4 Apps Teens Love that Parents Need to Monitor

Phone Apps

Cyber Crime Expert Sedgrid Lewis shares the four hottest apps being used by teens and why parents need to monitor them.

It’s holiday time and most teenagers have received a new cell phone or Mp3 player.  According to Pew Research, over 78% of teens have cell phones with almost half of them having smartphones. Teens will be rushing to online mobile app stores to purchase the hottest apps on the market.

According to a recent study, 58% of all teens between the ages of 12-17 have downloaded apps to their personal cell phones. This generation loves to communicate through their cell phones. The movement away from desktops to laptops has become problematic. The rise of sexting, bullying, prostitution, and drug use are taking place over third party mobile apps.  Apps have become the new way for teens to engage in at risk behavior without the watchful eyes of their parents.

The list below is the hottest apps that are being used by teenagers. We take a look at why teens love them and why you should monitor them.

1. Snap Chat

Why Your Teen Loves It
Snapchat allows users to send images and videos to their friend lists. The secret sauce is that the sender can place a time limit on how long the receiver reviews the image or video. The content or “Snaps” self-destruct from 1-10 seconds based upon the time limit set by the users. After the snap self-destructs it is also deleted from the Snapchat Servers. Teens love snapchat because of it’s simplicity and speed. It sends photos and videos much faster than standard text messages. Teens sends millions of snaps throughout the day of funny facial expressions or pictures of their pets.


Why You Should Monitor It
Snapchat is the number one sexting app on the market. Teens send nude snaps to their significant others under the impression that snaps self-destruct. Forensic Experts have stated the snaps can easily be recovered thus they are never truly deleted from the receiver’s phone. Due to the countless number of nude snaps, porn sites have popped up over the internet to take advantage of the free content. There have also been numerous cases of bullying with the app.

2. Kik Messenger

Why Your Teen Loves It

Super quick instant messaging app with over 100 million users that allow teens to exchange videos, pics, and sketches. New Kik cards allow user send Youtube videos, create memes, and gifs without leaving the app. Kik Cards reached over 2 million users within first week of their launch.


Why You Should Monitor It

Teens are using the Kik app for sexting and dating. Teens are sending nude selfies to one another through the app. The term sex buddy is being replaced with Kik Buddy. Teens used Reddit and other forum sites to place classified ads for sex by giving out their Kik usernames. Kik does not offer any parental controls. Additionally, there is no way of authenticating users thus making it easy for pedophiles to use the messenger app.

3. The Whisper App

Why Your Teen Loves It

Whisper is the Teen Confession App. It allows users to superimpose text over a picture. The secret sauce is that users are anonymous thus allowing for secrets to be posted. Over 70% of whisper users are women under the age of 25. Whisper provides freedom for young users to share raw feelings and emotions over simple pictures.


Why You Should Monitor It

Teens have started using the app for cyberbullying. Due to the anonymous feature of the app, teens are posting pics of other teens with derogatory text superimposed on the image. Users do not have to register to use Whisper thus no user profile. Unfortunately, the app allow users to communicate with other users nearby by using the device GPS location settings. Pedophiles seek out female whisper users to establish a relationship. Recently, a Seattle, Washington man was arrested for raping a 12 year old girl that was lured to a hotel through the app.

4. Ask.fm App

Why Your Teen Loves It

Ask.fm is one of the hottest social networking sites that is almost exclusively used by teenagers and pre-teens. 25% of teens have posted something on ask.fm over the past 30 days. It is a question and answers site that allows user to ask anonymous questions. Ask.Fm has Twitter and Facebook integration that allows users to connect with all their friends on those popular sites.


Why You Should Monitor It
Due to intense bullying, Ask.fm has led to 4 documented cases of suicide in the United States, Ireland, and Great Britain. User engage in hyper bullying by constantly asking inappropriate and derogatory questions. The app is totally anonymous and is not being monitored by the developers.

The key for parents is to monitor downloaded apps on their child’s phone. Google the apps to learn if they are dangerous or inappropriate. Gather all of your child’s passwords and user names for monitoring purposes. If your teen refuses to give you his or her passwords, then download spyware such as Mspy to review your teen’s cell phone activity. It is always better to be safe than sorry.


Also read: Posting a Child’s Life For the World to See is a Privacy Issue

 Photo: Flickr/Bonnie-Brown

About Sedgrid Lewis

Sedgrid Lewis is aJuvenile Justice Expert who has over 15 years of experience in the field. Sedgrid is a national cyber crime expert that specializes in sexting and cyberbullying. Follow him on Twitter @spyparent and check out SpyParent LLC


  1. There seems to be an expectation out there that parents “should” buy a child under 18 a “smart” phone/device. Wake up people, all they need is some communication device to keep in touch with us when away from us, or vice versa. All those bells and whistles are not necessary, and certainly not free. Once they are 18, they have the legal ability to have access to these devices…i.e. buy their own.

  2. The other day I discovered that my daughter created a kik account and an Instagram account without my permission. She does not have an email account so when I checked out the one she used, she had just “made up” an email account and both apps allowed her to continue using it. When I tried to delete the kik app, it asks you as a parent why you want to delete your child’s account, and I told them the same thing. That was 4 days ago and I haven’t heard anything from them.

    • As long as your daughter knows right from wrong and how to protect herself, what is the harm? When you limit her so strictly, she will just do it behind your back.

    • Why do parents need to “buy” their children under 18 a “smart” phone, anyway? All they really need is some form of communication device to contact you when they are away from you, or vice versa. All those bells and whistles only cost money. It seems there’s an expectation these days that all kids are entitled to these devices. That is not the case. It is not a materialistic sign of love if you buy them one. It is not a sign of parental abuse, neglect, or emotional abandonment if you don’t.

  3. Cedric Satterfield says:

    Ask.fm did not cause anyone’s suicide. The person caused the suicide. Im really tired of apps, shows, music, whatever being listed as the cause of teen suicide. People are the cause of suicide. Everything else is just a distraction.

    • You are so right! It’s the same with guns. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

      • Bennett Schneider says:

        Of course, it’s much harder for the people to shoot other people if they have regulated, restricted access to the most lethal of the guns.

    • While AskFM did not cause anyone’s suicide, it certainly made it easier for people to remain anonymous while bullying those that committed suicide. If this website, and others like it, weren’t available, how willing do you think these same cyber-bullies would be to bully someone face to face?

  4. Father of a teen says:

    I understand why everyone is up in arms – teens are using point to point media vs page based social network sites. Has anyone ever stopped to consider that it is because they don’t want their Grandmother commenting on their photo or their mom commenting on their statuses and conversations? Has any parent ever considered that their excessive stalking and overreaching into their kids lives are the reason they are moving to this? Is it possible that while we parents are chained to shackles of having to censor everything we say and post on our Facebooks, these kids may just be a little smarter than us and possibly a little more discreet? Is it possible they are just sick of having their whole life on display? See, most of us don’t have 300 friends we go to school with every day, so we are stuck visiting our friends from 20 years ago’s pages to see their anniversary photos and pictures of their kids. I am willing to bet most teens are a lot more media savvy than most adults. How many people have “friends” that relentlessly bomb your page with political stuff. Just let the kids have their stuff.

  5. Short of being a Forensic Scientist, how can a parent monitor “Snap Chat”? My daughter’s snap chats are gone fast. She has hers set at 4 seconds. How can I see what she’s sending and to whom?

  6. I am not sure if it has been mentioned already but with Snap Chat you can also take a screenshot of the pics that are being sent to you..nothing is safe.

  7. If teen refuses to give the parent his/her passwords, then take the phone away. End of story.

  8. abrandnewline says:

    Here are my feelings on this article which feels less like education and more like fear-mongering.

  9. If a teen refuses to give a parent their passwords, why put on spyware? Why not just take the phone?

  10. Thank you for the article and information, but I would like some feed back about how exactly a parent can keep an eye out when it comes to Snap chat since the pic and info is gone after 10 seconds ( I realize gone for us, but not for good) I trust my daughter and she has never given me a reason to NOT trust her, but it’s still something I would like to be aware of 🙂

  11. doyoureallycare says:

    I have been on my own since I was 16, been paying for my own bills, phone, food, rent, everything.. Just because someone is young does not mean that they are idiots and can’t learn things for themselves. Luckily, when I was growing up my mom TRUSTED me and didn’t monitor everything I did. Yes, she took my phone away when I did something bad. But she didn’t go and monitor everything I did, because she knew the more she said no the more I would want to rebel. And what happened because of that? I grew up to be a smart, independent and mature adult. I didn’t party or sneak out at night because my mother taught me better than that. She taught me how to be responsible by letting me hang out with friends, and be my own person. She knew that I needed to grow into my own person and the only time she would interfere was when it was completely necessary. And instead of me being a rebel, hating my mother and not truster her, I knew right from wrong, loved my mother, and completely trusted her. When she asked me something about what I did, whether that was have sex or have a beer,I would tell her the absolute truth, and we would talk about how to be responsible, not get drunk and out of control, and how to be protected, emotionally and physically. She knew that I was going to do those things whether or not she wanted me to, so she taught me how to be responsible with my actions. And because of that, I never even wanted to go out and party, ever. Instead I actually enjoyed hanging out with my mom, she was my best friend, not just my mother. and thats how I think all parents should be. You will get better results. Then when I had to start living on my own at 16, I knew what to do. I knew how to be a good person, be responsible and be mature, because instead of treating me like a 5 year old my whole life, my mom treated me like a human being, like someone who can understand right from wrong, and make my own mistakes. Thats what growing up is about. And its DISGUSTING how you are treating that poor girl. Who are no worse than the cyber bullies that this article is trying to warn you about. Sickening.

  12. I’ve read through most of the comments and I’d like to give my perspective. I am a 18 year old girl and a senior in high school, still living at home. My parents, after reading through the past comments, are exceptionally lenient. There are times when I love them to death for that, and times that I wish they would have watched me more. The fact of the matter is, the reason they give me the freedom I have is because I have earned their trust. Have I misused this trust at times? Most definitely. In the end, teenagers will find a way to do what they want, so it is better to instill morals instead of fear. When I did something wrong, I wasn’t afraid of getting caught, I felt awful simply because I knew I had done wrong.

    • Yes, I spent my entire childhood trying to “earn” my father’s trust back. I lost his trust for everything – my grades weren’t good enough, I came home after curfew, the phone rang after the “no calls after 9pm” rule, our house got toilet papered (popular prank in the 90’s – like THAT was my fault)! As a result, my father and I barely have a relationship now. I think that is what made me promise not to do that to my own child. A child should be told as often as possible how proud you are of them and although you will disappoint each other occasionally, you love them with all of your heart.

    • Thank you for sharing

    • I agree with Katy. A parent can only police just so much, but at some point you have to trust in the judgement of the young person. So parents probably need to have a frank and open conversation with their kids rather than violating their trust and snooping their phone. Bullying is definitely something that needs to be talked about, because suicide is unacceptable. But as far as sexting goes, the parent needs to recognize that their teens have an emerging sexuality and its counter-productive / destructive to try to suppress that. Instead, they need to be educated on RISKS, such as pregnancy, disease and so forth, and with especial respect to the new digital age, the fact that nude photos sent to a crush one day can be used as a weapon the very next, or LOST or stolen, etc, and they’ll NEVER regain control of it.

  13. I fully understand and appreciate the parental desire to protect our children, and the panic and uncertainty that comes from knowing apps with potential to be misused like this exist. But I have such an issue with this “monitoring” idea…kids of this generation have replaced a large portion of communication that used to be verbal and in person with communication over their phones/the internet. Probably upwards of 99% of kids aren’t going to use apps Kik to buy drugs or any of the other dangerous stuff mentioned here, but they will use it to talk about very personal things that would be horribly embarrassing for their parents to find out (think about the stuff we used to talk about at sleepovers, passing notes, whispering in the hallways…). I find this kind of monitoring less like being a careful, loving parent and more equivalent to attaching a microphone to your kid’s backpack to hear what they say to their friends between classes. Kids need space to talk to their peers in private, just like we had when we were kids!

    If you want to be careful, have open conversations with your kids. Let them know they can tell you everything and anything. Because the other important thing is, unless you’re a software developer or something, your kids are better at technology than you. If you think you’re monitoring their devices either by having their passwords or by taking them and looking at them, trust me, your kids know ways to get around this. Establishing a trusting relationship where you can ASK for information is 10000x more effective than trying to TAKE it with “my house my rules” kind of arguments (which will also only work to hurt your relationship/make your kid feel hurt and trapped).

    • Jenga I completely agree. I found that my child came to me with more because I wasn’t constantly pestering him or saying no every chance I got. We certainly had our disagreements, but usually that was when he was forgetting that I wasn’t just mom the friend all the time, that sometimes I did have to say no and he would have to accept it. I was DEFINITELY not perfect, but I am happy that he & I had the relationship we had and still do now that he is 18 and moved out. We even spend one night a week playing pool together just us so we can catch up. It’s nice to know that he still needs me at times, and truth be told, I need him! : )

  14. There is a vast difference between monitoring and invading and an ocean of difference between either of those and stalking. If I am monitoring a child’s/teen’s technology activity, the majority of the time it has very little to do with trusting the child/teen–I know them, I have a fair idea of what kind interests they have….it IS that I don’t trust the adults who prey on children/teens. If this makes me paranoid, overprotective, or overbearing to those children/teens, then so be it; I am perfectly content with it. I’d far rather have those children and teens hate me–at least they are alive and safe to do so.

  15. You can definitely tell which posts are from kids and which are from adults. Kiddos it’s called monitoring not spying. and there are plenty good reasons for monitoring what you all do. No one is saying the parents don’t trust the kids its called we love you we want you to be safe in this sick world we all live in. The internet is full of pedophiles, murderers and other nightmares. Trust me when I say you have no idea what could be in store for you if you are not careful. now before you roll your eyes I will explain; it wasn’t that long ago I was a teenager in high school, us girls use to roam the mall every Friday night. at school we used to talk about the latest guys we were talking to in chat rooms. And yes we thought we were cool when we use to send pictures back and forth with them via email. Sad story but one of my friends did meet up with the one she was talking to and he raped her. Now you’re probably thinking stupid girl but guess what we all have had the same mindset since we were just teens. looking back at those times makes me glad that my mom was protective of what I did and I was glad of the system we had. if I was allowed to go out I had a set curfew to be home and my phone was to be on at all times in case she need to get ahold of me. Now if I was going to see a movie I would put my phone on silent and if she text me I would reply. now if I was going to be past my curfew I was to call to let them know or if I was at a party and say I drank too much it was to call if I needed them to come pick me up or to make sure it was okay for me to spend the night. My parents were once teenagers as well they knew how teens think. see I’m glad for my parents my ring what I did this allowed me to go out and have fun what they wanted me to make sure I was safe it didn’t matter if it was on the Internet or out of the house or even just in the backyard. Now I’m a mom to a three year old, yes I have some time before he’s a teen but in reality I still watch what he does. I love him too much for him to get hurt. After all it’s the same principle. but yeah I guess I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about after all I’m 29 it wasn’t that long ago when I was a teenager….

  16. Both the teens and parents posting here are making huge generalizations about how kids should be raised. Every child is different and has different needs. Some are trustworthy some are not. Some need monitoring some do not. I believe my parents pushed me to rebellious behavior. My parents trie their hardest to shelter me but I also went to public school. And it’s pretty much impossible to shelter a public school child. So with those 2 mixed it was like a game to see what I could get away with. I got away with a lot. Like lofe changing forever scarring shit. I regret all of my actions to this day. I know I was responsible for my choices and actions and I don’t blame my parents but as you all like to say in the comments I was a “dumb kid” and when when that’s happening to a teen of course they’ll react that way. If there’s one thing I wish they would have done differently is that they would have gotten over the power issue and just tried to understand and have a conversation and not reminded me everyday and treated me like I was a dumb kid. Maybe then it would be different. But nobody’s perfect.

  17. I don’t care if keeping track of what my children are into makes me “nosey”. I don’t care if kids think they are entitled to their “private” lives…they ARE children! Until they are 18+ and paying their own bills and I have done everything in my power to raise them right, they are MY children and I WILL be keeping check on them.
    Like someone here said if you have nothing to hide, it wouldn’t bother you. The problem with teens today is that they think they are entitled..but no, they aren’t. They need to be thankful that their parents even give them phones and other electronics and pay for them, because it certainly isn’t owed to them. If Teens want it…it comes with the condition that I WILL moniter it…and if they don’t like it, good. I’ll save myself some money by not buying it or taking it away. Teens aren’t suppose to get equal respect for privacy as adults…respect is earned.

    • You are a great mom

    • Lol your poor kids, tell them in sorry for me, would you?
      They they can’t be sheltered like that! Give them some space or the second they do turn 18 or pay their own bills they will go crazy and do all the things you told them not to because they finally have basic rights. I don’t care if they’re children, I they behave wrong online then you raised them wrong, if they do what you want them to do when you’re not around, good job but trust them. That’s why I don’t have a relationship with my parents and I beg you to do otherwise.

  18. While I don’t have anything particularly groundbreaking to say, I would like to point out something simple. Teenagers have sex drives. Really active sex drives, in a lot of cases.

    It’s nothing new, and it’s nothing that isn’t biological! Most people from ages ~14 and up start looking for sexy things on the internet. They’ll often make pretty bad decisions for the sake of finding sexy things on the internet, which is where KIK and Snapchat come into play.

    I think it’s important for them to know the risks of sharing nudes and personal information, definitely. Education about smart sexting is almost as important as edcation about smart/safe actual sex.

    Anyway, my main point here was gonna be that, if you track your teenager’s history, you’re prooobably gonna find some stuff that isn’t very… innocent. Whether it’s straight-up porn, explicit fanfiction, whatever, just be prepared to lose the image of your kid as a virginal little cherub who’s never thought about sex once in her life.

  19. Well i have a 15 year old boy whose on some of these sites and the rule is if he wants them then i have all his passwords i dont spy behind his back i look at it right infront of him and he has no problem with it because he has no interest in making himself look bad or putting himself or brothers in danger. I believe that more parents should minister what their kids do not spy. If you haven’t done or dont plan to do anything wrong then it wont be a problem right. It takes a lot of my time to check his accounts and messages etc but its well worth it to protect him and let him know i care. If i didnt id just say no to all of it and be done but i do understand that this technology is no different then books were in my parents day. So i will keep up with the times as well and my son and i have a great understanding about this stuff and i respect his privacy but till hes 18 i will supervise and guide in good desicion making 🙂 wouldn’t it be nice if you all and your parents could talk about anything at all with out judgement ? I think parents sometimes forget what its like to be a teen . It’s not easy not at all . Good luck to all of you.

  20. As a parent I would just like to say a few things…
    1- every parent on here is correct. It’s your job to raise a safe, health child. You have authority over their actions and you better have access to their electronics.
    2- every kid on here is correct. You must raise your child with values and trust them, they will be independent adults one day (or they should be) and you hovering over them doesn’t allow them the oppertunity to make mistakes in a safe environment where they can learn from them.
    3- teach your children how to be adults, in the end it truly is your only job. No one learns to be successful from a supervisor that hovers over them and micro-manages their work. Your children are incapable of being trusted or having some leyway because that is how YOU raised them.

  21. I grew up with an extraordinarily overprotective father. It was so bad the guys at my school were too scared to ask me out. I was the oldest of four children and stories of him were already legendary. He trusted me enough to make my own judgements on dating and I luckily came to no harm. I didn’t grow up with all this technology, it was just on the verge of coming out as I was entering adulthood. I now have four children who complain to me about their lack of a phone,a laptop, an iPod touch, etc. my oldest is only 12 with my youngest being 6. I’ve thought long and hard about it all. I see no reason for so many children to have phones. Many of these problems wouldn’t exist otherwise. We give our children all these things because we feel they need them. They really don’t. I can just barely justify my need/use for my iphone5. I guarantee that a teenager has no real use for it, besides the whole “keeping up with the Jones’ ” thing. It’s a status symbol. A parent shouldn’t have to spy/monitor their child’s life like that in anyway, shape or form. Simple old fashioned talking, verbal communication should be done instead. It should be started from when they are young and it will establish a good relationship and trust. Removing any need for ‘spyware’. I’ve seen it done before by many different types of parents. I’m not a parenting expert, I’m getting ready to hit the teenage years with my oldest in a few monthsb, but right now if he will sit down and ask me for advice on girls and help on dealing with bullies and will still hug me in front of his friends then doing something right I feel. Most boys won’t talk to their moms about their personal lives or problems.

  22. http://adammclane.com/2013/08/22/why-you-should-delete-snapchat/?fb_action_ids=10201240661960869&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B213061592190388%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
    Read this article… EVERYONE… Snapchat DOES NOT DELETE ANY OF THE PHOTOS YOU TAKE. They simply change the address that the image is stored at so you can no longer view it, but they store it permanently and reserve the right to sell the photos as well as all of your personal information.

  23. Wow! As a 26 year old woman and as a parent , I do not even have snap chat, or whatever else they said , or have never had it, and personally I do not find the point in it! Yes I used to go in chat rooms on the Internet when I was a kid, but they are all unsafe, no matter what you do everything now a days is unsafe even taking your kids to the park! Because someone could be watching them! The only thing as parents we can do is monitor, and I hope when my kids get old enough to have any kind of cell phone that I will be able to monitor them! It is a very bad world out there, and no matter what kids are going to be kids! As a kid who comes from a Christian home, raised in a Christian school bad things are still present in these schools, and when my kids do get old enough I will be monitoring them! That is not just ” our job” but it’s a parents nature to protect their children no matter what! No matter what there is always going to be evil in the world and there is nothing we can do about it!

  24. My teen daughters and I have had conversations about these particular apps. I go over the misuses and the dangers. We have an open policy on electronics meaning that my husband and I can look through messages, Facebook, instagram, etc whenever we choose. They look over things with us though. This is not done secretly. My reasoning is that anything that needs to be private should said on the phone or in person. Words or pictures in electronic form can be posted for anyone to see. That is a major lesson I try to teach my kids. This isn’t stifling their sexuality ( as one post said) or infringing on privacy ( as said by another). I am a firm believer in monitoring my kids but with their knowledge. This allows for open conversations. My kids have asked me if I trust them. My answer is yes. But, i also have a responsibility to teach and protect them.

    • I usually just read the comments and never actually weigh in on these sites, but this one seemed worth it. I have to say that lovely_blonde_belle sounds exactly like I did at 15 and I remember feeling JUST like that when I was her age. I had a father who needed to know everything about what I was doing, who I was with & where I was at all times. My mother was the understanding one that I could talk to about everything. She was not my BFF, just my rock when I felt like I was drowning and still is today. She trusted me and was more worried about everyone else (as many parents do). My dad didn’t trust anyone. I grew up feeling like no matter what I did, it was never right or good enough when I was in his presence and I resented him for it and still don’t have much of a relationship with him today. He treated my brother the same way. So lovely_blonde_belle, I think I have an understanding of how you are feeling. Please know that although your parents have completely different approaches to how they deal with you, the reasons behind their actions are the same: THEY LOVE YOU AND WANT YOU TO BE SAFE!!!

      That being said – parents definitely need to pay attention to what their children are doing. Monitoring phones & computers – sure. You should pay attention to that just as you do to getting to know their friends, paying attention to their grades, making sure they eat and sleep, etc. etc. None of these people who are posting about what an invasion of privacy it is to monitor internet usage are complaining about parents who want to meet their children’s friends or friend’s parents, know where they are going or what time they will be home. Is that considered an invasion of privacy as well? No, that’s parenting. Just because you can make friends with someone halfway around the world, play video games with them, exchange personal information and pictures, doesn’t mean I don’t want to know who this is happening with. I think if you allow your child to communicate this way, that you should also be allowed to occasionally ask to see what he or she is doing. I think being together when this happens is a good idea. Just knowing that there is a mutual trust between a child and parent is a good step toward a healthy relationship.

      I became a parent at a fairly young age. I have struggled with trying to find that balance between being a mother and being a friend, especially since my son became a teenager. I think it is difficult to find that balance no matter how hard you try. I am also a Private Investigator for a firm that deals with all different types of cases: criminal, civil, marital. Our cases range from murder & rape, cheating spouses & custody battles to finding lost loves. Every time I think I have seen it all, something else comes along that surprises me & I have to say that 99% of my job involves the internet in some way, shape or form. Things that are posted out there find their way to the surface with the right information & I can’t say that I am a computer genius necessarily. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Yet another reason that I think parents should really pay more attention to what their kids are doing.

      My son is now 18 and has recently moved out of the house. He never had a problem with me taking a look at his accounts. I rarely felt the need to do so, but he knew I might ask and the option was always there. Every child is different so the way you approach them will often affect the outcome, but they will get over it. I always hated hearing the whole “You’ll understand when you have your own child” speech but now I know how true those words really were. We can never protect our child from everything, but we have to do our best to try.

      • But do you put bugs in your kid’s clothes or whatnot to eavesdrop on every conversation they have with their friends? Because that is much more akin to what people are suggesting.

        • NO I did NOT bug my kid’s phone or clothes. I only mentioned being a Private Investigator because of the things I find myself shaking my head at when I am asked to dig up dirt on people. This can include adults as well.

          Every parent has a different approach to raising their children just like every child is different. Some may need heavy restrictions. I just didn’t think constant monitoring of my kid’s internet usage was necessary. He had a right to his private life. It didn’t hurt that in the back of his mind he knew that mom or dad might “ask” to see what he’d been up to. Basically kids will find a way to do what they want and rebel because they are trying to figure out who they are. I know I did growing up. I tried to keep the lines of communication open while setting rules and boundaries in place. Trust me, we weren’t buddies the whole time he was growing up, but we are very close now and I am really proud of who he has become.

  25. I would just like to add, for the benefit of parents, children can easily break into your password protected networks, or your password protected anything. They can also have OTHER accounts (that you know nothing about) besides the ones for which they are giving you passwords. They’re not dumb. It’s plain old access to those apps that can be a problem. So. Forget the smart phones. They can use a regular ol’ phone with no data plan. They can have a smart phone with a data plan when they are 18 and can get it themselves. iPod touch. Forget that one, too. It stinks, yes, but the safe guards are not foolproof in the least, and being able to take anything with wifi or data capabilities into a private room is a potential hazard. Keep all computers in a central location where they have to be literally in your presence to use them. PRAY for your kids.

    • You sound like a wonderful, understanding, trusting parent.

      Do you keep your kids on leashes and have 7 PM curfews too? Christ on high.

      • well, lets see if you are whistling same tune if one of your children get raped or killed because they bought into lie of thinking they are fine and can take care of themselves because they have a parent who clearly cares more about being their friend than their parent!!!! I would rather be labeled as an overbearing parent of a child who has no rights as you put it than to have my child scarred for life or worse dead because I thought its unfair or its their right!! my child will not have a phone that does anything except make calls and they will not even have that until they are 16!!

        • And we’ll see if YOU’RE “whistling the same tune” when your children refuse to speak to you ever again after growing up and moving out of the house. Trust me, this scenario is far more probable than some stranger pedo abducting your kid.

          Please watch Penn & Teller’s episode on “Stranger Danger.”

          • Well, i personally would rather have a kid that grew up and didnt speak to me than one who had been attacked at a young age, on drugs, knocked up at 16, etc. I know a LOT and I mean a LOT of adults who had super protective parents and guess what James? They are not only speaking to them today they are very close to them. I wish mine had been more strict. Actually they did try and I ignored them. But I cannot say that I made mistakes because they didnt watch me.

          • James, it is the duty of every parent to be diligent at assuring the safety of that child. Once a child grows up mentally, the realization comes to him that it is his/her duty as well and understands their parent’s efforts. If one cannot forgive and understand that process, there are other mental disorders involved. But, an angry child means that they have survived the efforts of the truly bad people out there.

            • Are you honestly of the opinion that someone who was denied any kind of privacy or space to become their own person and doesn’t want anything to do with the person responsible has a “mental disorder”?

              • @James, I did not say a teen should not be afforded some privacy and space. But as far as social media goes, I see no point in allowing privacy or space. Everybody has rules. Or at least should.
                But, for a young person past puberty to hold a grudge against a parent for being diligent and looking out for their safety and welfare usually involves some mental issues. Nothing of course that cannot be overcome with help.

  26. Tom Brechlin says:

    As an overbearing parent who raised two kids, ya can’t take chances. Your kid may be the best behaved and have it all together but it only takes one crackpot who stalks kids that change their world forever.

  27. I’m sorry. I live in a world where it is rude, disrespectful, and marginally creepy to plant bugs in your kids’ apps, go through someone else’s technology, and intrude on someone’s private life. And like it or not, your teen does have a private life. There are things going on with them that they would prefer not to discuss with you. And that is okay. What is not okay is spying on other people, most of the time, I am sorry to say, to repress a teenager’s sexuality. I’m sorry, but that’s usually what it comes down to.

    And this applies regardless of who pays for what. That is a flimsy excuse. (People have brought up that is it not spying, it’s “monitoring.” Somebody please explain the difference, because I am horribly confused.)

    I daresay none of you would be so forgiving if your teenager was going through YOUR crap. The hypocrisy is truly mind boggling.

    If you feel you cannot trust your child with a cell phone/other personal technology without spying on them NSA-style, do not get them a cell phone. Also, reexamine your parenting style, because something clearly went wrong somewhere.

    • Ianto Steerpike says:

      Baloney – it’s part of being a good parent to help your child figure out right from wrong. It’s why there are parental controls on televisions and why certain movies are not available for teens or younger children – because, until they are 18, it’s the parents moral AND legal authority to be responsible for their children. And it’s been that way for a lot longer than the internet, smartphones, or social media. Just because it’s “new and modern” doesn’t meant that parents suddenly are no longer responsible for their children.

    • I agree very much with James. The excuse that a parent pays for something and therefore earns certain rights of privacy violation is not only incorrect but belligerent and sets up an adversarial relationship, defeating the purpose of all of this concern: love.

      Please catch yourself when you are screaming: “this is my house! And in my house there are rules, my rules! And you will follow them!” This is not only asshole behavior but sends the wrong message. Do you want your child to think you care about them because you pay for stuff and shelter? The shit you’re supposed to do anyway? No, you want them to know you love them and therefore are concerned and invested in their well being. And that is why you need to know how they are doing, or if they are being bullied etc., or if you need to take the phone away. It’s for love. Not territory. They’re your children. And to further the point, you will still care about them long after they turn 18, and hope they make the right decisions for their love and happiness. And, if you are lucky, and talk to them like human beings, with respect and love and care, they will listen long after childhood, to your advice, and you will become true friends and family members.

      • @Peter: You, and people like you, are what’s wrong with kids today. My son knows I love him because I make it a point to follow up on the things in which he’s involved. In no way is it belligerent or adversarial to monitor my child’s activities and, if necessary, guide him away from improper behavior or bad choices. The entire attitude of entitlement you spew is ridiculous. I love my son and, while I trust him in certain areas, there are things that he cannot possibly have a clue about without guidance from his PARENT. With all the sickos out there, you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be paying very close attention to the people who find their way into my son’s life via technology. Technology is here to stay and, while I won’t stop my child from the advantages it can bring, I won’t allow him to be a victim of those who use it for no good.

    • Our friends suspected their straight A, perfect child being involved in something, all due to a feeling of people being in the house at night while they slept. They set alarms to wake-up at night and heard windows slamming closed. Started to suspect dealing drugs, so they activated the GPS. Daughter told them she was going shopping at the mall, they watched the GPS as she went around town and spent 15 minutes at each location. This discovery lead to many other discoveries… drug addiction, traumatic events in her life she never shared, etc…she was able to get help because she had loving parents who cared about what she did.
      In this day and age, your children can create accounts under different names and completely lead a double life.

  28. Sheila DePuydt says:

    Parents need to get a spine and take away the phone if their children can’t be trusted. Why spy? Just take it away. Do your teens need phones? No. They don’t. Oh wait, yes, they do. Since you have no idea where they are or what they’re doing. The phone gives you the sense that you’re taking care of them. Like real parents.

  29. You say that snapchat pictures can be found. How do you find the pictures??

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      One thing I know for sure is that you can SUPER easily take a screenshot with your phone when the snap is up on the screen.

    • There was an article I read that demonstrated how to pull old snapchat’s off of a phone. I’m sure you can find it by googling for it. Basically the temporary file never gets removed, so just searching the hard-drive for files of a certain extension will pull all the old snapchat’s back up.

  30. The only child I have left at home is a 16 year old girl. Yes she has an iPhone, laptop, tv, satellite, and DVD player in her room. The satellite is rarely on. It is usually
    Netflix. As far as these apps. I know they exist and I know how they work. I also monitor what she does. I have passwords. I have her as friends. I can take her phone anytime I wish and look through anything and everything. I pay the bill. I am the parent. I even have a tracker on the phone. Heck let’s be honest anyone with an iPhone has a tracker. All you have to do is sign into it. My kid knows this. She is not a bad kid. I just want to make sure I know what is going in in her life. And if something was to happen to her I would know exactly where she was. That’s doesn’t make me a bad noisy parent. That makes me a great mom who is protecting her child and wants what best for her. I guess if you had a family
    Member that commited suicide because of being bullied you would think the same way. The only
    People that complain of what I do is people that don’t have kids. People who let their kids run wild. And my own daughter when she has her phone taken away for back talking so I take the time to read it. Society has become a techno world and we as parents need to do anything and everything we can to keep our kids safe.

    • Lita Villa-Coult says:

      You Nailed It!

    • wading through bull says:

      What a bunch of crap. It DOES make you a nosy parent (not noisy as you said). You aren’t giving your child any freedom whatsoever it sounds like. Poor kid! It’s parents like you that are ruining the lives of teenagers everywhere. Why not try to actually TRUST instead of ASSUME they’re doing something wrong. I HATE it when parents act like this. Don’t even get me started on having A TRACKER on a TEENAGER’s phone!! Who comes up with this stuff… God….

      • quit whining says:

        You are a little kid. Let the grown-ups talk here. Typical teen, don’t understand the world, but sure ready to tell everyone what you think.

      • Wader, kids have proven themselves untrustworthy from the day Cain killed his brother Abel.
        Of course you hate it when people do the things that TBushered does, you’re a kid. Her children may or may not survive in this world due to truly bad people (pedophiles) but, it won’t be due to her lack of diligence, care and love. Now, be a good boy, give mom your phone and go to your room.

  31. If somebody impersonates your kid on Kik, that company will NOT remove the account unless your kid (the victim) proves their identity, so the parents and kid who had their identity stolen are victimized a second time. Even though you complain to them in person with your real name and a credible email, they won’t deactivate some account with a random yahoo email until you send in your kids school ID or something to prove you are the victim.

    Note that is different from Facebook, who requires somebody claiming an identity to defend it when there is a credible accusation of identity fraud.

    They pour gasoline on that fire by claiming they can’t reproduce any previously sent messages. That is a lie. They absolutely could, trivially and easily, and they are *choosing* not to reproduce any previously sent messages, which is flat out evil for a company that knows the vast majority of their users are minors.

    So even without the “prove your identity” part of it, they could have solved the problem for my kid by simply looking at the messages, which were clear bullying and should have been violations of Kik’s terms of service. A human being could have easily looked at the activity and determined that the account was fraudulent and abusive and shut it down without re-victimizing me and my child. But that costs money, so they don’t.

    Wonder what the going rate for a soul is these days? Beats me, you’ll have to ask a Kik executive.

  32. Lovely_blonde_belle says:

    Okay first of all i am 15, have had all of these apps except for whisper for at least a year each and i have not once sent nudes, mean questions, or ads of my kik name. Therefore not all kids are going to do it. Do i have friends who do? Yes. But do i have friends who don’t? Yes! Spying on your kids does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! All your kids will do is get pissed off and rebel. Its like if you freak out on your kids for saying they think they want to have sex. Do you need to talk about it? Yes but do you need to tell them how horrible and evil and awful they are? No! Because then what will happen is they will not trust you nor will they talk to you and then they will do it anyways. Take it from someone with a parent of each kind. My dad is a total stalker. Watches every move i make, screams if i say one cuss word. Tells me how horrible i am. I don’t trust him. All he does when he stalks and yells is make me realize that i cant trust him. My mom on the other hand has rules but doesn’t stalk me. We talk about me and my boyfriend and when i need to talk i know she will LISTEN instead of freaks out on me. Your kids will be WAY better behaved if you have rules but arent a complete stalker (which is what this guy is saying when he tells you get SPYWARE i mean come on!) and a control freak. This guy just like many others is only using FEAR. Telling you your kids could get attacked by pedophiles! They could get put on porn sites. They could be attacked by pedophiles if a creepy dad of their class mate saw their yearbook picture and thought he liked her. What are you gonna do? Not let them go to school? Can the apps be dangerous IF THEY ARE MISUSED absolutely!! But to ALOT of people, they are just fun ways to send funny pictures to your friends, text, and just be a teenager.

    • Its not spying, its protecting. And if you are doing nothing wrong, than there is nothing to worry about. Parents have the absolute 100% right to. Now if you pay for your plan, and you pay for your phone, privacy rights should be talked about, and respect. But until you are 18 years old, your mother and father are responsible for you and what you do. 15 years old is still a child.

      • Jenne, I agree with you 100%! 15 is still Young and I give kuddos to the Dad who is very protective of his little girl. This tells me that Dad only wants the best for his kid. Mom is doing a great job too! An awesome example of two parents who LOVE their kid! 🙂

      • Jenne
        Would you care if I walked into your home and started going through your drawers and dresser? If your not doing anything wrong? than there should be nothing to hide. You care because regardless, it is your PRIVACY you want respected.

        Why do you care if the government listens in on your calls without your knowledge? If your not doing or saying anything wrong, there should be nothing to hide. You care because you don’t want everyone knowing your business even if you are in the right.

        • we are talking about kids not adults first off jason…. I bet the parents of the girls who run off to meet boys ( usually perverted old men) they meet on the internet and who were killed or molested wished they had been a little more involved in what their kids were doing. They get Privacy when they EARN it or when they reach adulthood and can support themselves and pay their bills.. ..Kids now days think they are owed everthing…WRONG!!!

    • You are 15, and a child. They are not saying to spy, they are saying to monitor. If you are given the right to have a phone with Internet you should understand that your parents can and should monitor it. Children such as yourself will rebel no matter what. If you have a problem with your parents viewing the content you shouldn’t use these apps bc what the point is , is that pictures are not safe or private online.

      • Brian Whitley says:

        Having a phone with internet access isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. And, as with any privilege, there are concomitant responsibilities. It’s seems belle takes her responsibilities seriously. Sadly, many 15-going-on-19 kids don’t. That’s where we run into the conflict between the responsibilities of kids with phones and those of parents of those kids.

      • Having a phone is NOT a right. It is a privilege. Everyone, including adults, needs to remember that!

    • SoftlySpokenNoise says:

      Hopefully, the day you become a parent yourself, you will come to realize that as a parent you will do whatever it takes to protect your children . That does not mean shelter them from the world, but to be their teacher, their guiding role model. My oldest is 14, I myself was a teen mom having him at 18. I had no one at home monitoring what I did as a teenager and so among many other things, I became a parent at a young age. Had I had someone in my life parenting me, I would not have taken the paths that I chose. Your parents do what they do to protect you, not to make you out to be a criminal or someone who is undeserving of trust. There are far too many “bad” people out there for a child (teenager or not) to just be set loose in the world without any kind of direction or knowledge of what could happen. Your dad is not stalking you, believe me when I say you have no idea what a stalker is if you think your dad doing his job as a father is one. It is our job as parents to monitor our kids, if not, they aren’t doing their part in raising a decent future.

    • I’m a 21 year old college student, and I just want you to know you will see things differently in a few years. I get that parents can be overbearing. I’ve thought the same about my parents. Yeah, I have snapchat, but I don’t misuse it. Social media abuse is rapidly growing. Bullies, pedophiles, and catfishers are everywhere. I’ve never been the target of abuse myself, but I’ve known many who are. It is truly sad that a person would abuse another person. I’m not saying delete all of your apps because I have them too, but I will urge you to be very careful.

    • I’m going to be safe, not sorry for checking what my CHILD is using on her computer & phone, which I pay for. Technically, she has the privilege of using what I allow her to have. If she were to ever “forbid” me to see her phone, she wouldn’t have a phone anymore. She isn’t allowed to download apps without my Apple ID or her dads. She has an email, but doesn’t have access to it. She has limits out in her and we still talk about boys and pressure at school. I will always monitor my kids’ technology because being a parent isn’t about being a BFF! It’s about teaching, training, preparing, protecting, & letting go, once they leave my house/financial support. Oh, and she’s a great kid- 14 and very trustworthy. It’s not her I don’t trust, it is society I don’t trust. Teens and kids will understand when they get older. And the way I see it, she has had nothing to hide, so why wouldn’t she be comfortable letting me see does? There’s no privacy until you’re on your own.

      • wading through bull says:

        OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! Give her some freedom for once. “Oh let’s shelter the kids so they have no idea what the real world is like when they grow up!” Give me a break.

        • wading….you’re what 14 I’m guessing. It’s not a parents JOB to trust our kids, it’s actually our job to protect, guide, and teach our children. Children (which is anyone under the age of 19, living in my home, being supported by my husband and I we will determine what happens with our children). They will have to live in the “real” world soon enough, in the mean time, it’s my job to keep them children and out of adult situations, which are not appropriate for them.

    • One day, not too long from now, you will realize that there are ALOT of scary things out there, and that your dad loves you a whole lot to be so watchful. I know, from personal experience, how annoying that can be, but you will be alot more grateful and alot better off when nothing bad happens to you because your dad is watching out for you. On the other hand, if something bad happens, you will blame your dad for not doing his job.
      I know you feel like you can handle yourself and that you’re smart. And you probably can and are. But there are alot of sickos out there who are much smarter than you and have alot of practice manipulating people who don’t realize what’s happening. They perfect ways to take advantage of teenage girls especially.
      There has been an infinite number of smart teenage girls who’ve gotten raped and/or killed because they weren’t cautious. Because someone wasn’t watching their back.
      Today especially, there’s so much technology and so many opportunities, you can’t anticipate everything. It’s impossible.

      Just try not to get too frustrated with your dad. He loves you and is doing his best to keep you safe. One day, you’ll be really grateful he did. If it seems like he’s just being mean and telling you how awful you are, it’s probably the best way he knows how to protect you. If he didn’t love you, he wouldn’t care what you did or what happened to you.
      And honestly, fear is the best motivator and usually the most accurate. The fact is, there are pedophiles. Tons of them. It’s extremely easy for your pictures to wind up on porn sites. With photoshop, you don’t even have to take a picture even remotely dirty. People can photoshop your face on another body and it will look authentic.
      Obviously you have to live in the real world, but there’s a smart way to go about it.

      And by the way, the article didn’t say never to let teens use these apps, just to be careful about it. Which is just common sense.

      You’re lucky. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, your restrictions will seem like nothing to them, lol

    • JustAparent says:

      I get your attitude on this. No one likes to be distrusted and spied upon. And trust does work both ways. Parents have a difficult task to balance protecting and spying. And each teenager is unique, as well as where each parent is comng from is unique. To find the right balance is elusive and requires constant experimenting and adjusting by the parent. Nothing is constant. Teenagers will vary in their trustworthiness as conditions change. But, it is important to recognize and practice that a teenagers resolve, character and trustworthiness grows when challenged, not when superseded. Yes, be aware and present to monitor, but with as light a touch as feasible, extending respect and trust as much as is earned.

    • Lovely_blonde_belle, I’m glad to see that you are not “misusing” the different applications that are out there. And, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders, however, don’t be naïve and try to give advice to those of us who have lived much longer than you sweetie. I have two daughters and I trust them. The problem is that girls, like you, think they got everything under control and are so worldly that they could never be a victim. It’s the one’s just like you who are the very ones who end up getting in trouble. Don’t ever think you are safe from anything. How do you know the person(s) who developed those apps aren’t weird to begin with and may be tapping into your phone?
      Rather than think you are so smart and worldly, please be very careful. It’s when you least expect it is when something can happen. And, for the girls who are already mischievous, they may be more street smart than you are, and maybe not as smart. All kids and teenagers are vulnerable and should be very careful what they send out in text, snaps, pics and video.
      ***Once you hit the send button, or open an attachment, there is no going back. Just remember that when you send something. It becomes public property and you lose all control.

      • You are so right I always think it COULD happen to my child I hope and pray that it doesn’t but it could . I have a great relationship with my daughter. she knows that I check her phone and she knows if she says no or gets mad she will lose the privilege of having a phone or any electronics.she has never had a problem with it. I talk to my child about everything sex drugs you name it we talk about it. That’s the problem with a lot of parents today they don’t check on their kids because they don’t want the kid to get mad so what they will get over it. All the kids will understand why we do the stuff we do when they have their own children it comes from LOVE if we didn’t love them then we wouldn’t care

    • mathias dayleeown says:

      Says the 15 year old…

    • I’m just curious. This phone that you’re using. Did you pay for it?

      Meaning, did you get a job, earn money from said job, and spent the money from that job to pay for this phone?

      If you didn’t, you should understand that your parents are well within their rights to do whatever they’d like with that phone.

      Including taking it from you. *gasps*

    • Jeffreyamo says:

      Would you rather us be like the parent of one of your friends who never pays any attention or cares about anything you do? Wrapped up in our own circle of dysfunctional friends, worrying exclusively about our social life, while leaving you to fend for yourself?

    • While I agree with all of the parents about your role being to protect, why be so disgustingly rude to this poor girl? If someone was as CRUEL and SARCASTIC to your child as y’all have been to this young lady, I highly doubt you would simply sit and take it. Every one of those comments needed to be sprinkled with some patience and love. You’re getting too close to becoming the cyber bullies that this article warns against.

      • Bit of a late reply, but I’m with Madeline. So many condescending, patronizing replies here. She’s fifteen. She’s not an adult, but neither is she nine. Let’s give credit where credit is due.
        We shouldn’t be so quick to assume age automatically equals wisdom and good judgment. I know of many legal adults (even people with five, six or more decades’ life experience) who’ve done some spectacularly rash, stupid things.
        There’s also the fact that some of us are responding to her age, completely ignoring her ideas and arguments. “Says the 15 year old…”, for example. A five-word knee-jerk retort aimed to take the easy way out, shooting down the poster rather than going to the trouble of actually thinking about what was said. It doesn’t make us look mature, knowledgeable, or wise. It makes us look insecure.

    • If you honestly have nothing to hide, then who cares if your parents stalk you! They do it because teens are too naive to think something bad could actually happen to them. It’s a parents responsibility to protect and moniter their children. I personally don’t understand the point if all these apps, when simple texting is available. These apps are being abused and it can lead to a lot of heart ache.

      • And if we adults “honestly have nothing to hide,” why do we have the Fourth Amendment protecting from illegal search, seizure, and detainment? Why are so many people up in arms about increased police surveillance, or about the NSA’s flagrant violation of our rights to privacy because we “might” be doing something illegal? The principle is ultimately the same.

    • Ah, yes! The only problem I have with parents right now is, why should you monitor your child so severely if you trust them? You should have trust within the relationship of child and parent. Also, the internet provides ways to escape cyberbullying. Block, deactivate, report. It’s as simple as that! If in all doubt, just don’t look at the screen! Yes, cyberbulling is serious, but a thing a parent should teach their child is to stand up for them self! It may be difficult for some, which in that case since they clearly can’t handle being so public, they shouldn’t have the privileged to have these apps. Parents are so overprotective that you drive your children to be rebels!
      The truth is, us children need to realize a lot of things. Bullying is a waste of time and does absolutely nothing but suck the happiness away from someone. And We need to learn to accept that not all people will like us.
      I really don’t want to come off like I think that a parent shouldn’t monitor at all, but just not so much. Yes, you pay the bill (which I gratefully appreciate, since I’m too young to get a job.) You have the right to look through our privacy. You have the right to protect your children. But we have the right to have trustworthy in the relationships we have with our parents. I mean if you feel like something is fishy, then go ahead and check out our things.
      Just let us have our privacy sometimes.
      ( also, I’m very grateful for my parents. they trust me and rarely monitor my internet life, unless i have misbehaved or my actions are peculiar. But if you don’t believe in raising your children like this, then I totally respect that. I just thought you would like to see my perspective over this. Also, I am a 13 year old.)

    • As a mother of 3 I have to say that I will minister everything they do because guess what? I’m there mother and I love them and there is nothing I will fail to do to protect them. They can get angry, but someday they will thank me.
      I had protective parents, and although at the time I didn’t like it, I am grateful today for who I am because of it. I was never considered a slut or easy…I was never on drugs…I am today what most everyone who knows me says they wish they could be…they wish they hadn’t done things that I can proudly say I never did. Yes, I take great pride in everything I was taught and I know they will too…there is more to life than fitting in or trying to be cool. My children will be raised with morales and respect for what they have or it will be taken away just as quickly. I gave them life, I owe them nothing, and they will respect that they are children who have no idea what this world really is.

    • Sorry sweetie at 15 you dont know you ass from your elbow. you will understand one day when you have your own kids. its our job to keep you safe from all the sick bastards in the world ANY WAY WE CAN.

    • I know that technology is constantly evolving and that new things come out every year and every month. When I was in high school, there were no such things as cell phones or the internet – yet we still were able to bully each other, pressure each other, and break rules and do things our parents didn’t want us to do. It was the cool thing to do. Yeah, my parents were a little overbearing and I wanted them to stay out of my business – but having watched what has developed in recent years and reading about and hearing what teens go through now makes me very wary of what things will be like for my daughter (she’s 3) when she gets to be a teen. As a parent, I want to protect her. I want to make sure she feels safe, that her innocence is not taken at a young age, that she hangs around the right kind of people, that she doesn’t feel the need to have the latest technology, that she feels she can talk to my wife and I about anything. We plan to educate her about things when we feel the time is right — but children who abuse technology today or use it too early are often victims of this technology. Do I plan to monitor – and if necessary, limit or restrict — what my daughter does, who she hangs out with, what technology she has and uses — HELL YES. Because I love her. She will not have a computer in her room, I can tel you that. She will be allowed to use the family computer – and if she has it in her room, her door will have to be open – and that computer will have heavy restrictions on it. Will she be allowed to have a cell phone? That remains to be seen. Possibly only after she starts to drive, and even at that, we will only allow it to be used for phoning or texting a very limited and restricted amount of specific people. Is that overbearing? You can call it that. But I will protect her as much as I can from becoming a victim of peer pressure, technology, and bad choices in friends. Because we are seeing it happen more and more with children these days. I will do this because I love you. For any teensagers or children who think their parents are too nosy, too overbearing, too into their business, too restrictive, too this or too that, know this – you parents are doing that because they love you and they don’t want you to be hurt. Let them love on you and dote on you while they can.

    • I agree with you. The number one reason teens rebel is if they are stripped of all freedom. You raise a lot of good points, and just because you’re 15 doesn’t mean you should be discredited. What you have to understand, however, is that there are a lot of fears that come with the ever expanding technological hunting ground. Parents are utterly freaked that they might not know who their kids are talking to or that they can’t easily figure out how they’re interacting via smart phone. Honestly, I think that if you don’t trust you child to be responsible with these apps then they shouldn’t have a smartphone. Parents want a way to be proactive and to protect their children, but I agree that spying or going through their phones is the absolute WRONG way to do it.

    • beachliving says:

      @Lovely_blonde_belle This can’t be written by a teenager. Too articulate and reasoned. It must be a pedophile disguised as a teenager to get parents to put their guards down. I will continue to monitor and stalk my 4 kids because as smart as they are, a smart adult will always outsmart them. I don’t want to take on that risk.

    • Been a parent for 24 years, and have 4 children. 2 have finished college, 1 in college, and 1 is 16. I was a rebellious teen myself, but by the grace of God got straightened out before I killed myself or anyone else. The young lady writing that this article is simply fear mongering and that parents shouldn’t be spying on their children needs a serious bit of reality and growing up. The sad thing is that I hear her spouting off what so many of the radicalized left-wing teachers unions are pushing on kids today. She didn’t just percolate those ideas on her own. It’s being pushed on children from almost every possible angle. Even Churches are becoming sounding boards for the kind of destructive thinking and teaching that is responsible for the dramatic decline of America today. The saddest part of it all, though, is that no matter what a sensible elder might tell these kids – they’re too far gone to listen. Keep telling them though!!! Even though they argue, vehemently, the truth sticks and will eventually come back to her mind when the destruction she’s self-inflicted comes to pass.

      One final thought – if you are tempted to use tools to spy on your child…then maybe it’s time to seriously consider how much they need that smart phone or tablet at all.

    • TheBlackSword says:

      As a teenager who has kind of grown up in the middle of this battle between parents who want to monitor their kids and teens who want their privacy, I have a few things to say. The first is that if you are a parent who monitors their children electronically and you think it actually works, you are in for a bit of a rude awakening. Though I myself am not monitored by my Dad (only parent), all of my friends are. Unsurprisingly, however, they have all developed ways past these systems that have been set up. And even if someone doesn’t know how to get past these systems, they talk to someone like me who has some decent know-how in the area (I have hacked several of the computers at my school.)
      My point is that there is really no reliable way to monitor your teenager. We aren’t stupid; we value our freedom and will quite frankly do anything to keep it. I know parents don’t want to make this a kid vs them thing, but on this issue, it unfortunately has kind of become that. (On a side note, part of the reason for this, especially for girls, is because of the fact that teens have a myriad of conversations they have over the internet with their close friends that are very personal and heartfelt, and they wouldn’t want their parents seeing those things.)
      So with no reliable way to monitor your teen, the logical next step for some people is to take the device away. But in my opinion, this could be one of the worst mistakes you could make in this situation (if you want to have a healthy relationship with your kid.) This communicates to the child that despite the fact that they haven’t been caught doing anything wrong, they are being punished because they have the ability to do something wrong. Which in turn tells the kid that you have zero trust for them. As all healthy relationships are built on mutual trust, this is a bit of a problem.
      What I believe to be the healthy answer in this situation of parents attempting to protect their teenagers is discussion. Explain to them the dangers. Tell them how to avoid them, explain that if they don’t, there could be very serious consequences. I know that for the ‘how to avoid them’ part, some parents are going to have to do some research, most people don’t know that the internet gives you all the tools to prevent any cyber bullying attempt. (Unless you release an image of yourself online. Then you are kind of screwed.) Then, do what I believe to be the most critical piece: throw it back at the child. Tell them that since they are old enough to make decisions for themselves, you are going to trust that they will do what you just told them. This leaves them with a sense of pride (Dad thinks I can think for myself now!) and the desire to actually do what you told them. This is because you bothered to attempt to build a positive relationship with them (what a twist!). I know that some people might feel insulted by the last comment, but I have seen so many parents treat their kids like shit and then somehow expect them to listen to their parents.
      I know that 99% of the people here are way older and wiser than I am, and are trying to raise their kids to the best of their ability (for which I sincerely applaud you, you guys are heroes compared to my generation.) But I feel like there is a knowledge gap here that can only be fully explained by someone of my age who has grown up in the age of this technology. Because, honestly, me and my generation are the ones being cyberbullied, seeing the worst porn sites, and getting abused electronically. So I think we probably know the most about it…

    • Better an angry teen child than a dead or hurt for life teen child. Loving your child isn’t defined by being pals with them. You’ll get it someday. With love, from a caring PawPaw, Dad and son of good parents.

    • TheBlackSword says:

      As a teenager who has kind of grown up in the middle of this battle between parents who want to monitor their kids and teens who want their privacy, I have a few things to say. The first is that if you are a parent who monitors their children electronically and you think it actually works, you are in for a bit of a rude awakening. Though I myself am not monitored by my Dad (only parent), all of my friends are. Unsurprisingly, however, they have all developed ways past these systems that have been set up. And even if someone doesn’t know how to get past these systems, they talk to someone like me who has some decent know-how in the area (I have hacked several of the computers at my school.)
      My point is that there is really no reliable way to monitor your teenager. We aren’t stupid; we value our freedom and will quite frankly do anything to keep it. I know parents don’t want to make this a kid vs them thing, but on this issue, it unfortunately has kind of become that. (On a side note, part of the reason for this, especially for girls, is because of the fact that teens have a myriad of conversations they have over the internet with their close friends that are very personal and heartfelt, and they wouldn’t want their parents seeing those things.)
      So with no reliable way to monitor your teen, the logical next step for some people is to take the device away. But in my opinion, this could be one of the worst mistakes you could make in this situation (if you want to have a healthy relationship with your kid.) This communicates to the child that despite the fact that they haven’t been caught doing anything wrong, they are being punished because they have the ability to do something wrong. Which in turn tells the kid that you have zero trust for them. As all healthy relationships are built on mutual trust, this is a bit of a problem.
      What I believe to be the healthy answer in this situation of parents attempting to protect their teenagers is discussion. Explain to them the dangers. Tell them how to avoid them, explain that if they don’t, there could be very serious consequences. I know that for the ‘how to avoid them’ part, some parents are going to have to do some research, most people don’t know that the internet gives you all the tools to prevent any cyberbullying attempt. (Unless you release an image of yourself online. Then you are kind of screwed.) Then, do what I believe to be the most critical piece: throw it back at the child. Tell them that since they are old enough to make decisions for themselves, you are going to trust that they will do what you just told them. This leaves them with a sense of pride (Dad thinks I can think for myself now!) and the desire to actually do what you told them. This is because you bothered to attempt to build a positive relationship with them (what a twist!). I know that some people might feel insulted by the last comment, but I have seen so many parents treat their kids bad and then somehow expect them to listen to their parents.
      I know that 99% of the people here are way older and wiser than I am, and are trying to raise their kids to the best of their ability (for which I sincerely applaud you, you guys are heroes compared to my generation.) But I feel like there is a knowledge gap here that can only be fully explained by someone of my age who has grown up in the age of this technology. Because, honestly, me and my generation are the ones being cyberbullied, seeing the worst porn sites, and getting abused electronically. So I think we probably know the most about it…

    • The word was *MONITOR*. NOT spy; not stalk. Nowhere does the article tell parents that they should freak out about how terrible, evil, or awful they (the apps, I assume you meant?) are.

      Certainly the apps can be used responsibly and without getting into trouble. But the fact that bad things, serious things like cyberbullying, identity theft, and rape by pedophiles can AND DOES happen, means that certain safety precautions need to be taken; just as there are traffic laws in place to protect the safety of everyone driving on the road.

    • At 15 your still a child for sure. Although, by your name, you suggest otherwise, the very thing parents find concerning…..lovely blonde belle.

    • Mother of Two says:

      As a mother of two, I appreciate you sharing your perspective and actually agree with what you have to say. I’m also disappointed at the other “adults” here who are expressing their disagreement in such a disrespectful manner. I can’t possibly imagine my mother having eavesdropped on my phone calls as a teenager, or raffled through my book bag to read the notes my friends and I wrote to one another. This is no different. Yes, the internet creates new and increasingly frightening dangers but communication and education are the key to empowering our children to live in this global world – making our homes a police state is not. Frankly, the suggestion that hyper-vigilante monitoring is the key seems to me to be very naive. Teenagers may be younger and less knowledgeable about the world, but they are very adept at learning how to hide things from their parents if they are motivated to do so. You will never be able to be 100% aware of the choices that your child is making at all times. Teaching them to respect themselves and others and educating them to society’s risks are the key to helping them navigate choices when we are not standing next to them, and will empower them to make better choices in their adult lives as well. One of those respect lessons starts by respecting the privacy and boundaries of others, a lesson best taught by modeling it.

    • I’m 38 years old and a mother of two. My kids aren’t teenagers yet, but when they are I sincerely hope they will be as bright and articulate as you are. It would make me proud. I think you are right–treating people disrepectfully will cause damage to any relationship, regardless of age. And yelling and telling someone they are no good is incredibly disrespecful. I’m sure your dad has the best of intentions and loves you very much, but based on your description it does sound like he’s causing damage to his relationship with you and I’m very sorry to hear that. And I agree with you that it won’t work. I think what you are calling for here is resonable. You aren’t saying no rules and no communication for crying out loud. It is disappointing to me to see soooooooo many people chime and and condenscendingly tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about.

      To the parents on here–listen to this girl! She is saying guide with love and while building a strong relationship in which open honest commuincation is possible. She’s right! I think different kids require differeing levels of supervision and noseyness from parents, but ALWAYS it can be handled respectfully.

  33. My daughter is constantly taking screenshots of her random snap chat pics from friends. She also receives some she took of herself back from friends at a later date showing her making silly faces, etc. from a previous conversation… Deleted after 10 sec or whatever the time limit is means absolutely nothing. I also would like to know how to monitor them as well. They can delete the messages or pics they don’t want parents to see off their phone making it difficult for us to know what exactly is going on.

  34. Um….. yeah…… “If your teen refuses to give you his or her passwords……”

    If your teen refuses to give you his/her passwords, maybe your teens does not NEED a smartphone.

    Seriously, people: Don’t you CARE about your children? If so, why are you NOT protecting them?

    Children really do not have rights. They are minors. Just because they are teenagers does NOT mean they have the right to privacy or the right to do whatever they want on the internet. It is up to PARENTS to PARENT their children.

    Grow up and be the ADULTS in the relationship. Your kids will survive without smartphones that use these stupid apps. And they will survive their adolescence much better if they have parents who monitor their online activities and pull the plug when they do not behave in an appropriate manner.

  35. I’m 20 years old my self and i can say that this article is very accurate. But i can say growing up my parents sheltered me to much causing me to find ways to do things behind their back.if i was at a friends house, families etc. Theres ways around everything that you put rules on. So the best option is monitor things,but allow them space to earn and keep your trust. As well as talk to your children. Dont hound them about things but answer there questions about sex. Thats what most of the article is aimed at. So when is it that adults will allow thier children knowledge about sex . What is sex ,what is forplay.the facts and everything. Of course they will ignore you. Thats part of being a teen. They are gonna try it you cant stop that no matter how hard you try. You simply have to give them enough knowledge to help prepare for certain decision that they make . So parents talk to your children give them knowledge and freedom but monitor them from the things they have no clue about.

    Just a life lesson i learned and im going to put to use when my one year old starts using technology: )

  36. I agree with those who have posted about carefully monitoring a child’s access to social media and internet. As for those who think we should let them be teenagers, that attitude and way of thinking is the reason teens are getting into things they have no business being a part of. Until a child can pay his/her own rent, groceries, cell phone, internet bills, etc. they are STILL children. It doesn’t matter if they are 25! Respect and responsibility is where it starts.

  37. Ok people, having a phone is not a right. If they don’t give you passwords or you can’t monitor, they loose the ap or their phone. You are in control if you pay the bill. The ending if this article was irritating. Be smart, just forbid these aps!

  38. Thomas Paign says:

    There’s actually a positive flipside to these apps, which is the rebellion against the surveillance state. Paternalism begins at home, and extends forward into government. Thus, the rebellion against paternalism begins at home, and moves forthward as well.

  39. Snapcapture is an app that can be downloaded and it captures the picture without the sender being notified. My kids didn’t believe me until they sent me one and I showed them that sometimes mom is up with what’s going on!

  40. Snapchat has loopholes. If you take a screenshot of the picture while it appears on your screen, then you’ll have it forever! Bad news!! A 14 year old girl was sending nudes to her 21 year old boyfriend. He screenshottted them and shared them all over the internet! He got busted for distributing child pornography, but the pics were already out there, never to be gone for good.

  41. For over a year now I have filtered the internet for my kids at my house.

    I did this by setting up a router for them labeled “Family” with no password
    I have a separate router for adults that is password protected and the password is only given to adults in the house.

    Steps to get started with opendns
    1. Sign up at opendns.com by going here http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/ and selecting opendns home.
    2. I set the dns on that router to opendns.com public dns servers, which are listed at the bottom of the opendns.com page.
    3. I installed the opendns updater http://www.opendns.com/support/dynamic_ip_downloads/ on my personal desktop computer that’s always on. This will update the opendns servers with your ip address.
    4. I setup the filtering on opendns.com

    With it setup this way, any friend of my kids or young family that go to our house can get on the internet easily, but it will be filtered.

    I don’t believe its good for a young mind to be exposed necessarily to content they shouldn’t see in the safety of their home. I believe allowing unfiltered internet in the house for children is in the same neighborhood as placing a tv in their room with open access to tv channels that have porn. In my opinion a good parent wouldn’t do that as well.

    My Kids have android tablets, I have also installed the app K9 Web Protection Browser on their tablets as well, this will usually block anything that opendns.com doesn’t catch and it also gives them a somewhat filtered internet when they aren’t at home. This app cannot be uninstalled without a password, so its hard to go around.

  42. Sherry Westbrook says:

    I love you article and thanks for the great advice on these apps HOWEVER, if the child refuses to give up user names and passwords so that you can monitor then TAKE THE PHONE. After all who pays the bills for this CHILD? Parents have the control and if they don’t then they should retake control.

  43. Amy- you are an awesome parent! My children don’t have phones but they have a kindle each and I monitor those like you said you monitor your children. I do realize they are kids and they need to be allowed to “live”, I remember being a kid… We didn’t have cell phones and apps an all and we grew up just fine. My oldest has been asking for a phone for two years now and I just don’t see the point of an eleven year old having a phone when he is with me all of the time except school where he isn’t allowed to have this stuff anyway! Call me mean or a bad parent or whatever you wish, but I will be a PARENT to my children!!! Btw you little kids that are voicing you opinions about this and don’t have children to worry about… Please for heavens sake go back to playtime and leave the grown up business to the grow ups!!! It’s so irritating when people try to tell you what you should do when they have no clue themselves, until you have a child you will NEVWR understand these concerns! Thanks for the article it was good info!!

  44. Leigh Smallfield says:

    My son is 10 years old. We decided to purchase an iPod touch for him. These devices have restrictions on them and was the only way we’d allow the use. I’ve restricted access to internet, ability to download apps and music so that any time he wants to download, my husband and I can review the app or music first and have the final say in what he’s accessing. I don’t mind allowing him some technology but feel too much in curious hands is asking for trouble. This is a great article and we’ll need to keep an eye out for these apps. Although I’m sure more will surface just like them.

  45. As an 18 year old and a freshman in college I can say every bit of this article is 100% accurate. Which I find so rare in the articles I see written for parents by parents. I know 12 year olds who considered me cool enough to confide in and laugh off a nude they sent their 13 year old boyfriend through snapchat. And 14 year old girls terrorized by anonymous message after anonymous message on ask.fm. I don’t have a single one of these accounts and that should tell you something. Keep an eye on your kids on these apps. They can be SO destructive.

  46. you are guys are all messed up. let your teens be a damn teenager. we were all there once.

    • Sherry Westbrook says:

      Obviously you don’t have teenage children :/ And yes, we were there once but not with the technology and over abundance of sicko’s in this world. If is a parents job to protect their children from things they do not have the maturity to handle.

    • We were their age once. We didn’t grow up with the same technology. There are two big differences.

      (1) They’re creating content and spreading it without considering the consequences. They’re sexting images of themselves which is legally child pornography, and it’s extremely common and extremely easy to go viral. Talk to any teenager at a public school today and they can tell you countless stories of getting nude pictures of classmates texted to them at random.

      (2) Technology gives teenagers incredible access to each other. You used to be able to escape bullying by going home. Through cell phones and social media there is no escape.

      It’s not the same world.

  47. Parents CAN monitor their children, but most are too lazy to do what is necessary. Technology is ways going to be here and only grow in its availability. It is a parents responsibility to know and learn all about the devices they allow their children. I have 4 children, 3 with iPhones. I also have an iPhone and every social app that my children want. I already knew about these apps before this article because I do my research. My kids do not have any of these apps. 2 of my children have their internet and App Store locked (by me) on their phones. My 3rd is 19 years old and in college, and by the way, is a great kid who makes very good choices I believe due to our constant vigilance in raising him. If you lock their App Store then they can’t load an app without permission. That permission is not given unless I know as much as there is to know about the app. And with social media, If they r on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram then I am too! I’m their biggest and closest follower. I also have their passwords and log into their accounts every few days to view exactly what they r viewing. Also, never ever let your kids keep their phones in their rooms! Phones r ugged in and put in the kitchen at bedtime! No temptation for late night texting with a crush that can quickly turn into inappropriate behavior. Also parents, watch out for internet apps. You can load search engines on your phone that don’t hold a history. So if u r checking Safari’s history but they have another internet app, you are being naive. It takes a lot of work, but it is possible to monitor your kids. I just don’t allow them anything that I am not ready to take in the responsibility for. Another tidbit, with x-boxes and play stations that have online access, you can download movies u may not want them seeing. They can do it with points and you would never know! These all have parental controls. Learn how to use your kids devices or don’t buy them.

    • If I were your child, I would feel like my privacy is being invaded, and I could easily get around those security features.

      • My 4 will tell you, until they grow up and provide for themselves, they do not have privacy. THAT is part of being a parent. Time by themselves, of course, we all need “downtime”…BUT, passwords and everything in their possession is subject to inspection with or without notice and without apology.

      • Oh, Mike, are you a teen troll on here, just wanting to get everyone’s goat? Bless your heart 🙂
        Keeping an eye on everything my children do and with whom they are doing it VS bullying, rape, suicide…hmmm, the choice is crystal clear. As long as my children are under my roof and not of legal “adult” (whatever THAT means) age, they WILL be under our rules, our care, our protection, our LOVE. If they find ways around things – as Mike enjoys boasting about – they have a computer engineer/roboticist dad who will quickly find them out and and mom (and dad) directly involved in their lives. We’ll be asking questions, looking for things that don’t sit right with us. We keep one computer in the house, in the living room where everyone can see and hear what’s going on. Way too young for tablets and phones. I agree with other posters about no phones in their rooms. Thanks for the idea about gathering phones up at bedtime!
        It’s not a democracy in our house, and that’s NOT because we’re tyrannical. It’s because there is too much crap and too many creeps in our world wanting to steal away all our children’s innocence. It’s not happening on MY watch, if I can help it.

    • Sherry Westbrook says:

      Not invading privacy just being a FANTASTIC PARENT!!! It is like anything in life, if they want to do it/use it/be a part of it they have to follow the rules and her rules are that she monitor them. They could just as easily say they don’t want the iPhone if they feel she is “invading their privacy”. As for getting around the security features Mike, maybe so but if you are a dilligent, tech knowlegable parent you can be one step ahead of them 🙂

  48. I have a really good idea. how about parents step up and raise their kids instead of letting technology raise them. parents need to teach their kids at a very young age, even before they are old enough to use current technology, the dangers involved in using social media sites. these kids need to know how anything put on a social media site, such as pictures and videos can be seen by just about anyone and can be used against them at any time. Social media isnt a bad thing, its just so many people have used it for bad purposes and kids need to know the consequences of using these sites inappropriately.

  49. If parents didn’t buckle down to the kids’ wants (and also the parents need to be like the Jones’), they would not be providing them with three to five hundred dollar phones to allow them to download these crap app! Parents, wake TF UP! Quit being your kids friend and be the parent.

  50. The best defense you can have is good parenting,good communication and a good relationship with your children.

    • This.

      My kids will get the open internet, and an ongoing conversation about the stuff that they see on it. Effective censorship of the internet is not possible. Any filters that you put in place will make you feel better, but won’t stop your kids from doing what they want.

      • My teens have open internet access, Their PC’s are connected to 2 40″ tv/monitors in the living room…..where anyone might wander thru at any time and within sight of each other…… Wifi is everywhere yet fails in their bedrooms, due to a multi router setup where they only have passwords for the livingroom router and the higher-powered one near their rooms is set to the same wifi channel to swamp access along with distance/walls cutting the livingroom routers signal.

  51. I would also like to know how to pull up the send and received pictures on Snap Chat. Article is great but it does no good if there is no information on how to do this

  52. Becky Francis says:

    Great, eye-opening article, except it doesn’t provide information on means to monitor these apps. I’m especially interested in monitoring snap chat. If the message self destructs after such a short amount of time, is there an app that allows you to monitor the messages/pics that it’s sending?

    • When a computer deletes a file it simply marks the space on the drive as empty. So eventually another file will be put there. The key word is eventually, if the drive is big, and the file small, then the “deleted” file will remain on the drive for years in a recoverable state.

      To destroy a file you must overwrite it with random data, this is actually very easy, and it is irresponsible of the snapchat developers to not do this.


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