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How to see what the kids are doing on their phones

How to see what the kids are doing on their phones
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In this modern world of digital dangers and threats, keeping children safe while they are online is of the utmost importance to each parent. There are inappropriate websites and apps, cyberbullying, sexting, the risk of internet and digital addiction and worst of all, online predators that your child can be exposed to.

It's imperative that parents set clear rules about technology use and talk to their kids about online safety. With that said, it's also a good idea to regularly monitor and check in on what they're doing on their gadgets no matter where they are.

Here are our tips on how to monitor your kids' texts, location, apps and online activity.

Text messages

On an Apple iOS gadget, there's a free and easy way to monitor your kids' text iMessages. Do this by linking the same iCloud account on your child's iPhone and yours. You can also use a spare iOS device or Mac computer for monitoring.

Here are the basic steps to receive all of your kid's iMessage texts in real-time using iOS 10:

On your kid's iPhone

  1. Make sure you sign in with the active iCloud account you will use for monitoring (this could be a specific account for your kid or your own iCloud account). Check this account by going to the phone's Settings. At the top, you'll see the name of the Apple ID account user that's signed into the phone. Tap this profile if you need to make any edits.
  2. Next, go to Settings >> Messages and make sure iMessage is toggled on.
  3. Now, on the same page, tap "Send & Receive," to confirm the Apple ID is the same iCloud account.
  4. Under "YOU CAN BE REACHED BY IMESSAGE AT," verify that only your kid's phone number and email is checked and active. (Your child's default phone number will already be checked and grayed out.)
  5. Further below, under "START NEW CONVERSATIONS FROM," make sure only your kid's phone number and email are checked.

On your monitoring iPhone:

  1. Make sure you sign in with the same active iCloud account you used on your kid's iPhone. Check this account by going to Settings >> iCloud.
  2. Next, go to Settings >> Messages and make sure iMessage is toggled on.
  3. Now, on the same page, tap "Send & Receive," to confirm the Apple ID is the same as the iCloud account.
  4. Under "YOU CAN BE REACHED BY IMESSAGE AT," verify that both your kid's phone number and your phone number are checked. Make sure your kid's email is checked too and active. (Your default phone number will already be checked and grayed out.)
  5. Further below, under "START NEW CONVERSATIONS FROM," make sure only your own phone number and email are checked.

Bonus: If you prefer, you can also setup a specific Mac user to monitor your kid's iMessages. Just create a new local user account and link it with the iCloud account your kid is using.

To prevent your kid from changing these iMessage settings, try this:

  1. On your kid's phone, go to Settings >> General.
  2. Under General, scroll down and tap on "Restrictions."
  3. Tap "Enable Restrictions" and enter and confirm a Restrictions Passcode (keep this number safe and make sure your kid doesn't know it).
  4. On this page, scroll down to the "ALLOW CHANGES" section then tap on Account.
  5. Select "Don't Allow Changes."

For free text-monitoring on Android, try the Phone Tracker app from Spy Phone Labs. Not only will this app show text activity on your kid's phone, it will also track the location, phone call log and web activity of up to five phones.

Location tracking

Most major carriers have their own gadget location tracking service. But on iPhones running iOS 10 there is a free way to have your kid's phone share its location information through iMessage. Here's how:

  1. On your kid's phone, go to Contacts, then select your name.
  2. On your own contact page, scroll down and tap "Share My Location."
  3. Choose between "Share for One Hour," "Share Until End of Day," or "Share Indefinitely."

Bonus tip: If you enable Family Sharing on iOS, you can also track your kid's gadget via the "Find My iPhone" app.

For Android family location tracking, you can try this app, Family Locator - GPS Tracker.

Note: If you also want to keep tabs on what the kids are doing at home while you're out, there are a few features of your SimpliSafe home security system that you will want to know about. SimpliSafe has a new ultra wide angle security camera. You can view live video and audio from your smartphone, tablet or computer anytime. If no one should be at home, the camera will alert you of any motion detected and start recording. If you want to keep tabs on your liquor cabinet or other off-limits areas then all you need to do is install one of the sensors on the door. Anytime someone opens the door you will receive an alert. If you don't have SimpliSafe yet, check them out now. For a limited time, Kim fans will receive $100 off 

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