There are plenty of reasons to want to read your kids’ text messages. Depending on their age, kids may be intentionally deceitful or simply not wish to communicate the “whole truth” to their parents about what their activities are. Younger children are also in danger of coming into contact with online predators from the moment they begin using a phone.
As a parent, this leaves you in the position of needing to access their text messages just to ensure their safety. Here are the easiest ways to do this:
- Check the Phone Bill
If you are on a family plan, parents should be receiving monthly bills from the service provider which include the numbers called or texted, dates and duration. You can use these tidbits to piece together your children’s behavior, including who they are texting and how frequently. You may also be able to get more detail by calling customer service.
- Monitor the Phone
Silent phone tracking apps such as KidGuard are all-in-one solutions for monitoring the actions your children take on a phone. More than just checking your child’s text messages, these applications also give you remote access to a phone’s stored images, location via GPS and online activity. If you have a short-term need to access a phone, you can always just sign up for a free trial instead of buying the product directly.
Even though this is a software solution, the good news is that the majority of these services do not require installation – particularly so if your child is using an iPhone.
- Check the Phone Directly
As part of your child’s cell phone contract, it should be well within your rights as a parent to check apps and text messages on a phone. That means you can simply ask to see your child’s phone and read who they have been texting, as well as what they are discussing. If you have reason to suspect your child is hiding something, make sure they give the phone directly to you – don’t give them time to delete contacts or messages they would rather not have you see!
There are a couple reasons why this method may be the best for you. First, kids are increasingly reliant on social media apps such as Snapchat, Facebook messenger, or Kik instead of standard text (SMS) messaging. This means that by focusing on texts alone, you may be missing their most important conversations.
Second, establishing trust with your child is critical. While teenagers certainly won’t be happy to know you are looking at their phones, they will appreciate up front honesty about how you are doing so. Going behind their backs can be perceived as sneaky and untrustworthy.