Texting seems to be the right of every tween and teen. Odds are if your child is over the age of 10 or 11, he or she has a cell phone. And odds are if your child has a cell phone, he or she is using it to text way more than call (as if!).
We all want to respect our children’s privacy, but we also want to protect them from any harm. Cyber space is no different. It just takes a little more ingenuity. That’s where SafetyWeb comes in to help parents track text messages & monitor cell phone activity.
How to track cell phone text messages?
Create an account with SafetyWeb, enter your child’s cell phone number and almost instantly see who he or she is talking or texting with. View helpful activity reports through the cell phone monitoring software to view frequently dialed cell phone numbers, length of time and actual time of calls.
The Center on Media and Child Health looked at addictive, problematic use of cell phones and found a link between low self-esteem and problem cell phone use. A study measuring the link between cell phones and mental health found that teens who used cell phones the most were more likely to be anxious and depressed.
You also can gain insight into the possibility of cyber-bullying through SafetyWeb’s activity reports. For example, if your child normally sends and receives a few dozen text messages a day, but then suddenly sends out zero or few text messages, and instead is bombarded by dozens or hundreds of text messages from one specific number, it’s possible that your child is being cyber-bullied via text message, and has therefore altered her texting behavior because of the bully. To clarify, you can’t read text message content, but you can see to whom your child is texting, and where text messages are coming from.
Knowing these patterns and trends will help when it’s time to sit down with your child and talk about possible bullying. Say, “I noticed you aren’t texting as much and a lot of incoming texts are coming from this number. What’s going on?” She may ask how you know all this. Refer to “Talking with your child about SafetyWeb” on the site’s parent resources section. She may not be thrilled that you are monitoring her cell phone text messages and online activity using SafetyWeb, and to keep her from feeling like you are spying on her, open communication is one of the best ways to help build trust.
Also explain that text messaging is increasingly used by bullies to torment their victims and is a serious problem with harsh consequences for the sender and receiver. The Center on Media and Child Health says that cyber-bullying, psychological harassment in text or instant messaging, is more often perpetrated by girls who initiate inappropriate messages or spread damaging gossip. Talk about cyber-stalking and sexting, too. Having a parent-child conversation before it’s too late can empower your teen with the knowledge s/he needs to stay safer and wiser online.
Contrary to what she may think, that cell phone isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. But keeping her safe – whether at school, home or on a cell phone – is every parent’s right. Sign up to track your kids’ & teens’ cell phone text message logs.
Journal of CyberPsychology & Behavior: Psychological predictors of problem mobile phone use