Teen Texting: Reducing the Potential for Disaster

Monitor your teen's text messages, chats, call histories and more – even after they've been deleted

Recover Your Teen's Deleted Text Messages and Chats

The number of teens who "own" cell phones has risen astronomically in recent years, with text messaging overtaking every other mode of communication (including face-to-face contact). This development in communication is hard to relate to for those of us who grew up actually calling people on the phone. But as a parent, it's important to understand how teens are talking, and the risks that come from it.

Tweens and teens are texting in massive numbers, with the average teen sending upwards of 60 text messages per day. Couple this with the fact that kids are inundated and surrounded by an overly sexualized culture, and you have a recipe for disaster.

No matter how much technology changes, one thing that a parent can always bank on is the naivete of teenagers. A controversial study from 2009 put the number of teens (aged 13-19) sending nude or semi-nude images at 33%, and sexually suggestive messages at 39%. Sending these messages isn't necessarily damaging on its own, but if these pictures end up surfacing online, or being shared among "friends," it could be damaging to a teen's reputation and potential education and employment opportunities in the future.

While sending suggestive messages can be a private matter, there has been a rash of text bullying in the news lately that has, at times, had fatal results. It is estimated that 25% of young people have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or online, and over half of them do not tell their parents that any bullying has occurred. It's dangerous enough for teens to share provocative images with supposedly trusted peers, but there's an even bigger risk that those images can fall into the hands of online predators. The Internet provides plenty of places for predators to prey on vulnerable teens. In fact, it's estimated that one in seven kids have received sexual solicitations online.

With these staggering numbers, it's difficult to keep your children safe. Luckily, there are a number of cell phone monitoring tools that will tell you who your kids are communicating with and what they're doing online.

The Solutions You Need

In the first sentence of this piece we referred to teens "owning" cell phones. The fact is, in most cases, parents are paying the phone bills and buying the devices themselves. Children under the age of 18 can't legally sign a contract by themselves, which means that you as a parent own your child's phone. It is completely within your rights to monitor how children under 18 years of age are using that phone, and to guarantee that they are being responsible.

No matter what type of phone your child has, it is possible to access what they are sending, who they are calling, and even where they've been via the phone's GPS tracking history -- and today's monitoring technology is unbelievably easy to use.

From the comfort of your personal computer, you'll be able to see who your son or daughter is calling, texting or emailing. You'll know for sure when they're being safe, and when you need to step in.

For example, the BrickHouse Xtractr for iPhone and Xtractr for Android allow you to tap into the phone's text messages (even deleted messages), contacts, call histories and more. The Cell Phone Recon is an application that runs in the background on Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile devices. It enables you to remotely access what your teen is doing on his phone.

For older phones, the Cell Phone Spy SIM Card Reader is the tool for you. Recover deleted and current texts and contacts directly off of the phone's SIM card. If your teen is making poor decisions, you'll be the first to know, and you'll be able to stop them before they make a devastating mistake.

Distracted Driving

More cell phone use by teens leads directly to more instances of texting and driving. In many cases, parents themselves are setting bad examples for their teenagers, but the fact remains the same: if you're texting while you're driving, you're not fully focused on the road. And, with teenagers already suffering from the highest crash rate of any group in the United States, it's even more essential for them to pay attention when they drive.

As a parent, there are plenty of ways to prevent your teen from developing bad technology and driving habits. First and foremost, lead by example. If you're driving, buckle up, put your phone away, and encourage everyone in the vehicle with you to do the same.

There are a number of responsible tools you can use to combat irresponsible driving behavior. An in-car camera allows you to review your teen's habits in their vehicle. If they're texting and driving, listening to music too loud, or not wearing their seatbelt, you'll know for sure. BrickHouse's Dual View HD Car Camera records footage of the road as well as the interior of a vehicle, so in the unfortunate event of an accident, you'll know for sure who was at fault.

Cell phones are full-time appendages for almost everyone these days. And no matter how much good they bring to the world, there is also a dark side to the possibilities they promise. The only way to keep your child safe is to use technology to get the answers you need.