to commonly asked questions.

Parental Software for iOS

Scotty, is there any good parenting software out there that I can use to monitor my kid’s activity online?

SecureTeen is an interesting work around to Apple’s closed garden approach to iOS. Apple doesn’t take very kindly to apps requesting data from other apps. Yes, they grant permission in some cases as apps are approved in the App Store but it’s very rare and the app has to have a good reason to be allowed to ask permission to see content from another app. SecureTeen has an interesting approach to work around this road block. It installs a VPN onto the phone therefore routing all internet traffic through its servers. To keep up with conversations and texts, SecureTeen asks that parents login to their child’s iCloud, instagram, twitter, Facebook, etc… individually and it will harvest records from those sources directly. It tracks GPS info over a given period of time. All this allows the parent to log into a website and view info on their child.

Here’s the problem. This, along with pretty much every other parenting control app or software can be circumvented by your children in about 20 seconds in any number of different ways. I won’t list them here but trust me. It’s very easy and they’ll figure it out. Remember, they are way smarter than we are.

In the end, I say it every day. Nothing beats good parenting. If you are looking for a piece of software to be the parent, you’re doing it wrong. The dinner table discussing expectations, rewards, and consequences is what wins. Trust but verify. Being in the position of being able to touch your child’s device every day is the best way to go. Apple’s parental controls within restrictions are fine overall if you know how to use them. If you want to go a step farther, create a new user on your mac and log in to their iCloud account in the messages app. Use Find Friends to keep up with their location. If you have an old phone or iPad, use that to sign in to all their social accounts. You’ll even see their search history from other devices with iCloud enabled. All of these are easily circumvented by your children of course. But you don’t need a parenting app to be a parent.

Generally I see three types of parents in my daily routine.

1. the parents that are scared of their children
2. the parents that are overly restrictive with their children
3. the parents who try to trust their children but verify their actions

As long as you remember that in the end, your children will do whatever they want whether you realize it or not all you can hope for is to be able to communicate with them and be in the position that they allow you in their loop when their digital social lives need guidance. You can’t stop your children from exploring the internet and making social mistakes but you can let them know that you are on their side when things go wrong. Remember, you gave them these devices. You can always take them away.
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