Track, but Don't Spy
The idea of activating a Global Positioning System tracker in your teen's cell phone may have you giddy with excitement. No more worries about where exactly your teen is spending his time when he's not under your roof.
Unfortunately, this "electronic umbilical cord" is all too easy to sever. Teenagers are quite adept at manipulating technology, especially when it allows them to assert more independence [source: Direnfeld]. Although it's certainly not a foolproof plan, your teen could simply leave his phone at a friend's house while enjoying a night out on the town.
The truth is that technology cannot compensate for good judgment. This is all the more reason to build a foundation of mutual trust with your teenager, while at the same time encouraging transparency. As a parent, you should know your child's passwords, for his phone and for any associated e-mail accounts or social media sites such as Facebook. Assure your teen that you're not going to play Sherlock Holmes; these are simply non-negotiable safety measures.
In addition, remind your teen not to share his passwords, even with a best friend [source: Silver-Stock]. Talk about the bad situations that can arise from sharing passwords. Because teenagers live in the moment, it can be useful to point out the potential ramifications of seemingly innocent events. It also helps your teenager build self-confidence, a feat we explore in detail on the next page.