Cell Phone Monitoring for Parents

Cell Phone Monitoring for Parents

Do you know what your child is doing on his or her phone?

When you give a child a phone, you are giving them a handheld computer that they can use to access social media, send text messages, and browse the web. This can make it a challenge to know what they’re up to on their cellphones.

Using the latest cell phone spying apps and software, you can keep better track of your child’s phone usage. Track the location of a phone, remotely read messages, check the call history, and more.

Continue reading to discover the best cell phone spying solutions for monitoring phone activity.

Types of Cell Phone Monitoring Applications

Accessing a smartphone from a remote location can be divided into several categories. Before purchasing any software or equipment, review the following options:

  • Phone location tracking (receive GPS coordinates and location data)
  • Remote access (view text messages, instant messages, and call history)
  • Digital recording (capture audio of phone conversations)
  • Mobile app usage (block or allow specific apps)

You can find applications that give parents full access to their child’s phones. But, depending on your needs, you may not require all the features listed above.

These options are typically available with the use of third-party applications or software, which is installed on your phone, or occasionally on a tablet or PC.

Along with the software or application that you use to monitor cell phone usage, these solutions commonly require the installation of an app on the targeted cell phone. This means that these solutions will not be suitable for tracking someone else’s cellphone without their permission, which is illegal in many areas.

Instead, these solutions are intended for monitoring your children or perhaps family members that require close supervision. Regardless of the reason, these solutions will help you out. Here is a closer look at each option …

Phone Location Tracking

Perhaps the most sought-after feature is phone location tracking. This allows you to track the location of a smartphone, typically using GPS data.

There are several solutions for monitoring the exact location of a cell phone, including the use of mobile apps. These applications are installed on your smartphone, tablet, or PC and then offer real-time GPS tracking of the registered device – your child’s phone.

You can then view their location on a map, with update intervals depending on the software. You can also look for additional features, such as text alerts and Geofencing.

Cellphone location tracking solutions are available for free on certain devices. Samsung, Google, and Apple smartphones include features that allow free GPS tracking through the settings menu. Other devices will require the use of third-party software.

This software will include an application that is installed on the device that you’re tracking, along with software or an app that you use to view the GPS location.

When choosing a smartphone location tracking solution, pay attention to these features:

  • Update intervals
  • GPS location radius
  • Ability to track routes
  • Geofencing or safe zones

The update interval refers to the time between GPS updates to the tracking software. The average update interval is 5 minutes, which means the tracking software will receive an updated location every 5 minutes. Some software requires you to pay an additional fee to receive shorter update intervals.

GPS can only pinpoint the location of the device to a general area, instead of providing the exact location. The average radius is several meters, though some devices may only provide a radius of several hundred feet.

Along with displaying the location of the cellphone, these apps can often display routes and previous locations. Using this information, you can determine where your child has traveled, in addition to their current location.

With geofencing, parents can set a safe zone covering the area where the child can travel. If the child exits this zone, the parent receives a text message alert or a notification via the tracking app.

That covers the features that you’re most likely to find, though there are additional options available with some of the top phone tracking apps. You can get applications that combine phone tracking with remote access and other parental controls – for an all-in-one solution.

Remote Access to Smartphones

The next group of cell phone spying solutions includes remote access to text messages, instant messages, and call history. These applications are also referred to as phone tracking apps:

  • Remote text message tracking
  • Remote call history tracking
  • Remote instant messages tracking

As with the phone tracking software, these solutions will require access to the targeted cell phone. Along with software on your PC or an app on your own phone, you will need to install an app on the cell phone that you want remote access to.

Remote access to text messages and call history are often bundled together with a single application, but remote viewing of instant messages may require separate software.

Remotely Read Text Messages

While it’s useful to know where your child is, you may also want to know who they’re communicating with and what they’re saying. Using certain applications, you can remotely read text messages.

One popular option is SMS forwarding. With this solution, all text messages made on your child’s phone will get forwarded to your phone or email. This includes incoming and outgoing text messages.

Along with SMS tracking, you should also look for software that offers MMS tracking. This refers to multimedia messages, such as photos sent to or from your child’s phone.

Phone tracking apps that offer SMS and MMS tracking occasionally include browser tracking, allowing you to monitor your child’s browsing activity. Though this does not always include the option to block websites, it does let you view their browser history.

Again, the features will vary depending on the app that you choose. Several of these applications provide extra features, such as the ability to view deleted text messages or respond to messages. You may also find the option to view the call history…

Remotely Check Call History

A quick check of the cell phone call history will let you track ingoing and outgoing phone calls. This is like remotely monitoring text messages.

You can receive instant notifications of all phone calls made to or from the phone or pull up the call history from your own phone or PC, though the exact method of viewing the history will vary depending on the app.

Viewing the call history may also be an option made available through your mobile phone provider. If you and your child’s phones are on the same account, your phone company may offer access to the call history through their website.

Remotely Read Instant Messages

You can also keep an eye on instant messages from popular apps, such as Facebook, Kik, and Whatsapp. This will let you view all outgoing and ingoing direct messages sent through social media apps.

The apps that can be monitored will depend on the tracking app. Before choosing an app, you should make sure that it works with your child’s preferred social media sites.

These solutions will let you see the messages your child sends and receives, along with other details. You can view contact information and the time and date of each message.

How you view this information also depends on the app. Some will send an email after any social media activity, while others will require you to log into a website to view the instant messages.

Record Conversations

Recording a conversation could be useful if you’re attempting to gather evidence or require a digital record of communications. The audio files can then be played back at any time.

Applications that allow you to record live calls will often include the option to listen in on the phone and may include extra features, such as access to the call history.

In some areas, the recording of phone conversations without prior consent is illegal – even if you’re recording your child’s conversation. For this reason, you should check your city or state laws concerning the recording of phone calls.

If you choose an app that offers live recording, you may also need to invest in a new microSD card. The phone calls are typically stored as an audio file on the device that you’re using, which may require additional storage space on your phone.

Live Access to Cell Phone Screen

If you want complete control of your child’s phone from a remote location, live access is the most thorough solution. This will give you a live view of your child’s phone screen. You can view their phone usage in real-time.

Live access is not commonly included and is generally only available as an add-on or bundled with expensive phone tracking apps. If you want this feature, you should be prepared to spend a little extra.

Block Applications and Web Sites

In addition to monitoring cellphone usage, you can control access to apps and websites. This is typically used as a parental control feature.

Most modern smartphones and tablets include this option under the “parental control” settings. These settings can then be turned on or off using a code or password.

Using the parental control settings, you get to decide which apps and websites are allowed on the phone or tablet. For example, you can block all apps and websites, other than a pre-approved list. Or, you could require parental permission before any new website or app is accessed.

If these settings are not included by default on the child’s phone or tablet, you can purchase third-party software, as with the other cell phone spying solutions discussed above. In fact, this option may be included with other phone spying apps.

How to Choose the Best Smartphone Tracking Apps

After reviewing the most common cellphone spying solutions, you should begin searching for the app that meets your individual needs. Here are some of the details that you should consider:

  • The level of access that you require
  • The features that already available to you
  • Whether you have physical access to the target phone
  • Your budget for a phone tracking app

Decide how much access you want to your child’s phone and then make a list of the features that you’ll require. If you decide that you want complete access to the target phone, then search for software that bundles multiple features.

Also remember to check the available parental controls preinstalled on your child’s phone, along with options available through your phone company. Determine which options are already available to you without the need for additional software.

Another consideration is whether you have physical access to the target phone. Cell phone spying software is generally marketed to parents that want to track their children. Though, these options are also used by spouses and family members.

Generally, you will not want the other party to know that you’re watching their cellphone usage. So, can you spy on a cell phone without getting caught? Most of the available applications require physical access to the target phone. You will need to install an app or access information on the target device.

Some apps will be hidden while others will remain visible along with other installed apps. If this is a concern, then make sure that the cell phone spying solution that you choose can be discreetly installed.

You should also decide how much you’re willing to spend on a cell phone tracking app. Some of these solutions are available for free while others require an initial fee.

Additional features or add-ons may cost extra, including the possibility of a monthly charge. This is most common with GPS tracking apps that require a monthly fee to access GPS data or charge extra to shorten the update intervals.

Last Thoughts on Cell Phone Monitoring

There are numerous reasons to want to track cell phone usage. Though, the primary motivation is to keep an eye on your kids.

Using the latest applications, software, and gadgets, you can easily monitor your child’s cell phone activity. This includes the ability to view text messages and call history. You can also view their social media usage, block access to websites or apps, record conversations, and track their location.

If you want to keep track of your child’s phone usage, you have many options at your disposal, from basic SMS tracking to complete live access to their screen.

These options can give you peace of mind, but you first need to find the right solution for your needs. You may not find all these features bundled together in one application. Read reviews and product summaries; learn more about each application and compare features.

In the end, choose the options that matter most to you and then use the information discussed to make the right selection. Good luck!

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