Do You Monitor Your Kids Texts? (Safety, Etc)

Updated on June 01, 2015
R.P. asks from Studio City, CA
20 answers

Do you monitor your kids texts?
If you do, how? And do they know or not know?

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answers from Philadelphia on

My girls know that until they are paying for their phones my husband and I can look at them any time we want. Having said that, my girls have never given me reason to actually read any of their text.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I did not. Nor did I monitor her internet usage or install filters on the search engine.
I taught her how to use a phone and internet safely and then trusted her to do so.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

ETA: Check the latest thing that's on college campus but accessible to others .... Yik Yak . Not good!!!

I pay for the phone... I have the option to check all data.

I've never done that with my now 20yr old but she knows that's an option I have until she breaks away and pays her own phone bill.

I've never had a reason to check but everyone knows I can and will if needed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Of course. It's MY phone because *I* pay for it. They know this. Until they are out of the house and paying for their own, I can do with *my* phone as I wish.

My daughter had an iPhone back in the day and after she ran an update, it cancelled out all the parent restrictions and she got into some things she shouldn't have. We found out of course and she lost it for 8 months. She knows from experience that if it happens again, she will lose it for a year and knows I'm not playing. She is 15. My son knows we did this too. He's 12. So he is pretty good on his and doesn't want it taken away. Although he did lose his iPhone and we didn't replace it for about 6 months.

After the iPhone issue I don't trust just having parental settings on them so we added something called "Covenant Eyes". You can set the guidelines and even times and it will send you an email every time they go on something they shouldn't (it also blocks mature content) and it will send a report every few days, weekly, daily or what you set it to. We have it on all of our phones, tablets and laptops. My husband and I even have it on ours.

I don't check their phones texts as often as I should probably. But about every 2 weeks I 'imply' that I checked it and remind them that they better not be taking pics/videos or saying anything they wouldn't in front of me. I think that constant reminder prompts them to be good. But I do check it probably every 3 weeks or so.

As far as 'when' I check it, they don't have their phones upstairs, ever, at all. So they charge them downstairs and because we go to bed later, we just gather them all up (phones and tablets) and take them in our room with us and keep them there until morning. That is usually when we check them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes. Only my two oldest (17) have phones and social media accounts, which they have had since 13. We are totally open about the fact that we monitor their accounts. When they were younger, ages 13 - 15, we were very diligent and had their log in and PW info for FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. and checked those accounts every few days and their phones almost daily. However, that's exhausting and rarely did we find anything alarming. Usually if we found something, it was that a friend said or sent something inappropriate that our child didn't call them out on.

So because it was a pain and we weren't finding anything scandalous that indicated irresponsible use, we scaled back to just spot checks, which become more frequent if they're dating someone so that we make sure that no inappropriate texts or pictures are being shared. At this point, my SD will be 18 in November and my son will follow suit next March, so we're loosening the reins slowly over time and really just do surprise checks just to keep them on their toes and remind them to never share anything electronically that you don't want the whole world to see.

While some people think that teens have a right to privacy, there is NOTHING PRIVATE about electronic communication. That racy or embarrassing text to a confidant can be captured and shared, as can photos and videos. To me, this isn't the same as eavesdropping on conversations or reading diaries or anything like that. My kids can say what they want to people in person, where there is no record of something incredibly stupid coming from them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We look at his phone any time we want to and he knows it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Of course I monitor texts and things like that and yes she knows full well. It is not because I distrust my daughter but rather because I know that children can be cruel. By monitoring texts we've been able to keep some possibly serious negative things from happening, as again children are cruel sometimes and not all too bright.

My daughter does not mind the monitoring because we have the type of familial relationships where nothing is taboo and everything is fair game.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Our 11 year old is the only one with a phone currently. We have a phone for the 10 year old, but haven't activated it just yet, soon we will.

Our kids know we can look at their iPads when we want and I do follow my daughter on instagram, the only social media she is allowed. Sorry, but things have age limits for a reason and I can't stand when I see 10 and 11 year olds or younger asking to be my friend on FB.

But if we want to check their stuff, we can. They know that and they respect that. Maybe when they are 16 they will try to push the limits, but for now we are good. And I would NEVER do it secretly. That's horrible in my opinion. Be honest with your kids and tell them you are looking. If you find they are hiding or deleting things, then the device(s) go away.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

As long as I am paying the bill and responsible for them? I will check their phones.

All 4 of my kids have cell phones. They have after school activities and sports.

They know Tyler and I check their phones. They don't have a problem with it. If they did, my mommy radar would be pinging and I would ensure I checked everything.

How do I check them? They hand them to me or Tyler (their dad) on the way to bed. Sometimes we check, sometimes we don't. We keep them in a basket so everyone knows where their phones are.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My kids don't have cell phones, but I don't monitor their phone conversations, instant messaging or their face time. I suppose if they gave me a reason to distrust them I might, but they haven't so I don't.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

diaries are private.
phones are not.
i parented before this was an issue, but if i still had underage kids in the house today, i'd be very open that random checks would happen.
i can't think of any good reason to be sneaky about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My DH did for the sks. They knew that he would spot check their phones or their online accounts (sometimes just when they left their phones on the counter or when they left FB up on a shared computer). They always knew that they were monitored online. When SD was deleting texts, he called her on it. They always knew we would look at their phones, they just wouldn't know when.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, absolutely. My older daughter is 12 (she will be 13 in the fall) and has an iPhone5. The rule is that my thumbprint has to be one of the ones that will unlock the phone, and she knows that at any time, her father and I may choose to pick up the phone and check her texts, call logs, and/or e-mails. She does not have the password to purchase things or download free apps from the app store (her father and I have that), so we review any apps before they go onto the phone. The understanding is that we do this for her own safety, and that even though things may SEEM harmless, that doesn't mean that they are. She understands this, and is willing to accept those limitations in order to have the phone. As she gets older, we will loosen the reins a little bit, as she continues to show us that she has common sense and restraint. ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

No, husb doesn't monitor his daughter's texts which I think is a mistake.
She has no boundaries set for her.
I think it's probably a good idea in this day and age.
I think paying for their cell phone bill you can set up the monitoring and I
don't think you have to make it a secret.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes and yes.

I'm not going to lie to my kid.
We pay for the phone.
His phone is primarily for OUR benefit.
We pay the bill.
We are allowed to pick up his phone and look at anything at any time. He knows this.
It's also set with restrictions for music, videos, websites etc.
AND we use a free monitoring app as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

The only thing I would point out is my daughter's boyfriend's parents read ALL of his texts (he has an Iphone). He is 18 and my daughter just turned 18. They have been dating since 7th grade (well, in 7th grade, they just sat next to each other at lunch since that is all I would allow, but you know what I mean). Since the boy's mom was reading all of her son's texts, that meant that she was reading everything my daughter wrote as well. I'm sorry - my daughter has an expectation of privacy even if her son does not. The son did not know his texts were being read until I heard talk around town about a private family matter that my daughter swore she never told anyone other than her and her boyfriend talked about it in a text. That's is when I told both the boy and my daughter that his parents had to be reading every text they were writing AND using it as fodder for town gossip. I actually helped them set up a system so that they could text each other privately.

I think that some checking is a good thing. I do not read any texts, but I do have the passwords for all phones and Ipads in the house and can look (and do) at any time. I only go on to see what sites are being looked at and also when (we have "no internet" hours in our home - I do make sure those are not being violated).

While I think it is ok to have a "transparent" rule or little expectation of privacy for your own kids, keep in mind that the person on the other side of the texts did not agree to that - and neither did their parents.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

When the time comes, I will make it transparent for both of us and will suggest that she share that information with her friends who text her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

No, I never read texts and PMs, those to me are like a phone conversation, and I never listened in on my kids' phone calls. But my kids were also more like 13 when they got texting and FB. I'm their friend on FB, I see their page, the younger one (who is still a minor) has to get the social media sites he belongs to approved by me. Honestly, I didn't have kids who were obsessed with texting and doing it constantly with a million people. I did occasionally check phones to see what phone numbers/who they were talking with, and checked computer histories. I would be very clear with kids what you are and are not looking at. If you don't want them sneaking, you should not either. Plus, they should know whether it's safe to vent to friends "My mom is such a *****".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes, they use my phone to contact and chat with friends. I can see what they're sharing and what their saying at any time. They also don't know their facebook passwords so they can't log on without me getting them in. All their friends are on FB too and I'm friends with most of them and their parents.

Now, can they make a new email address and make another account on FB? Absolutely so right now I have more control than I will later. So I have to teach them what is a good choice and what is a bad choice. So they might make better choices later on.


answers from New York on

When they are first getting them & are young, it is a good idea to set up safe boundaries & what I did was tell them when they first got it that as a rule they should always assume everything they write or send is seen by someone else and inform them that they really don't know who might else see what they've sent. I also included Mom & Dads & informed them that if we felt we were given a reason to check, we would. Without a doubt!

As they get older tho, the checking & spying has to stop, they are entitled to privacy too!

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