Having three teenagers, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have a need for a good phone monitoring program. Anyone who says you don't need one or that it's an invasion of privacy obviously doesn't have teens (Haha!)! Or, I guess I should say my teens. Seriously though, I do have great teenagers. But having that much content at your finger tips can sometimes be a doorway to bad things in the hands of someone who hasn't yet developed restraint.
I decided to give Teen Safe a try. I am going to preface this review by adding that I'm NOT getting any type of compensation, kick back, or free services for this review. You can find them at www.teensafe.com
Teen Safe is a pretty simple program that you create an account for and then upload it onto their phone. I like the aspect of that because you can let them know right off that their phone is being monitored and that may help head off any unsavory behavior. Once you have created the account (and you can upload multiple children for the same price) you can see what apps are on their phones, see call logs, text logs, web searches, and their GPS location. You can also go into a control setting where you are able to block certain apps and things like that.
The pros that I like about teen safe are the GPS location so that you can see that they are actually where they say they are going to be. I haven't had to have much concern in this area with my teens yet, but it's good to know that it is there. And sometimes it's just interesting to check out. I think the second big pro to the GPS would be that if anything were to happen to them you could use it to see where their phone is in an emergency.
Being able to view the call and text logs is helpful. It goes back for a while on each conversation. You can't hear the calls but it does tell you the number called or who called them and the duration. Like most teenagers, my kids don't use the call options on their phones that often. So text messages is what I find the most helpful.
Of course being able to see the web searches is a bonus to be sure that they aren't searching for things they shouldn't be. Another bonus would be seeing their apps. You can be sure that they aren't downloading something you don't want them to have. A bonus to the control setting is being able to block any app.
I'm not sure other than that if you're able to do anything else in the control setting. I was under the impression when I began the program that you could actually lock the phone out at any time. Say for instance you say bedtime and find out your teen is still on their phone, I thought you'd be able to lock the phone for a certain amount of time but that's not the case. So that is a con.
Another con is that while you can see the text messages and see the apps, you cannot actually see INSIDE the app. Most kids don't just use text messaging to communicate with their friends these days. Think of things like Facebook messenger, Instagram private message, etc. So you are not going to be able to actually see those messages. So your kid could be talking to some 30 year old in another state and you would STILL not know it. You could set your own guidelines of not be able to chat on those services but if they have the social media apps there would be no way you could tell if it was being followed. The best you could do would be to block the app itself which doesn't give you much control or insight into areas that are considered the highest importance.
Another con that I don't like is that if your kid sends a picture or someone sends you kid a picture in a text message then you can't see this picture. While I understand that it would be invading the privacy of the one sending the pic, I don't like this because I would like to know if someone is sending inappropriate pictures. It doesn't even say *unshown text picture* so that you know what happened. It just comes across as a weird jump in the conversation.
I was under the impression when I began using Teen Safe that I would be able to have much more insight and control than I actually do. It was listed in smaller print or hidden print as "coming soon" so I don't know WHEN it's actually coming. I did contact them about the aspect of locking out the phone and they said that is not a function as of now.
The price is around $15 per month total. So you aren't paying a huge amount but for what you get I think I would prefer to pay less.
So overall, it's very user friendly, gives you some helpful features and some insight and control. For the money, I think you should get more and don't be misled thinking you'll be able to do more than you can. I would give it three stars. I would consider switching to a different program if I thought it would give me more of what I wanted.