Monitoring Your Children’s Cell Phone – Would You?

One of the biggest areas of growth in the spy software market has been in monitoring kids cell phones. It is interesting how things have moved quickly from spying on spouses towards the more ethical and legal uses of monitoring software.

I have long believed that the legal uses for cell phone spy software are by far the best and most useful. Monitoring your own children’s phone is a great example.

It presents a difficult situation for many parents however. Where is the line between “spying” on your children and respecting their rights to privacy? It can provoke strong opinions. When does monitoring become spying and what about your obligation to protect your kids?

We Live in Different Times

Monitoring children with spy software is a modern option – only available because of modern ways of living and communicating. It wasn’t an option when I was growing up – but I didn’t have the internet and mobile phones to add another monitoring your children possible threat to my safety.

I don’t think anyone can ignore the possible dangers our children are exposed to via modern communication. If you have the means to further protect your children, should you use it?

Spy or Monitoring software can also be great for giving you parental controls for cell phones – using technology to keep your kids safe.

Running this website I get emails and comments from worried parents quite regularly and they throw up many of these split feelings. I want to share with you a short story sent in by a worried parent.

It was sent as a comment along with a few questions about the software. I asked the sender to allow me to print his story as I thought he put things quite well and it highlights some of the problems real people are facing.

Here it is

“Thank you for all the information provided on your site – the in-depth reviews and comparisons from someone who’s actually used many of these programs is invaluable.

I recently confiscated my son’s iPhone and found evidence of him participating in activities that we not only disapprove of but that I have explicitly told him I didn’t want him involved in.  The whole situation has been incredibly disappointing, very stressful and very eye-opening for my wife and I and, I imagine, for our son as well.   I know, welcome to parenthood, right?

It’s not like we were oblivious and it’s not like we didn’t suspect or talk about our expectations and warn and threaten but we never really had a lot of proof until recently and it has just been a real crossroads for all of us.  We simply cannot stand idly by and allow him to continue to make the kinds of poor decisions he has been making and that’s part of what brought me here.

I think everyone can admit to having made some dumb decisions and doing some dumb things when we were younger, (probably even when we were older too,) but having someone who cares enough about you and your life to help you avoid those and/or make smarter decisions going forward can make a huge difference in a person’s future and that’s all I really want to do for my son.

The fact is that cell phones have become a critical communication tool and his not having one poses additional challenges for us a family.   At the same time, I’m reluctant to return it to him because it is that same communication tool he’d been leveraging to get involved with these things I don’t want him doing.  I simply don’t trust him and he’s going to have to do a lot to rebuild that trust.

It may seem hypocritical to talk about trust when I’m contemplating installing phone monitoring software but, at the same time, I still feel a need to help protect my son from making poor choices in life and hopefully keep him on a good path with a decent footing – at least until he’s out of the home and on his own and even then I’d hope he’ll still come to us for advice and guidance.

The bottom-line is I feel like we need to find some kind of middle ground where he has the freedom to communicate with his friends and we have some ability to maintain some peace of mind while we work on rebuilding the trust.  This site has been extraordinarily helpful in my decision making and I will be opting to purchase a phone monitoring program and, so, thank you.”

I want to thank the sender for writing this and for sharing.

I think this will strike a chord with many parents. I find it quite striking that he refers to “phone monitoring software” and not spy software. It may only be a small change in the use of words but it sounds so much more responsible and ethical.

I for one believe that if you have real concerns for your children’s safety then you should use whatever methods available to you – even if this involves using this type of monitoring software.

Can you go too far? Yes I think you can. Just because you have installed monitoring software doesn’t mean you have to read every text and email or scrutinize everything they do. If you found their personal diary you might scan it a little to see if there is anything major – but would you read every word?

I would love to hear your opinions on this. Do you think it’s ethical to use monitoring software on your kid’s cell phones? Would you use it to protect your kids? Leave a comment below.