How to Track Your Kid’s Cell Phone Without Taking it Away
Do you remember the computer game, “The Oregon Trail”?
Just like the pioneers, a parents journey to raise well rounded and productive teenagers is a difficult task. The threat of typhus, broken axles, and diphtheria have diminished over the years, but there are new obstacles to overcome. The cyber world is laden with pitfalls and dangers that many teens encounter at some point in their lives.
In today’s society, browsing cell phones expose children to sexting, cyber bullying, and questionable content. Growing up, we could just restart the computer and try again. With the prevalence of the Internet and Social Media, our teens are not given that luxury. This technology leaves parents little choice, but to intervene and prevent tragic outcomes.
Obviously, a parent’s first reaction might be to take the cell phone away. However, many families rely on cell phones to stay connected and informed. The reality is that it might not be practical to take away a child’s phone.
Thankfully, technology has adapted to the changing needs of families and had developed new ways for parents to check a child’s messages. These new developments allow easy communication without depriving the family of cell phone access. Tracking a child’s phone is a solution that enables parents to have a “plan B” or option at their disposal.
Parents can have the best of both worlds when they utilize apps, like TeenSafe, that allow them to check their child’s messages and Internet activity from the convenience of their own phones.
Cons To Confiscating Your Child’s Cell Phone
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” worked wonders for the toddler sect, but that mentality doesn’t work for the teen scene. Obviously, it is important for a parent to weigh all the pros and cons before choosing a discipline method, especially when it boils down to taking a cell phone. The last thing a parent of a teen needs is for their child to see them waiver or backdown on enforcing a punishment.
If your child has been mishandling the responsibility of cell phone ownership, carefully consider the consequences before taking a child’s communication device away:
- You wouldn’t be able to text updates back and forth when children are out with friends. It is comforting to know who your child is with, where she is at, and what she is doing.
- How would your child call for help if there was an emergency? The pay phone is almost extinct and sightings are rare. Cell phones offer a sense of security if you need to locate your teen if there is ever a problem.
- Teen drivers might need to call if their car breaks down or they get lost.
- Disconnecting might make it harder to manage a class load and impact grades. Teens may need to check assignments, classroom Twitter accounts, and emails for scholarships or practice times.
- Removing a phone would isolate teens from their peers. Teens favor texting over real conversations. If your daughter had to give up her phone, her social circle might disappear or shrink.
- She can still access the Internet to message and play games on other devices. Removing a cell phone will only inconvenience the family.
- This “authoritarian style of parenting” might cause teens to turn their anger onto you, her parents.
After considering all the negative reasons, it might lead parents to the startling conclusion: the cons of taking a cell phone away are actually reasons to track your kid’s cell phone.
Listed below are some ways a monitoring app can allow parents to take a positive hands-on approach for teaching cell phone responsibility:
- In a realistic setting, parents would be able to see exactly how a child uses their phone. You would be able to see what sites she visits, who she texts, and if she follows Social Media etiquette.
- Your teen can build appropriate Smartphone skills with you to guide her.
- You can keep an eye on a child’s behaviors while they maintain autonomy.
- Kids would be able to keep updated on school projects, check their bank account, and turn in assignments.
- Teens would still be able to communicate with friends (and parents!).
How To Track Your Kid’s Cell Phone
After a parent has made the decision to monitor a child’s activity, it is important to follow a few basic guidelines and steps:
- Inform your child that you will be checking their activity. Be honest and upfront, avoid sneaking behind their back.
- Install a monitoring app, such as TeenSafe, that allows you to see messages, texts, and Internet activity. Once the app is installed, all you will need to do is check in on occasion to see what your child is doing online. The program runs in the background and shouldn’t interfere with your child’s phone. If you are lucky, you might be able to score a free trial to test the waters!
- Make a distinction between spying and monitoring. A teenager is probably going to pitch an epic fit when they hear their parents will be checking their cell phone. Remind teens that nothing online is private and monitoring their activity openly is not spying. Tracking is a preventative measure, just in case an issue like cyber bullying would surface.
- Sit down with your child and look at the messages together. This is especially useful if your child is receiving threats or involved with cyber bullying.
It can be difficult raising digital kids when we thought playing “The Oregon Trail” was the crowning achievement of technology. At times it may appear children are consumed by electronic devices, but parents need to know they still have control over a child’s cell phone. Luckily, parents have hours of pioneering determination and experience on our side.
Checking messages and activities behind a child’s back will only create unnecessary conflict. Likewise, removing a phone will cause friction and hinder a family’s overall communication. Parents can bridge this new territory with convenient apps to check their child’s cell phone activity with ease.