Monitoring children’s cell phones as parents

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parenting in the digital age is a balancing act. More moms and dads are struggling to find a way to keep up with their kids at not feel like they’re spying on them.

Teen Safe is a service that allows parents to see what their kids are texting, googling and doing on apps, co-founder Scott Walker says, it’s to help parents help their kids make smart decisions.

“Kids are sexting, kids are cyber bullying, and there are real world consequences for this digital world these kids are in,” said Walker.

When a parent signs up for Teen Safe, he or she can see not only sent but deleted text messages, view calls, see their kids location and look at their apps like Instagram and Facebook. Parents can also see what kids are talking about on apps like Kik messenger. The service starts at $15 dollars a month and Walker says more than a million parents use the service.

“You wouldn’t let your 12 or 13 year old go to an R rated movie but you would hand them an i-phone or android phone with no parental controls on it? That’s crazy, you shouldn’t do that,” said Walker.

Walker wants parents to tell their kids about Teen Safe. He says it shouldn’t feel like they’re spying on their kids.

“We really like to tell parents hey, its always best to share the information with your kid let them know hey were in this together,” said Walker.

Parents at Delaware park in Buffalo had mixed feeling about Teen Safe.

One mom told us, “I do think it’s spying. For my personal relationship with my children I don’t think I need to have that and I think it kind of sends them a message I don’t trust them.”

But one dad said, “I don’t think it goes too far, under the age of 18 they are my responsibility.”

Another dad said it has nothing to do with trusting his child but it’s that he doesn’t trust other kids.

“It’s not that I don’t trust my child its that I don’t know how other children are brought up so I don’t know what she is receiving from others so I can’t control that aspect of it, so having something to monitor it I could see what is or isn’t appropriate and I could talk to her about whats appropriate and what isn’t.”

Walker says when a child turns 18 the service automatically shuts off and the company blacklists the number and no one can monitor it. Teen’s safety Walker says is a top priority. Teen Safe should be used as a way to track adults but Walker says it’s a tool adults should use to raise their kids.

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