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TeenSafe: Safety or Snooping?

by Jennifer S. Rowe | June 20th, 2014 | Safety, Teens

keyboard-142332_640When you consider the term “Teen Safety”, a plethora of things instantly comes to mind, so I decided to do some research about what is on the forefront for concerned parents. If you guessed cell phones and social media being the top concern, you would be correct! As I began my research, it did not take very long to find a website where, for a price, parents can monitor text messages (deleted ones as well), locations, web browsing, bookmarks and search history, as well as call logs and contacts. You can also keep track of Facebook and Instagram. The site is

Now I would like to say before I go any further, that I am in fact a parent, and I do have a 13-year-old son who after many years of asking, finally has a cell phone and is active on the internet (no Facebook page yet!). I seem to be having a bit of a problem wrapping my head around the whole concept of snooping into absolutely everything my kid is doing and saying, or maybe I am overthinking this? Please don’t get me wrong , I am not that naive to think that my son will always make the right choices or that he will never be tempted by anything or anyone. But at some point as a parent, I need to have some confidence that I am pointing my son in the right direction, also knowing that he will make mistakes and will learn from them so he can grow up with sound decision making abilities.

I say all of this because on the website is the following quote; “I know my child may not always make the best decisions. With TeenSafe, I have another way to help with decisions that I may not have otherwise known about.” In addition to this quote, under Frequently Asked Questions is this: Does my teen need to know I’m using TeenSafe? “No. As long as you are the parent or legal guardian, and the child is under the age of 18 years old — you are legally allowed to monitor your child’s activity without informing them.”

“Should you tell your child? That’s up to you. Every family is different, and when it comes to protecting your children it’s sometimes good to open a dialogue, and it’s sometimes better to be discreet. Only you can decide whether or not a conversation is appropriate.” I am not really sure I am comfortable with all of this, and of course it may not be the right fit for every parent. At this point, my son is very open with me about many things, but I am sure some things and thoughts he keeps close to himself, and unless they are extremely negative or destructive, I am okay with that. With all of this being said, in the future, if I ever felt like my son was moving in the wrong direction (there are many signs when kids turn the wrong way), I would consider using this product. But for now, I am blissfully happy that my son has excellent communication skills and pray that it stays that way!

  1. Michele says:

    As the mom of 4 children, ages 13-18, I agree that giving kids a little space is good. All 4 of our kids have cellphones, but they all understand that it is a privilege to have them. If there are behavioral or school issues, the phones can be taken. The same holds true for iTouches. I do keep tabs on their social media usage. As three of our teens are 16 and older, they tend to be active on social media sites. However, any social media site on which they have presence, they need to friend me. This allows me to keep tabs on their Facebook, Twitter, etc posts. And they understand that if they post inappropriately, the accounts will be closed.

    Knowing our rules, our children (for the most part) have been sure to use social media wisely. Their willingness to follow rules has allowed us to give them more freedom and space to make choices.

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