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Tracking Teens' Phones: What Parents Need To Know

Smartphones can be scary when they're in your teenager's hands.

Apps for sending pictures and chatting all in a digital world that parents seem to be blocked out of.

"They may actually know more than you."

That's where apps like TeenSafe come in. It allows parents to monitor their kids' messages, even apps, and track kids through GPS.

"Not only keep tabs on their children and where they are but also to keep them aware and safe in case something were to happen," explains Danielle Hatfield, owner of Experience Farm in Greensboro.

Hatfield says the perks of these kinds of monitoring apps are apparent, but there are some downfalls, too.

What if your teenager finds out you've been secretly tracking them?

"Maybe the child finds out what the tracking apps are and maybe un-installs them. Maybe the child decides to get a burner phone and use a burner phone that the parent doesn't know about. As much as a parent would try to track and monitor their children, those children could also be carving out their own secret life."

There are ways for teens to disable GPS tracking and use secret apps that are actually a front for something else.

Someone could steal your phone, giving them not only your information, but your child's information at the tip of their fingers.

The monitoring idea isn't all that bad. Hatfield says don't keep your kids in the dark. The most important thing is talking to your child about why you want to monitor their phone in the first place.

"They're more likely to have a little bit more respect for what the parents are doing and not feel so monitored all the time. Give them that sense of privacy but still give the parents the peace of mind that they need to keep their children safe."

Hatfield also says a lot of parents want to monitor social media not because they don't trust their own child, but to make sure their child is not getting cyber-bullied.

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