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How to Monitor Your Teen's Cell Phone Usage

Updated on November 18, 2013

Texting is by far one of the most used methods of communication amongst the teenage population. Just like monitoring internet activity of teenagers for safety sake, parents now have to worry about what their teenagers are doing on their cell phones as well. Software companies have developed many tools for monitoring cell phone activities and SMS messages. While this highly sophisticated software can tell you just about everything your teen is saying and doing on their cell phone, it is meaningless if you don't understand what the acronyms mean and the lingo being used.

Picking the Right Plan

As parents it is your responsibility to set ground rules for cell phone usage from the get go. If internet usage on the cell phone is not something you want your teenager to have access to, but still want to be able to communicate via cell phone with your teen, you should probably consider purchasing a cell phone that doesn't require a data package.

For example, the iPhone requires that you purchase a minimum data package which will allow a certain amount of internet usage each month. If this is something you don't want your child to have access to then you should consider purchasing a different type of phone.

When purchasing a cell phone for your teenager, consider all the options and determine what features you want your teen to have access to. Ask yourself what the phone will be used for when deciding on what type of plan to purchase. Sometimes excessive use and overage charges will burn a hole in a parent's wallet. Compare plans and consider the advantages of each type. If both parents already have a family plan with a bucket of shared minutes, it is easy to add an additional line for your teen or pre-teen.

On a family plan, everyone shares a certain amount of minutes and data, which means as a cell phone owner, yourself, you are already used to monitoring your own cell phone usage and can easily monitor the usage of an additional member of the plan. If your teenager is only going to be communicating with family members, typically most service providers don't charge for mobile to mobile calling within the network.

Set Clear Ground Rules

Make sure you set firm rules for cell phone usage with your teen or pre-teen and define what is appropriate and what is not. This is a personal decision, and it depends on the parent's preferences. Some of the ground rules that should be discussed in the very beginning of cell phone usage with teenagers is what you consider misuse of the cell phone.

Teens need a clear understanding of what misuse means to you. Go over the rules of the camera and what types of photos are appropriate to send and receive. Let your teen know any internet sites that they're forbidden to access on their phones.

Make sure they know it is not appropriate to text while driving. Set rules about who your teen is allowed to give their number to and tell them that you will randomly be checking their text message outbox to see what numbers they've been texting.

Know the Lingo

Be aware before purchasing any sophisticated spying tools to monitor your teen's cell phone usage that they're unnecessary. If you are worried about your teen misusing their cell phone then take it away from them and have it disconnected.

There's no law that says every teenager has to own a cell phone. If you are worried about not having contact with your teen, think again because the person they are with probably has one that you can call. Cell phone monitoring software shouldn't even be an issue. If your teen is responsible enough to follow the rules they should be trusted to some extent.

Really, it is the parent that needs to be well versed in text lingo in order to decipher what is being said in the first place. Teens have developed acronyms as a way of speaking privately. Be sure to look at the list of acronyms commonly used by teens.

There is all kinds of sophisticated software available for parents to spy on their teens cell phone activities and tell you just about everything your teen is saying and doing on their cell phone. However, it is meaningless if you don't understand what the acronyms mean and the lingo being used.

As a concerned parent, you should study up on some of the common acronyms used by teenagers and what they mean. There are plenty of resources available on the internet that define the acronyms. Parents can find out a lot about what their teen is doing behind their backs just by being savvy to what the letters stand for. There are many comprehensive lists of acronyms available just by doing doing a search in google.

Here are some links to comprehensive abbreviation lists:

Do Your Own Investigating

A concerned parent can do some investigative work on their own without having to buy special monitoring software. All a parent needs to do is look at their monthly phone bill and they can see exactly what numbers their teen is calling and texting.

Although the phone bill won't show the contents of the text messages, it will be beneficial to see exactly what numbers the teen is texting. Parents can then speak openly with their teen and find out who they've been texting. Another, sneakier approach is to call the numbers yourself to find out who they belong to.

If you find out that your teen has been using the phone to text or talk to someone that you don't approve of then you can simply take the phone away due to misuse. The alternative to this would be to spend money on monitoring software that allows you to actually block all the numbers you don't want your child communicating with. The advantage would be that your child would still have access to a cell phone in case they need to contact you, but they would not be able to abuse it.

© 2012 crissytsu


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    • profile image

      Sarah Yao 

      2 years ago

      I am using the Print Job monitor , I think it is a good software, in full compliance with my request, it should be recommended.

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      @Blackandgoldjack: LOL I don't know what color you call that hair...but I totally agree that it depends on the teenager and the relationship with the parents. I personally think that if parents don't trust their kids enough to resort to using monitoring software that they shouldn't buy them a phone in the first place.

    • BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

      Jack Hazen 

      6 years ago from Blitzburgh area

      If my 18-year-old daughter looked like that chick in the pic, with that hair (what color is that?) and nose bling, I would monitor her cell phone usage. Seriously.

      My daughter never gave me any reason not to trust her so I never monitored her cell phone usage, or otherwise felt the need to monitor much of anything else. She left for college a couple days ago, so it's too late now. But I think she has a real good idea that doing something stupid is not a good idea.

      But yeah, I definitely would monitor a teenager's cell phone usage and a whole lot of other things if I thought it was necessary.


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