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How can you monitor what your teen is doing on the phone?


Although teens prefer to use their cell phones freely, parents have the obligation to make sure they are using them safely and responsibly. Parents have the right to know with whom their children are communicating, how much they are using the phone and if they are using the phone unsafely, such as sending text messages while driving or uploading indecent pictures of themselves. In the same way you may consider it important to monitor your teen's Internet activity on your home computer, it's prudent to monitor your teen's phone activity as well.

Monitoring your teen's phone usage isn't an invasion of his privacy or a sign of distrust; parents are entitled to exert their authority in order to protect their children. Since many cell phones come equipped with the latest technology, such as Internet access and built-in cameras, your child could conduct social networking or access any inappropriate site via his phone. Therefore, it's wise for parents to invest in a phone monitoring system, such as My Mobile Watchdog, which alerts parents to unauthorized activities on their teen's cell phone, such as sending indecent photos or receiving suggestive text messages. The software is installed on your child's phone and a list of his phone activities are sent directly to your email account. If teens know in advance that their parents are monitoring their phone messages, they are likely to be more careful when they text.

Good communication and trust between you and your teen is essential. Discuss appropriate cell phone use with your teen in advance. Decide what reasonable use is and how much you are willing to pay for monthly bills. Warn your teen not to communicate with strangers, and most importantly, discuss the dangers of driving while texting. State the rules clearly and enforce them if and when they are broken. Finally, remind your teen that constant instant communication with others can be hazardous to his mental health and concentration; it's important for him to learn to disconnect as well.