How can you monitor the amount of texting your teen does?

By: Contributors

According to a Nielson study, teenagers send out and receive around 80 text messages a day, but anecdotal evidence points to numbers as high as 350 texts daily. Either way, these numbers result in thousands of texts sent and received every month, many at the expense of paying attention during class or getting enough sleep. In addition, the repetitive motion of texting often causes long-term stress and damage to teens' thumbs, and the constant being on-call may delay teenagers' ability to separate from their parents. Although some people feel that if you don't trust your teenagers, you shouldn't buy them a cell phone to begin with, other parents feel that since so many of their teen's friends have cell phones, they're forced to buy one for their teen as well.

You could monitor how much your teenager texts by examining the cell phone bill that you get every month (unless you have an unlimited texting plan); but if you're more interested in exactly what kind of texting your teen is doing, you may have to dig deeper. Many companies, such as My Mobile Watchdog, SpyBubble, and Flexispy, sell software that not only monitors who is calling or texting your teen, but also allows you to see messages sent or received, even if they've been deleted. You get a log of all the calls, texts, and images sent from or received by the cell phone, which are then forwarded to your computer, and some software even allow you to monitor the location of the user.


Of course, some of these programs may be teetering on the brink of spying, and while some are detectable, others are not. If your teenager finds out that you've been monitoring his or her calls, you may have an extremely messy crisis of trust on your hands.