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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76 Customer Reviews for TeenSafe

Average Customer Rating: 2.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 25 4 star: 4 3 star: 3 2 star: 7 1 star:  37
Bottom Line: 38% would recommend it to a friend
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great service!

    • Louisville, KY,
    • Sep 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    We needed to keep tabs on our teenage daughter and this was a perfect mechanism to follow who she was calling or communicating with. It also allowed us to keep tabs on her physical location, although that part of the app ran a bit slower than we would've liked.

    There are some other limitations. The app can keep track of who she was texting but if she used an app installed on the phone and used that app to communicate with others we couldn't see it.

    But given what this app allowed us to do and see it's a great service to parents wanting to keep a watchful eye on their children.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Useless

    • New Hampshire,
    • Sep 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Loaded this program and it worked one night, but the next day nothing showed; no text, calls, web or location. This was with a paid subscription.

    The first email said there had been an interruption in service, but they had resolved it, so I gave it another try. Nothing. I got several more emails telling me how to troubleshoot, which I followed. To no avail, still, no info showed.

    Like most people, my time is precious, so I don't have time to waste loading, deleting and reloading this program. When I pay for a service I expect it to work as advertised, and this falls significantly short.

    Even though only activated for two days, with advertised services not being provided, they won't refund. Use your $14.95 and buy yourself lunch.

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

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    • Sep 5, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Greetings,

      Sorry that the process was frustrating, we understand as parental control software is tricky to set up. 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.

      You can call (800) 245-8598 so they can pinpoint specifically what issue you’re having. Often when you’re not getting the data the next day it means your teen’s device may not be connected to WiFi or the internet overnight. This issue is easy to detect and resolve.

      Also 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. Unfortunately, in the past users have downloaded the data and canceled as they got want they wanted without wanting to pay for it.

      Again, sorry you had issues.

      Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    They just get it!

    • Oregon,
    • Aug 31, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    TeenSafe just gets parents. TeenSafe Control has been a godsend. The app works! I brick my kids' phones for bedtime and when they are out of line. No point in grounding them these days. You must call the customer service person I spoke with as I did get stuck on installing the thing, but in the end, it was so worth it. I love the pause button and really don’t know how I did it before without it. I can’t recommend this app enough.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Deceptive and shady

    • Richmond, VA,
    • Aug 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I decided to try the six-day free trial. I got a chance to see how it worked on my child's phone and decided it wasn't for me and I pretty much never thought about this company again.

    Fast forward to MANY months later I discover that TeenSafe has been charging me every month. I go into my account that I had completely forgotten about. Thankfully, I remembered the password to get in. My account is still listing me as a free trial member. I cancel my membership even though there shouldn't be anything to cancel since I just did a free trial, right? Immediately the site kicks me out. In order for me to sign back in, I've got to enter in my credit card information. Shady, right? I don't do anything else because who's to say what they'll do with my credit card information the second time I give it to them?

    What's interesting to point out is that in all these months of TeenSafe charging me not once did I get any emails reminding me of their service or anything to tip me off that I was still an active member with them. They were just VERY quietly charging me for MANY months of service, service that I never once used expect during my initial "free" trial.

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

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    • Aug 22, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Heather,

      Very sorry that this has happened to you. Many companies use free trials to begin subscriptions. Please reach out to our customer support team to help you. You can call (800)245-8598 or email support@teensafe.com.

      We have more than a million parents who have tried our services and had no intention of charging you if you don’t want to use the service. Sorry and again, please call our support team to resolve. Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't do as advertised

    • Bloomfield, MO,
    • Aug 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    We used this and paid the full subscription the first day to get the full benefits and the first day it worked great. The second day, it never showed the location of the phone and the text messages that it showed were spotty. It didn't show all of the sent messages.

    After sending an email to the support team, it picked up location but the texts never showed up. The third day, over 50 text messages were sent and received from the phone and not one of them showed up, location didn't show and new numbers our child saved didn't show.

    After chatting with the very ill informed representative, I was told if the number wasn't saved it wouldn't show up. Well, come to find out, our child DID save the number at school that day but it never showed up in her contact list. AND then I was told for this to work, the location had to be on and be connected to wifi!

    WHAT?!? Any teenager will turn those things off if they know they're being monitored so what good does this do. Needless to say, I canceled on the third day.

    We'll see what happens with the $14.95. I shouldn't be billed at all since it was technically a free trial week and this thing only worked 1/2 day, but we'll see.

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

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Sherry, we are very sorry this was a frustrating experience for you. Technologically, what we offer is very complex and at times, it's less than perfect. We’ve logged millions of successful transactions over the years and our software is highly functional but not always. Cloud-based monitoring systems all need some type of data connection with WiFi being the best.

      We certainly understand your point about location services needing to be on. Many parents find this non-negotiable, part of the privilege of having a smartphone is that location services will not be turned off. Please email me directly if you have an issue with billing at ruth.doering@teensafe.com.

      Again, we are sorry it didn’t work for your family.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Excellent product

    • Illinois,
    • Aug 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thank you TeenSafe! Thanks to the ability to read deleted texts, I was able to get my daughter out of a very dangerous situation. It would be even better if we could monitor Instagram messages and Snapchat messages, but I saw what I needed to see to make a well-informed decision for my daughter's safety and mental well being. Thank you.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    It is not working

    • Jul 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am an IT guy. I have installed TeenSafe for parents over 100 times. It used to work great, but for Apple devices, it no longer works.

    Apple changed the rules and TeenSafe hasn't been able to keep their product working. The problem is that even though TeenSafe knows it doesn't work, by their own admission (read TeenSafe's comments on these reviews), YET they continue to sell the product as a WORKING product.

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

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    • Jul 12, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Scott,

      Appreciate your assistance in helping parents install TeenSafe. Wish you could meet our IT team as they wake up each day with that same goal – how can we help parents as they walk their kids through the challenging digital minefields. We posted a blog this week with more tips on what they can do this summer before the back to school “digital flu” hits. Perhaps you can share with the parents you help. https://www.teensafe.com/blog/ultimate-guide-protecting-kids-online/

      And as an IT guy you understand the complexities of what we do – it’s not easy with continual operating system changes and most recently grave hacker threats to Apple which prompted the iCloud changes. Our small but dedicated team has been working tirelessly to resolve and are confident they’ve discovered a workaround to the industry-wide iCloud lockout issue affecting our subscribers. However, as you know writing the code, debugging and Q&A testing will take time.

      Our product is working for all Android users and many of our iOS customers have not been affected. We look forward to all subscribers using TeenSafe to protect their kids.

      Best, the TeenSafe Team

    • Aug 25, 2017

      Ann

      Scott, what else would you recommend instead?

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Does not provide services they advertise

    The main reason I got this was to monitor my kids' phones. This site advertises that they will show what apps are downloaded, what texts are sent and received, and what their internet activity is.

    I set this service up for my two kids. Text messages were only current on one of their phones. The other was delayed. The bigger issue, though, is they claim to monitor internet activity and they do not. I was paying a set amount for all their services. The internet part originally wasn't a big deal, so I let it slide for a few months.

    I then contacted customer service today to see why the internet monitoring wasn't working. They told me Google changed their privacy settings so their service can no longer monitor the internet. I asked if there was a reduced price since they no longer were offering all their services. I was told no. I also notice they are still advertising internet usage though. That's very deceptive. I canceled my account and hope I don't have the hassle of continued billing.

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

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    • Jul 5, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Greetings again Elizabeth, as we mentioned before, sorry you had issues. What we are doing is technically very difficult. 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.

      Monitoring internet works for iOS so it does get confusing. We are hoping Google will change their policy so internet activity can be monitored again.

      Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Poor

    I was three days in the trial period and what they don't tell you is within the trial period you don't have access to all the information, so I proceeded with payment to get the full version. Within one day the phone started crashing, and the screen started flickering, and the user was locked out. TeenSafe had to be uninstalled, and the phone still has flickering issues. During installation, it requires you to take down firewalls making it easy to gain viruses. I do not recommend!

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

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    • Jun 30, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Brandy,

      Please call our customer support team to discuss your issues (800)245-8598 or email support@teensafe.com. Not sure whether you have an iOS or Android device so can’t help troubleshoot without that knowledge.

      Our platform has tens of thousands of hours of Q&A testing with no issues of crashes and/or screen flickering.

      Regarding the firewall issue, again would need to know if you’re on iOS or Android but we do not ask for you to or in any way disable firewalls leaving the phone vulnerable to viruses. We do ask for you to opt in that the child’s phone is being monitored but this does not dismantle or disable any of the phone’s security features.

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  • 11 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Shame on you TeenSafe!

    • Mississippi,
    • May 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    To the TeenSafe team,

    Please stop preying on hundreds of thousands of parents who are desperately searching for a tool to monitor their children's smartphone activity! Even though you have existed since 2011, this product is still in the beta phase and should not be sold as a working solution. Until you work out the bugs, it should be free at best! In fact, you should be paying test users to tell you what your paying customers are telling you. And you should actually listen.

    The product is simply not capable of producing the advertised results! Great concept, if it actually worked without making users work overtime to work around its flaws only to find out the truth.

    Please STOP telling customers that the Apple ID lockout is not a TeenSae issue, rather it's an Apple issue. My daughter has had the same Apple ID and password for 9+ years and has never once been locked out and forced to change passwords. Since signing up for this, this has now happened four times in two weeks! This is a huge red flag as she is now aware that she is being monitored. Not to mention the headache it causes me having to constantly change the password and try to explain to her that "it's an Apple thing."

    This is NOT an Apple issue, rather it's a TeenSafe issue. Apple is doing their job by maintaining robust security to their customers. TeenSafe's workaround is to create another Apple ID (which is ridiculous). Please explain how that will prevent this from occurring over and over? Until TeenSafe can build a relationship with Apple and work together to resolve this, the product you are selling is only giving false hope to us parents!

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

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    • Jun 30, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      We understand that you are frustrated but ask you to consider our position as well. Our team is working very long hours to resolve this industry-wide issue affecting successful monitoring of iPhones. We do not have this issue with Android.

      Since early March we have been reporting several instances of Apple locking iCloud accounts. Apple locks iCloud accounts with no patterned or reason. They can lock instantly, or on one of several locking cycles which range from seconds to days. This is an industry-wide issue affecting everyone.

      They followed the threats by the Turkish hackers to wipe millions of iCloud accounts and the CIA documents publication by WiliLeaks about critical iOS vulnerabilities. These security measures provoked repeat Apple iCloud account locks of the majority of iOS devices users.

      The iOS update, released at the end of April, made it difficult to retrieve data via the iCloud system.

      Again, we understand your frustration and our team is working very hard to resolve.

    • Jul 10, 2017

      Scott

      Stacey is 100% correct. It is not Apple's fault. I am an Apple technician and I haven't had a single person complain of REPEATED iCloud lockout, only TeenSafe users. We know that Apple changed the rules and you guys are busting your butts to catch up with them to create a working product.

      Until then, quit selling it and quit charging people. Your product simply doesn't work anymore for Apple users and until it gets fixed your scamming parents who need help.

    • Jul 29, 2017

      Stacy

      The lockout ONLY happens when we update the data on your website. It is annoying and very frustrating. This is a TeenSafe issue but with each Apple update, I have noticed changes in the data we receive.

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  • 14 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Stay far away!

    • New York,
    • Apr 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a scam website. I signed up in the evening to monitor my kid's activity, and the next day I was locked out of all my iCloud accounts. Obviously, Apple thinks this is a scam, and I kick myself for not researching more before I signed up. I called them and they said they are aware of the issue but nothing they can do. I asked for a refund, and they said no.

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

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    • Apr 11, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Greetings, our business is not a scam. We have millions of parents who’ve successfully interacted with TeenSafe. Since 2011 our products and services have helped hundreds of thousands of parents safeguard their children from harm. Nothing about our business, product, blog, charitable donations, 30+ employees, and more is engaged in or in any way part of a scam. Our relationship with Apple is not an issue.

      Our customer support team did explain that the iCloud lock out is not due to TeenSafe, but Apple. There are articles about the Apple iCloud password lock out issue online as it has affected thousands of users, many more beyond just our customers. If it was TeenSafe we would have a fix, as we support and celebrate a 99 percent uptime over technology within our control. Unfortunately, what is going on with Apple’s iCloud is outside of our control.

      In instances where parents use our products and services we offer fair value at cents on the day. In other special circumstances, we will offer a refund when users never used the service. We are a business that protects against others trying to scam us by using the service and then not paying for it. Our systems are able to track and verify against these instances.

      Again, sorry you had these issues.

      Best,

      The TeenSafe team

    • Apr 21, 2017

      Kim

      I use another iCloud monitoring company, and it is having the same issue with the Apple ID being locked out after the third synchronization. After working with Apple for over a month and testing two different Apple devices, it has been determined that it is the monitoring software issue and not Apple. The two devices that are not connected to the monitoring company do not have any iCloud lockout and have no issues. So it is the monitoring software companies that need to fix this.

    • May 24, 2017

      Alan Blair

      TeenSafe is stealing people's money. It used to work great. We loved it. Then Apple changed the rules. TeenSafe Apple now locks out my child's Apple ID daily. TeenSafe tech support says that we need to create a new Apple ID to get it to work, that sucks. We did it anyway, the next day and got locked out again! I know the issue is with Apple, but TeenSafe continues to take people's money and they know it doesn't work anymore.

      Somebody should start a class action lawsuit against these crooks. I have tried three different times with three different accounts and I have the same results every time. It doesn't work, so don't buy it, don't download it, and don't even do the free trial. Hopefully, they will fix it soon, for now (May 2017) it's useless. They also won't issue refunds! Read the other reviews you will see that what I am saying is true.

      If you're reading this, skip TeenSafe. Instead, try Phone Sherriff, iPhone Investigator or just monitor the kids iMessages on an old iPad or old iTouch by logging into the second device as a mirroring device. TeenSafe will respond to this review with an excuse how their program works for Androids but not all Apple devices. It's not their fault but they should stop selling the product to the Apple users until it is resolved. But, they continue anyway!

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