The Predator Next Door: How I used surveillance to stop a predator in my neighborhood
It’s scary but true, a couple of years ago, I became concerned about my 13-year old daughter’s behavior. She had begun to take herself off to her room for extended periods and was distant. When in my or her mother’s presence she wouldn’t communicate, preferring to have her head on her phone. At first, I thought, “She’s just talking to friends.” But after a few weeks of discussing why we need to check her phone, it became clear something was wrong! Her uncooperative nature had her mother and me extremely anxious about whom she may be talking too.
So, we hatched a plan: we would stop asking her who she was talking too. We thought this might lull her into a false sense of security, stopping messages from being deleted. Yes, we could have just demanded, but, ultimately, this was about maintaining trust in our relationship, and most importantly, her safety. So, while one of us would distract her, like take her out shopping, the other would check her phone and internet history. Unfortunately, as most children are these days, she is internet savvy, and I found nothing. That is, except for a few text messages with friends from school and repeated references to a Mike.
Was Mike a fellow student? For some reason I had a nagging doubt, one that convinced me, I had to do more to find out who he was.
Time for Drastic measures
OK, at the time, I felt terrible, and my wife wasn’t sure either. But we needed to find a way to monitor her smartphone activities, like:
- Tracking my daughters’ text messages, including those deleted
- Monitoring incoming and outgoing calls
- Keeping an eye on the apps she uses, such as Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and probably others
- Seeing the latest posts on social media accounts, plus, images both on her phone and posted
- Being able to view what websites she visits via her browser history
Fortunately, while searching for a solution, I came across KidGuard. And it quickly became apparent that with this software, I could do all of the above and more!
So, I signed up and quickly read everything I could. Thankfully, there was an option that gave a sense of relief called Situation 360. It’s a tool that would combine all of my daughters’ smartphone activities into one report. I took advantage of it and waited for the results. When they came in, I had detailed GPS information, call history, messages, browser history, apps used. In fact, it was everything I needed to know. And it quickly became clear that Mike was a senior 12th-grade student and 18-years old. Plus, he had been sharing inappropriate images with my daughter. Fortunately, it had not gone both ways!
Armed with this information, I had no choice but to confiscate her smartphone (after a long conversation with her about internet safety) and use Situation 360 to alert the authorities. Thanks to KidGuard, my child now understands the danger she was in, and my wife and I have peace of mind.