If your teen has a phone, and most of them do, an app called WhoSnooped may be a good idea for you.
You probably got a cell phone for your kid to solve a problem. Perhaps you wanted to be able to contact him at a friend’s house or to arrange an after school pickup. Perhaps he was just bugging you incessantly because all his friends already had one.
Now that he has a phone, you are subject to a few risks. The first – what is he doing with his phone? Trouble and the internet go hand in hand for today’s teens. Second, if he loses the phone there will be the cost of replacing it. If he loses it and it is not password protected, the thief will be in possession of his social media accounts and apps, his contact info and that of his friends and your family, as well as other personal information that could be problematic.
Let’s assume that your kid does have a password on his phone.
A more subtle risk is that one of his friends gets hold of the phone and does something, ether as a joke or maliciously.
I was hanging out with a friend a while back who also has a teen-aged son. We were talking about Twitter – my friend was not yet using it at the time but I was – and I commented that his son was probably using it. He said something like, “I doubt it” so I opened Twitter on my phone and found his son pretty easily. As I scrolled through his last few posts, I told my friend that it looked pretty harmless and handed him the phone. He scrolled though a few more and saw and extremely inappropriate sexual tweet directed at a girl in his high school.
When he challenged his son on the offending tweet, his son deleted the account entirely and assured dad that a friend had picked up his phone and done it as a prank. Whether that last part is true or not, it became clear that his friends were in the habit of reaching for each other’s phones.
WhoSnooped is an app that can help.
With WhoSnooped, if you have the app open, any time someone slides the lock screen, it snaps a picture of the snooper. If you leave your phone unlocked, or don’t use a password, this won’t help, but if you want to know who is trying to get a look at what you are doing or prank you, it is a handy little tool.
The app is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod) and Android but a word of caution – from the reviews and comments I’ve seen, the Android version is not ready for prime time.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.