see that perspective. I can understand that feeling of privacy being invaded but as I read I can’t help but see just how much these parents love their children enough to care about what they are doing. I grew up in a different time where we had to write notes and call a friends home to communicate. My parents didn’t check anything and I wish they would have. I was so young and didn’t understand life like I do now and I wish someone actually cared. If you’re a teen reading this and feel like your parents are controlling I understand how that might be frustrating but I promise you they care about you. When you are a thirty something mom one day you will be facing your own challenges and look back and it will all make sense, I promise. The world we are in today is so new, us parents are having to navigate through something nobody else has. We are essentially guniea pigs and our children are at stake. You are all so precious and deserve to be protected. Consider it something wonderful and do your best not to rebel against it because that leads you down a road you don’t want to go. Just focus on school and do something great with your life. Don’t get caught up in all that is social media. Find authentic friends that can talk to you in person. You will stand out in a world full of followers. To summarize: your parents love you, you will be old one day and understand and be awesome despite your challenges.
Teen, 15 years old written by Kymberjelly

I understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from but will all due respect I think that doing that will just strengthen the distrust between parents and kids. See it that way kids have no freedom when living under they’re parents roof. Adults and parents basically decide how they want you to live, how you dress, if you can wear makeup, what you eat, where you go and what you do. Phones are the only one of the only thing teens can have freedom and some control over so taking away that basically stripes them of any right to freedom which is why teens rebel. Might has well read their diary has well. Doing so also gives parents a bad look and enforced the overprotective parent stereotype and the difference between parents and their kids.
Teen, 14 years old written by Pixl

My parents have made me download a tracking app to see where I am. I don’t actually mind it cos I don’t really go anywhere without asking my parents anyway but it’s honestly made my view on them change completely. I’ve never done anything major like I do have arguments with them but it’s over stuff like me disagreeing with the my dad thinking that girls can only do certain sports and other messed up stuff that my parents believe. I always get As and I don’t misbehave so I don’t understand why they can’t trust me enough to live my life. They’ve always been conservative in the sense that they don’t let me have sleepovers, wear shorts on the shorter side let alone a bikini but this is a step too far. I think I’m going to confront them by either making an excuse that the app can steal our data or actually telling them that I don’t understand why they don’t trust me and maybe throw in that my friend are a little concerned. Idk if including my friends in this is a bad idea but I just wanted to sprinkle in something like they were surprised about the whole tracking situation and how they don’t care if I’m having a good time but just where I am. I’m not sure tho cos I’m quite scared of my parents when they’re angry what should I do?
Adult written by Vernoman

Hey Pixl. First, thanks for your thoughts. It can be hard to reach out and be honest about your feelings. Second, take your desire to reach out and be honest to your parents. Don’t think of it as a confrontation, but a discussion. If you’re afraid of them for whatever reason, tell them that. It may seem difficult at first, but you’ll feel better and they’ll respect you for your honesty and openness. As a parent, my biggest frustration is lack of communication, and I realize I may be contributing to that by getting angry at times. I’m working on it. Be positive and honest. It’ll go a long way.
Teen, 13 years old written by fern10

so my dad monitors my phone every month, reads all my whatsapp messages and doesnt even let me message during the entire day until like 10pm at night. he goes through my instagram, whatsapp, photos, calls, and basically my entire phone. he doesnt even let me access any apps on my phone and like he basically tells me every single friend of mine is a "bad influence". now im like 13, in secondary school and i cant even have a social life. my dad makes me tell him why i even need to open my text messages, is always telling me what i have to do, its very annoying and overprotective and i just feel stupid at school because i cant even have a life. he thinks im too young and im already 13!! whats wrong with using whatsapp on the 1 hour bus ride to school? he doesnt even let me go out with my friends often and only during the holidays, whenever i go out i have to be back by a certain time, tell him every single thing i spend my money on, basically i feel like a child. what wrong with going out with friends? whats wrong with just USING WHATSAPP? im perfectly happy as a teen yet i feel like i have to be perfect everywhere cos he keeps installing parental controls. and everytime he lets me use whatsapp, its for 10 MINUTES A DAY. he doesnt even let me listen to pop music, he shuts me down, i dont feel like i can share my worries at school or problems to him and my mo m becuase theyll jsut tell me what to do. once i told them of a really annoying person in school, they just shut me down and tell me to do this and that, they dont even let me watch youtube, its basically living in a prison cell at home where im locked away from the rest of the world. i cant even talk to my friends, i need to update them of every single thing i do when i touch my comp or my phone and my dad just chases me to put my phone down after i finally text after like 15 minutes. its sooo annoying when all my friends have instagram, snapchat and LIKE EVEN WHATSAPP THEY CAN USE IT and im just this kid that my parents are sooo overprotecting every day. my dad has parental controls on my phone that can check how much time i spend on every app, if i spend more than like 30 mins on whatsap hell start nagging already. he confiscated my phone for like 3 months just because i was using instagram when he said i couldnt, and btw i was already 13 when i was using instagram. my parents have all my email and phone and computer passwords, and they even have my skype and school stuff linked to their phones so they can always stalk me in school its so annoying and over the top and mean. all my other friends can have a social life, and my life is just going to school and back, i cant even text my firneds cos he keeps checking my phone and he'll find something to scold me about every time he checks, my mom doesnt help by backing him up and i can only rant to my friends or seniors now about problems at school because theyre the only ones that understand. PLEASE HELP ME SOMEONE, IDK HOW I CAN GO THROUGH SEC SCH LIFE LIKE THIS UGH
Teen, 14 years old written by Dking20401

So my mom like legit monitors my phone and she has a app which links to my phone where she can block apps and turn off my phone after 3 hours of usage, which is dumb. She also goes through my text messages and my photos and my call and search history. And I am a very curious person, and I get in trouble for looking up "inappropriate things" which I just want to know what it means because I got curious a few days ago and my friend sent me a message and it said "blowjob" and I thought it meant like a hair spa day kinda thing, so I got curious and googled it and my mom saw what I searched it up and she lost it and I just got my phone back. Also she can turn my phone off when I need to go to bed which is at 8:30, and I dont get tired at 8:30, I got to bed at 9:15 AMD SHE KNOWS THIS! And I'm 14 and my mom want to sheild me from social media! All of my friends have Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, ect. But I'm the only one in my friend group that doesn't have social media! And I'm going into my freshman year of high school and I want to fit in! And my mom found out I'm pansexual because she read my texts, and she told me this "your too young to talk and know about that stuff" and I'm like "Mom, I'm 14 I'm fine knowing stuff like this" she grounded me for saying that. I legit have a helicopter mother... I want my freedom back when freshman year starts (after summer of 2019) but I doubt it... I want to kill myself because my mother gives me anxiety, because if I get curious, she yells at me. If I have social media, she will ground me and delete it. And a lot of other stuff... Someone please help, I'm begging I'm in living h*ll
Adult written by Paigerichardson

I have a daughter and when she gets to the age she has a phone so say about 12, I would not want her passwords as it just looks like I don’t trust her and there shouldn’t be no need for me to have her passwords unless there’s a problem, yes 12 is still a young child but I would definitely go on her phone to check it every now and again and explain it’s just to reassure me that she’s safe. When she gets a little older say around 13, I won’t need to check it unless I have a reason to. If I have a reason to I’ll be checking it until I notice a change! Having your child’s password is just helicopter parenting.. but if your child is bullying for example, you need to talk to them punish them and then yes have their passwords for a while! But other than that I’m sorry but parents who have their kids passwords are over the top your kids may be kids but they need to be trusted they have feelings just like the rest of us and it’s better to talk to them in an adult way about things also treat them how you would like to be treated
Teen, 13 years old written by lily.flower

As a teen, I think that parents should only look through our phones if they have a reason to suspect that something bad is happening. And by that I mean that someone is being bullied or could get hurt, or inappropriate pics are being sent, not just that they think we have a boyfriend or whatever. If you're a relatively well-behaved kid and your parents look through your phone anyway, it shows that they don't trust you. When parents give their kid a phone, it shows that they trust their kid enough to give them said phone. My parents have access to my phone, but they don't check often, and they give me notice before they do. And that's fine with me. The main reasons I don't want my parents to randomly check my phone is that my friends and I talk about private stuff all the time on there. It's not inappropriate, mostly about crushes and friend drama. But some of it's a bit heavy, especially since me and some of my friends are LGBTQ+ and our parents don't know. I know people may say that if it's so private, we shouldn't text about it. But kids never have any in-person privacy. When talking about secrets, texting is the best way. So if my parents read my texts, they're seeing all my friends' secrets. And I know they'd hate that. Anyway, I feel like kids, especially older kids, should have privacy on their phones. Parents, ask for your teen's input on phone restrictions and rules. It will make things so much easier. *TL;DR: Only check your kid's phone if you think they're in danger or are doing inappropriate things.*
Teen, 13 years old written by aedxn

My parents constantly look through my phone and texts. Like almost every app has been used by them at least once and their justification is that they bought the phone so they can use it however they want. Honestly what their doing is just distancing myself away from them. They also inadvertently found out i was lgbtq+ by looking through my phone and it sucks that i dont even get to come out properly, and they also insist that i am not part of the community because im 'too young to decide' and 'influenced by the internet'. so many parents need to know some boundaries
Kid, 11 years old

My mom invaded my privacy on Discord. she got really mad and yelled at me. now, I keep my privacy hidden from my parents by deleting my history. hiding apps on the tray, locking stuff with a password, and stuff like that.
Adult written by sunglassesindoors

Honesty the number of parents on here justifying the abuse of privacy makes me sick to my stomach. I am a firm believer that everyone above the age of 12 should be able to explore freely. They should be allowed to make mistakes. If you truly love them, let them mess up. Yes the world is sometimes messed up, but your kids will need to learn how to handle themselves in this medium without you interfering; the sooner the better so they're not still learning how to surf the web safety by the time they go off to college, or even in high school. Giving them the agency and autonomy they need will help them feel less suffocated and trust you as you have proven you can trust them and treat them like people. Not children who have no privacy. That will ultimately damage their trust in you and others for the rest of their lives. I do not condone kids who bully others online, but that doesn't mean the solution is taking away the most useful tool in the world, or watching their every move. That will make matters worse. Talk to them, teach them. Ask them what's up and be attentive. And if that doesn't work maybe get a therapist or something. But taking away a phone, or watching everything your child does on their devices, in this day and age that might as well be taking away their free speech. Phones have become a necessity, and children are a lot more mature than they used to be. Sex is also something natural. I searched it a lot around the age of fourteen and if I may say so myself, I turned out fine. Sex is natural, and lets face it, by the time you get to high school, you'll hear more curse words and innuendos than you ever wanted to hear. If you are really that concerned, tell your kid about your concerns, how you are always there to talk about anything they need to. Trust them to trust you and come to you if they have questions. Breathing down their neck is NOT the answer. Here is a query for the adults out there, imagine you are the age you are now. But that your boss, who just so happens to be your best friend (maybe an older sibling) came up to you one day and told you they would have to monitor everything you do on your phone and laptop, inside and outside of work to make sure you are not making any mistakes and are still someone they want to keep working for them. And they have every right to go up to you and question you about the things you are doing because they are the ones in charge. They can take away things you are allowed to say, do, search. That is partially how your children feel. Resentment and mistrust and fear. You may be thinking, "you got it all wrong! They are not my age they are just kids!" That is a horrible way of thinking. It is like you are demoting them into something you can control. Into less than people. They can understand these complex concepts. You are just not giving them the chance to feel like they have freedom, you are not letting them grow up. Teenagers are just adult minds who haven't finished developing physically and can't drink according to the law. Help them flourish, don't drag them down. That is all.
Teen, 14 years old written by a very upset teen

I do agree, My parents, limit my phone usage with this app called MMguardian and all it does is make me feel like a complete and total idiot around my friends because they can use their phones in between classes and during lunch. Yet I can do it only at lunch and after school for let's say 30 minutes to an hour. and they say that it clouds my judgment but all I want to do is make up the time that I hadn't had a phone and this has been a battle going on 1 year and I am about done fighting this fight., mind you I have one to two bad grades but that is not my fault as I get interrupted easily in the class that I am behind in.
Teen, 13 years old written by fern10

i agree, you're an amazing parent hehe i wish my parents would understand this. i feel like they dont trust me anymore
Adult written by Exchange

You might change your opinion if your child was to commit suicide because of online bullying you could of prevented escalating had you of known. Sad reality is they’re not equipped to deal with everything online and as a parent it’s your responsibility to ensure their safety,
Adult written by RoxieV

Generally speaking, if you and your child have a good relationship, the child will come to you with things like this.
Adult written by RoxieV

Generally speaking, if you and your child have a good relationship, the child will come to you with things like this.
Teen, 14 years old written by XxNekoDemonxX

My parents go through my texts all the time and when they do they say "I bought it so I have a right to look at whatever I want" i feel so violated and small because they make it seem like there is nothing I can do and I can't be myself when I'm on the phone.
Adult written by Onlinemamabear

I am so sorry that you feel like you have to be a different person around your parents then your true self. Wonder where you get the pressure to not be yourself all the time.
Teen, 13 years old written by callie.sones

as a 13 year old i text my friends while cussing and making dirty jokes sometimes like any other teenager. then my mom started going through my phone everyday. i feel violated and i don’t trust her or want to be around her anymore. don’t get me wrong i love my mom but i just don’t like feeling violated and not being able to be normal or myself over text.
Teen, 13 years old written by okur.grace

my parents have only gone through my texts only a few times,but the times they have,it has freaked me out since i feel very invaded.its not that i have things on my phone that are bad its just i dont like it when people go through any of my stuff.a few months ago i had restrictions but they were very easy for me to take off but when i did have them it was very frustrating for me.i think if they ask to go through your phone and you say no,they should respect that and leave it be.for restrictions i think there shouldnt be any but a time when you take a break.
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, 15 years old written by mylife573

same here, my parents controlling nature sent me into a spiral of depression, anxiety, anger-issues, and stress issues. I just want to cut them out of my lives completely because I can't see myself living a happy life with them in it. I'm not some kind of wild animal that needs to be caged, I'm nearly an adult who deals with 10 times more stress than adults do. They expect me to act like an adult and have the temperament of an adult but they treat me like I don't deserve to have a voice of my own and any privacy at all.
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!
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

I disagree. As a high schooler, we need way more than 1 hour of internet time. For me tv control was never a huge problem because I only watch tv on weekends but... I think the parents need to have a little more understanding and insight on how she feels. A 5% dip in grades is not a fair reason to completely destroy all of her personal freedom.
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, 15 years old written by mylife573

I feel like ever since my parents put restrictions on me, I've acted out more and more. When I get a little morsel of freedom, I tend to feel happier, be more focused, and behave way better. Not only that, my mood and behavior improves so much. It's not because I'm doing it on purpose. That's just how being a teen works.
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
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

maybe instead of blocoking them immediately, you can talk to your child. Remember they have an opinion too. Also google is a basic need that they would definitely need for school so I wouldn't advise you to block that. I doubt anyone uses Facebook anymore so I don't really think they would care if you blocked that. YouTube they will probably use for school too, but make an agreement and check in on them about it. For example: "All of us in the family, not just you *insert child's name*, are going to agree to stop using YouTube or watching tv of any sort on weekdays. On weekends, we can watch tv but in limited amount." Don't make accusations like "you're addicted" or "you're too irresponsible." Say you're worried that the family's drifting apart and you want to spend more time with your child. Your child will probably roll their eyes at first but they will come around because, as hard as it is for parents to believe, you're child genuinely loves you and wants to spend time with you. A lot of kids seek connections with others on their phones or online because they don't feel that connection with their parents. Make sure to give them a few months to adjust, while checking in. If that doesn't work then it would make sense to moniter their activity, not block, because not using them is a choice they need to make on their own. You making that decision for your child will impact them worse. Tell them you're going to start tracking their activity but also let them have the ability to track you so it's a mutual relationship of trust. They will stop using those apps during the week and maybe it might bring you together in the long run.
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 mylife573

If you're child is sneaking out and acting inappropriately then I completely understand why you added the restrictions. I'm glad you guys chose to implement these restrictions for a good, genuine reason.
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.
Teen, 13 years old written by lily.flower

You make a great point that as kids, we get the online safety talk every year at school, and, at least in my school, we do a good amount of activities involving online safety. So it's dumb for parents to think that we don't know that the internet can be dangerous.
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.
Parent of a 14 and 18+-year-old written by polly s.

your thoughts are typical of a self centered13 year old. If you think it's OK for a 13 year old to watch adults engaging in sexual intercourse, wait till you have kids. Hope you have grown up a little since this posting last year...
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
Kid, 12 years old

When my parents see that I enjoy something, they take it away when they feel I've stepped out of line. It's gotten to the point where I had a panic attack once when my parents took away my 3ds without telling me why or even giving me a good reason. I don't feel safe unless all of the stuff I love is in my room, where I know where it is. I'm the master of hiding my favorite books/electronics (I don't have a phone) from my parents. My parents are used to taking away my tablet and 3ds, so whenever they see them (even if I did nothing wrong) they will take it away. They don't even tell me when I'll get it back. My tablet was revoked over 3 years ago, and I have yet to receive it back. My parents insist they don't have it, but I know they took it.
Teen, 15 years old written by liak1224

I knew it. I feel like sometimes with parents they feel they have all the authority, "my house, my rules" stuff and they can use that to control their kid. My parents have flourished in that skill.
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
Kid, 12 years old

This. Anything and everything you love can be used against you. You just have to pretend to stop loving it.
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.
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

I get exactly how you feel. It middle school, I couldn't sleep at all because I was terrified that my parents installed a secret camera in my room. Now I sleep, not because I'm no longer afraid but because I need to. I almost passed out because of lack of sleep and now I can only sleep under a super thick comforter so that if they have a camera, they won't be able to see me. It's not because I'm doing anything wrong. It's because I feel violated and freaked out. My home feels more like a prison and by parents are the guards.
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.
Teen, 13 years old written by lily.flower

Respectfully, I think that kids should have a fair amount of privacy until they do something that causes you to give them less privacy. If you didn't monitor their usage so much, they might have come to ask your advice when they received those inappropriate messages. Controlling their internet so much may have led them to not trust you.
Teen, 13 years old written by aedxn

First of all, you might the reason the 'drama' started. Monitoring your childs phone is just going to make them want to hide things from you. its disrespectful to them and make them learn to fear you. Second. Your children didnt even contribute to anything you wrote. This isnt even their fault, its the fault of others and you're pushing the consequences onto them. Third, monitoring your childs phone 100%? is the worst idea ever. They have no space to grow or learn, because you're controlling them so much. Watch as they learn to delete, hide and lock all the apps and content you monitor. Watch them find a way to bypass your control. Maybe you'll learn how to raise your kids properly.
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

First off, with all due respect, if your kids are exposed to this and didn't talk about it to you, it may be because they didn't trust you. That self-righteous attitude destroys your child's ability to trust you or believe you have their best interests at heart, instead making them act out even more. A lot of the examples you gave were sent by others and I think you just trust in your child's ability to not participate in them. I think there's such a taboo around inappropriate content and if what they are sending really freaks you out, you should talk to them instead of further cracking down on them. For you, phones may seem superficial, but for them, it is their world. It is how they communicate with friends, meet new people, do work, etc. While social media may be a false reality (which is why I deleted all of mine), there are places online where children can really express themselves, like this site and by writing off the entire internet with over 7 billion users as superficial and useless, you cut out a huge part of teen culture and their lives. It's like if your parents told you that face-to-face conversations are superficial because no one would really tell you how they feel anyways, so you should just stop having conversations with people. Your child will never, ever be able to prove to you that they are 100% responsible because no one is 100% responsible. My mom spends all of her time on Facebook and my dad is always on his laptop; I don't call that responsible. If you want, you can install malware protectors and stuff but just take a step back and ask yourself if you will ever be able to "trust" your child. Set guidelines of what you think complete responsibility is and see if those are even achievable. Put yourselves in their shoes and think about more than just your opinion.
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.
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

but you also have to think about experience. How is your son ever going to learn to deal with problems by himself if you keep stepping in? In the end, you're going to start becoming the problem. If it was anyone but you, that would be classified as stalking and would definitely be one of the signs of an abusive relationship. Your son may end up thinking thats okay if you give him no privacy whatsoever. Have a talk with him, and explain internet safety. I know the risks of being online which is why I'm responsible online. Give him the benefit of doubt. HOWEVER, if you suspect that something's going on, TALK TO HIM. Let him know it's okay to trust you about his feelings and offer to help. If it's just porn I advise that you lecture him and move on. He's going to watch inappropriate content at some point no matter what you do and you need to let him make that choice on his own. however, he is sending pictures or meeting up with people, it's definitely okay to moniter. In fact I would encourage. In short, trust your son. If there is mutual trust, your relationship will be a lot better and he is actually less likely to act out. Good luck!
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, 15 years old written by mylife573

I'm sorry, but with utmost respect, that is the most ridiculous and self-righteous things I've ever heard. I have been brutally bullied and my parent's controls did absolutely nothing to stop it. In fact, being able to go online and talk on sites like this and speak about how I really felt helped. My parents actually made my depression and suicidal thoughts way worse and I resent them so much. Privacy is such a huge part of growing up. You also need to let them to make those decisions for themselves or they will NEVER learn. You can't just make a decision for your child and expect them to learn from it. Instead, talk to them. For example, if you're checking their social media posts, just ask to follow them. Don't force them to accept your follow request. Just say you want to know them better and ask if they will follow you back too. Make it a family bonding thing, tag eachother in posts, and let everyone know how much you guys love eachother. After all, that will boost that "reputation" you're so worried about. By the way, if anyone is encouraging your child to commit suicide, instead of restricting your child and making it all your child's fault, talk about how to get past bullying and how to deal with it. Let your child know they are loved and understood and really listen to them. You are the people they look to the most in their lives and they need your acceptance. Block the bullies and report them for abuse. Have a talk with your kid. Just whatever you do, don't let it be your child's fault, they are the victims. You'll only make it worse.
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!!
Kid, 12 years old

Are you trolling? You don't appear to be a parent, so you may not know what's right for a child.
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.
Kid, 12 years old

Your parents shouldn't be on YOUR phone that often. If they really believe in checking your phone (which isn't even a good idea in the first place), it should be every once in a while (maybe once a month). If they're on your phone so often, then you won't be able to use it either.
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 www.ParentWise.com 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 faceves.com.
Teen, 15 years old written by mylife573

No one uses Facebook anymore so that's basically useless. Also I think 6th grade is a good age to get them phones and establish boundaries with all forms of internet. NO tv, videos, entertainment content for more than an hour on weekdays and if your grades are suffering, then none at all on weekdays. But don't just force them to abide by those rules. You have to abide by them too. There are bad people online I 100% agree. But who do you think your child is going to listen to more. The random classmate the barely know telling them their "ugly and fat" or the parent telling them "We don't trust you. You have no right to have your own voice and you shouldn't be heard. Your opinion doesn't matter to us and we know we're right because we're older, we're paying, and we're your parents." You don't own your child. Around 15 or 16, you need to lay off and let them make their own decisions.
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 www.faceves.com 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 musical.ly 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 http://smstrackerapps.com/mobistealth-review 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, 15 years old written by mylife573

Parents seem to think that their child is naïve and stupid but we know what we're doing. If you still think we're too naïve, maybe you should educate your child on all the risks and responsibilities of having a device. We're teens, not toddlers, and we're not running into busy streets, more like going outside. It's mostly safe but we always have to be careful because there are always going to be there to hurt you. That does mean one should stay inside and never see the sun. There is a medium and you have to give your child some credit and understand that they're not that stupid. Also, you need your child to learn the consequences of bad online decisions. If they post something wrong, immediately take it down and go over why it's wrong to do that and what can happen if you're not careful. If the problem still persists, go ahead block stuff but you're child will never learn if you keep making decisions for them.
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.