About TeenSafe

TeenSafe is an online software program that allows parents to discreetly monitor their teen’s texts, phone calls, social media interactions, phone location, and more, without requiring their devices to be jailbroken or rooted. Because of this, TeenSafe has been used by more than 500,000 parents to empower themselves with knowledge, and to help keep their teens safe.

Watching your child transition into an adult is difficult enough, without worrying about who they’re talking to, what kinds of conversations they’re having, what they’re viewing online, and much more. And although modern technology has opened countless new doors, it can also open the door for danger.

But can TeenSafe help you keep your children safe? First, let’s take a look at how it’s claimed to work.

How Does TeenSafe Work?

TeenSafe is claimed to work with all Apple and Android devices, including iPhone, iPod Touches, and iPads. In fact, the company claims that TeenSafe is the #1 tracker for iPhone.

Unlike a traditional app though, in order to circumnavigate Apple’s strict privacy guidelines regarding which information a third-party app has access to, when looking at an iDevice, TeenSafe operates using only your PC. On an Android device however, according to the company “a discreet app is installed in the background. It is almost undetectable since it does not appear on the phone's home screens or app dashboard nor does it have the TeenSafe logo anywhere.”

According to the company, TeenSafe’s remote visibility platform can be used on as many devices as you choose. And once your TeenSafe account is set up, your personal and secure dashboard will only be accessible by you, including the data it contains, such as:

  • Sent, received, and deleted SMS and iMessages.
  • Incoming and outgoing call logs, which includes important information such as contact name, number, date, and call duration.
  • Deleted WhatsApp and Kik messages, in addition to monitoring Facebook and Instagram activity.
  • Web search and browsing history.
  • Current location and location history.

Important note: As we mentioned in our article about keeping your children safe in an increasingly connected world, sending provocative images through text (known as “sexting”) is highly common among teens and young adults. From this perspective, TeenSafe might not be ideal, because although you’ll be able to see when an image or video is sent and to whom, you won’t be able to see the image or video itself. Instead, the text “Possible MMS data/attachment” will appear, along with a time and date stamp.

What is Jailbreaking/Rooting?

One of the biggest benefits claimed by TeenSafe is that their software doesn’t require your smartphone to be jailbroken or rooted in order for it to work. But what do these terms mean?

Jailbreaking “is the process of removing restrictions on iOS, Apple's operating system, on devices running it through the use of software and hardware exploits” in order to “expand the feature set limited by Apple and its App Store.” Similarly, rooting is “the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's sub-system.”

In layman’s terms, jailbreaking and rooting allow users to expand the capabilities of their smartphones that would otherwise be restricted by the manufacturer.

While jailbroken and rooted phones can typically be restored to their factory settings by reinstalling the operating system, if something happens to your smartphone while it’s jailbroken/rooted, it could void your warranty and leave you footing a very large bill.

Should You Monitor Your Teen’s Activity?

This is something that you’ll have to dig deep and answer for yourself, since every teen, parent, and situation is different. In fact, if you search online for other parents’ opinions about “snooping” on your children, you’ll find almost as many different answers as there are parents. Even professional psychologists/psychiatrists will disagree to some extent about whether or not you should monitor your children’s smartphone activity.

With this said, some parents are adamantly against it, stating that it violates the parent/child trust relationship. On the other hand, there are dozens of heartbreaking stories online about how TeenSafe helped children avoid sexual predators, cyber bullying, and much more.

See Also: How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Social Networking Websites

What Are Parents Saying About TeenSafe?

TeenSafe Inc. was founded in 2011 and is based out of Long Beach, CA. The company holds a B rating with the Better Business Bureau, with just one closed complaint (as of 2/12/15), which referenced difficulty cancelling the free trial.

Despite the length of time they’ve been in business though, there wasn’t a whole lot of user feedback for TeenSafe at the time of our research.

However, BeWebSmart.com wrote a fairly in-depth review about TeenSafe, and seemed to be pleased with its overall performance. They did mention that iCloud backup will have to be set up on all iDevices, which may require some reconfiguration and technical know-how. In addition, when it came to the deleted texts feature, they noted, “many texts shown here were missing the date. Many had really old dates like April, 2001. I don’t think iPhones even existed back then! So it was hard to know if this was a recent text or one from a while back. Many deleted texts were missing the name/number so there was no way to know who had sent it. I think there is more work needed here to make deleted texts a reliable feature.”

See Also: How to Keep Your Kids Safe on YouTube

According to a user on Apple’s discussion forums, “I tried Teensafe and ended up cancelling today. Teensafe works on the iCloud backup and in order to work the phone must 1) have WiFi turned on and a WiFi network to access and 2) have iCloud backup turned on.”

There were also 4 user reviews on SiteJabber, with an average rating of 3 stars. One reviewer complained about difficulty cancelling their trial, while another complained that if your teen changes the passwords on any of their accounts (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), you won’t be able to monitor it until you learn the new password. The remaining two reviews were positive.

Does TeenSafe Monitor SnapChat?

SnapChat is an extraordinarily popular mobile messaging app that’s been around since 2011—in fact, it’s the third most popular social networking app among Millennials, with more than 8 billion video views per day. Every video and picture (called a snap) sent through SnapChat is only viewable for 10 seconds after being opened, and then it disappears forever.

Well, that’s not exactly true. If a user wants to save an image they received through SnapChat, they can simply take a screenshot, save it to their phone or computer, and have it available indefinitely. For this reason—not to mention cyberbullying, the proof of which disappears after a few seconds—a lot of parents are concerned about their teen’s safety and privacy when using SnapChat.

Related: Is Snapchat Safe? Keeping Your Kids Safe on Social Media

Unfortunately, TeenSafe does not currently monitor SnapChat, and given its immense popularity, this means you could be missing out on a lot of the messaging—and potential sexting and cyberbullying—that your teens engages in.

We reached out to the company to see if they have any plans to monitor SnapChat in the near future, and here’s the response we received:

“Due to the temporary nature of Snapchat's messages, Teensafe will not be able to monitor that service before those messages are removed from Snapchat's servers.”

TeenSafe Pricing & Refund Policy

TeenSafe can be used for free during their one-week trial, after which you’ll pay $14.95 per month. Note: According to TeenSafe’s Terms, you’ll need to cancel your trial at least 24 hours before it ends in order to avoid being billed. In essence, this means you only have a 6-day trial.

It’s also worth noting that, when searching through the Google Play store for the TeenSafe app, the only result available was for the TeenSafe Support App—not the app installed on your teen’s smartphone.

TeenSafe is billed on a month-to-month basis without a contract, which means you can cancel at any time. However, according to TeenSafe’s FAQ, “there are no refunds or credits for partially used periods.”

If you have questions, or need to cancel your TeenSafe trial/subscription, you’ll need to contact their support line at (800) 245-8598.

Can TeenSafe Help You Keep Your Children Safe?

Chopping to the point: Overall, it appears that TeenSafe has a mostly positive online reputation with parents, especially due to the fact that it can work without requiring smartphones to be jailbroken/rooted.

However, there may be some technical know-how needed in order to get TeenSafe set up properly, and it almost certainly won’t work flawlessly (e.g. no images/videos can be viewed, not all deleted texts are available, etc.). On top of this, if your teen isn’t connected to WiFi or changes the passwords on one of their accounts, you’ll be blocked from viewing their activity, so it shouldn’t be considered a foolproof solution.

With this said, at $14.95 per month and by helping to maintain your smartphone’s warranty, this seems like a small price to pay to keep your child out of harm’s way.

More on Online Safety: Pokemon Go: From Accidents to Stranger Danger, Tips to Keeping Kids Safe

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64 Customer Reviews for TeenSafe

Average Customer Rating: 2.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 22 4 stars: 4 3 stars: 3 2 stars: 7 1 stars: 28
Bottom Line: 41% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 64
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  • Not that useful - charged me, no refunds

    We tried this for a week or so, and it just didn't work that well. It caused problems with one of our iPhones where it was hitting the Apple account multiple times and forced a password reset twice. Of course, TeenSafe claimed it wasn't their problem. I thought I had canceled it, but then I guess I didn't. TeenSafe doesn't seem to care, and there are no refunds. Also, they do not have any way to work with Snapchat, which is another reason we aren't using it.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Setup is hardly discreet. What a farce!

    • Australia,
    • Feb 21, 2017

    Prior to even using the service, I was establishing my account on their site, and then it became obvious that they had sent a verification code to my daughter's phone (she was at school at the time). Now she will know what I am doing, which renders the entire process futile. A clear message on their site warning to perform the setup only when you have private access to the target's phone would have avoided this.

    This is what happens when you leave important procedures to tech heads! I wonder if I will not experience all of the issues other users had trying to cancel this.

    What a farce.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 23, 2017

      Manhattan Perry, Marketing Director

      Sorry you encountered this issue. While we do mention you need the phone in hand there are always ways to communicate this more clearly. Per your feedback, we will look into how to improve this important step. TeenSafe was built by parents for parents so we are all ears when it comes to improving the customer experience. Per canceling the service, most issues are with refunds once data is accessed. Please let us know if you have any issues.

      Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Useless product and terrible customer service

    • North Carolina,
    • Feb 16, 2017

    Don't waste your time getting tangled up with this useless software.

    It promises to track website activity, but it doesn't. Their representative said it doesn't work for the current system software is on an Android. What the heck? When I told them to cancel my account, the representative said I could not get a refund because "I had seen data." RIGHT.

    Guess what, TeenSafe? I'm going to broadcast this review as many times as I can.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 16, 2017

      Manhattan Perry, Marketing Director

      Melinda, We responded to your other post as well so hoping you'll send us your email as we're trying to help. Sorry you are having issues. For the newest Android OS 6.0 or higher, Google does not allow access to any Internet History to any company. Operating system updates aren’t in our control and can affect our service offerings.

      In our Terms of Use it states that any use of a full access paid account by a user, no full or partial refund will be issued. That being said we do not want frustrated customers. Please send us your email and we will resolve for you. Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Does not do what it says and Customer Service said they do not refund

    • Maine,
    • Feb 15, 2017

    I downloaded this to see deleted text messages. Come to find out, the deleted text messages do not show the date or time, and most of the time no phone number either. When I asked questions about it, the customer service representative named Veronica said, "it's like a shredder, and a lot of times we just can't get that info." I asked for a refund, and she said they don't offer refunds.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 16, 2017

      Manhattan Perry, Marketing Director

      Kelly, Our goal is to deliver the best monitoring tool parents can use to keep their teens and tweens safe. Unfortunately, Apple, Google and others do not make this easy. Sorry it wasn’t as useful for you as you were hoping.

      In our Terms of Use it states that any use of a full access paid account by a user, no full or partial refund will be issued. That being said we do not want frustrated customers. Please send us your email and we will resolve for you. Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    No customer service

    I installed the app, paid the $79.99 for a year's service, but it doesn't work. I called their customer service and was told to wait for 24 hours, and that it takes a while for all of the information to load via iCloud.

    I called back after 24 hours and was told a technical support person would email me, and after another 24 hours, I received an email asking me to send them a screen shot of the error message. Really? I'm asking for a refund.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 16, 2017

      Manhattan Perry, Marketing Director

      Trina, Sorry you had issues with the installation. Screen shots help us troubleshoot as sometimes we can't determine the exact issue by description. Hopefully, everything has been resolved. Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Horrible customer service

    My daughter purchased a new phone in September, and I have been trying to get her new info rolled into the TeenSafe app. It's now January, and it's still pulling old data. I have spoken with at least four customer service reps, and they all had me jump through various hoops, and to no avail. They even told me it's an Apple issue, even though I could see her new info through iCloud, Apple, etc. It just wasn't working in their app! The last customer service rep I spoke with (Veronica) was very condescending to me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    It Doesn't Work

    • Avon, IN,
    • Dec 16, 2016

    We tried the free trial but it is extremely limited so we opted to pay the full price for the app the second day.

    Then we found out it won't block any apps our daughter downloaded or show us her web history because our phone has an updated version of Android. They were unwilling to refund our payment even though we did not get the services they advertise for their app.

    If you have an ancient phone, this app might work for you, but if you are using a relatively new device, look elsewhere.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    False advertising

    I searched for "app to monitor Snapchat" and up popped TeenSafe, saying "monitor your child's Snapchat" specifically. So I start the trial, get everything set up and no Snapchat. I write and ask them and they say they don't monitor Snapchat, it's a photo app and that would be illegal. Well, so is false advertising. I despise companies who use bait and switch or other shady methods to get customers. I'd give them a zero if I could.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Good Features

    I like the fact that I can pause my child's phone anytime which gives me the upper hand and allows me to control when she can use her phone or not.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Great App Blocker

    My main concern is how easy it is for anyone today, to download any app at any time and use it without any restrictions. My children can download whatever they want on their phones and this to me is scary. I am now using the Teensafe app to block apps like Snapchat which I don't agree my children should be using and at least it gives me a little bit of a relieve.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Pause It!

    • Florida,
    • Nov 10, 2016

    I love that I can pause the phone now! Kids need boundaries and this a great way to start setting rules.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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