There's An App That Lets You Read Your Kid's Deleted Texts (Just No)

I'm all for keeping kids safe. I'm all for parents talking to their kids about how to be responsible when it comes to Internet usage and social media. But there's no way in hell I would ever pay $14.95 a month for an app that lets me read my kid's deleted texts. And you shouldn't either. 


According to the Chicago Tribune

TeenSafe, a website dedicated to raising awareness about online safety, now offers an app for Android phones and iPhones that lets parents or guardians monitor texts, calls, Web search history, Web browser history, social media interactions, and location on a kid's smartphone.

Once you install the app on your child's phone, all of his or her texts and online interactions are available on a Web dashboard for you to read for $14.95 per month.

Brave New Big Brother World, right? I'm all for teaching kids about how what they post on social media can haunt them for years to come. That they should never send nude photos to someone else or accept naked pics from one of their friends. That there are things on the Internet that are awful and horrific and confusing and illegal and almost every parent knows how to install a safe search on their home computer. But I can't get behind the idea of going through your kid's phone under the guise of "trying to keep them safe." That's what you should do before you allow them phone or Internet access. 

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I don't believe in giving kids a cell phone before they turn 16. I don't think they need them. Now, before you get all "But my kids, they go places! They have activities and they need to get in touch with me!" I will ask you, ummm, why? I mean, we all grew up and we never had cell phones and we came out OK. No one ever forgot us at a friend's house or after choir practice. I think 16 is a good age where kids can really understand that their behavior has ramifications. You can talk to them about all the horrible cases of cyberbullying where kids have ended up hurt and worse. You can talk to them about what to do if they see one of their friends acting inappropriately online. You can tell them what the consequences will be if they act inappropriately online. You know your own kid. If you think they are responsible enough to handle having a phone before then, go for it. Just make sure you tell them what the rules are first.

For younger kids, they just don't need phones. They want to make a call? Let them use your phone. 

Sure, let them use a computer. Lock it down and keep them from stuff you don't want them seeing. But don't give them the freedom of having a cell phone and then snooping around on it. Kids need their privacy. This is how they learn and grow and find out who they are. Your kids with cell phones will flirt and swear and tell their deep dark secrets to their friends and call you an idiot behind your back. That's gonna happen. You don't need an app to tell you that. But if that's the worst thing they are doing? Then that sounds pretty normal to me.


Image via © JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Corbis

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