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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56 Customer Reviews for TeenSafe

Average Customer Rating: 3.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 22 4 stars: 4 3 stars: 3 2 stars: 6 1 stars: 21
Bottom Line: 46% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 56
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  • 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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  • 1 out 1 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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  • 3 out 3 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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    They will charge you even if canceled

    • Texas,
    • Nov 10, 2016

    I was still charged two days after canceling. You need to find out whether your SMS or text uses an app as the service doesn't monitor it.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Managing the App

    • Florida,
    • Oct 23, 2016

    Download the app and you will be able to pause the phone at any time, including at nights when kids should be going to bed.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Trust your kids, but do you trust others?

    So as a "Soccer Mom", some of my friends tell me I have nothing better to do than check up on my kids and they laugh. Well, to that I say I am committed to being a great parent and that includes monitoring what they do. I do trust my kids, but not everyone around them. I see on the news all sorts of horror stories about predators and how they destroy young kids and their families. I don't want this to happen to my children and this is why I decided to sign up for Teensafe. So far all good with the service. I would love for Snapchat to be included for monitoring, but at least now when you download the Manage app you can pause the use of those apps you can't monitor.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Pause and be safe

    Teensafe came out with the Manage app which you can download and pause your child's phone whenever you want. In my case, I have a 16 year old daughter addicted to the phone and texting, and already has a driver's permit. I told her that I will be pausing her phone while she borrows my car and drives so that I can make sure she will be safe on the road and keep others safe as well. I think it is a great feature and allows me to give her the car keys with less worry.

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

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Not exactly covert

    • Rhode Island,
    • Sep 20, 2016

    I just use the tracker and the SMS text monitor. The tracker is not that accurate. It shows my child in the parking lot next door to the school while she's in class.

    But the worst part is, iCloud sends her tons of messages over and over that her Apple ID was accessed by an outside account. When I called the Teensafe company, they said that they were aware of it and were working on it.

    Looking for a better option that's more discreet.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Good but not great

    • Georgia,
    • Sep 20, 2016

    I love the idea and did the free trial. The only drawback to me was that it did not allow you to view the pictures and videos sent to your child's phone. To me, that is an important aspect to be monitoring.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Social Media and too much exposure

    Teenager's lives are exposed on the internet for everyone to see. They can be bullied over different social media channels and can be contacted by weird people who can harm them. Since they are young, they want all their friends to see their pictures, how pretty they look, the new clothes they wear and who they hang out with. I may be considered an old fashion mom, as parents we should know who their friends are and what they do while navigating online. That is why I use Teensafe with my 14-year-old daughter and it helps me get inside that world of hers which can be a little tricky to understand.

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

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Great Support Team

    I experienced a really difficult time this past week with the new TeenSafe app installation. I tried several times but unable to do so. I decided to call the Support Team and the rep was very helpful and explained that they were having some technical difficulties but as soon as the issue was fixed, I would receive an email with instructions. He gave great advise and information in regards to the installation process and said that if I needed help when installing to please call back and ask for him. This was absolutely true. I decided to call back once the issue was fixed and talked to Todd who was able to help me install the app in less than 10 minutes.

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

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