Parental Control Apps: Spying or Protection?
You can hardly find a teenager without mobile phone in the US nowadays. And more than half of these devices are smartphones with access to the Internet, social media and games. Online perils that await children worry parents much that is why there is a whole segment on the market of mobile apps – parental control applications. Most of them can work covertly so a child won’t even know that parents watch his every step online.
Take TeenSafe, for example. This app allows parent to monitor all text messages be it emails or messages in social media as well as deleted texts – and they can do it discreetly, though the company warns parents to anticipate children about monitoring. The app is claimed to be legal, however, the moral points of this are disputable.
Mamabear. Together with monitoring options this app proposes a possibility to see the speed of a vehicle where the kid is. This app cannot be used covertly and sends alerts to all, if someone is driving above speed limits.
Parents also use these apps in order to limit usage of devices and the Internet – some parental control applications can remotely manage kid’s phone to block it, swipe the SD card in case if the device is stolen or track it if it is lost.
Parents also lock the phone or set certain time limits of usage.
The US authorities are worrying that some apps of this kind may misuse collected data, as these apps are marketed ’undetectable’ so they can be used by domestic abusers. However, monitoring apps are legal as long as they are installed on a device of the user’s child (under 18 years old) and employee (and he or she is informed about being monitored).