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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81 Consumer Reviews for TeenSafe

Average Consumer Rating: 2.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 25 4 star: 5 3 star: 4 2 star: 7 1 star:  40
Bottom Line: 38% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 81
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  • It works

    I've tried TeenSafe for a couple of months now. I can't say that I'm a fan in terms of the technical use because I've encountered various bugs in the system that makes it somewhat difficult to use at times. But it does what it says it's supposed to do; I know where my daughter is when I want to know and have access to information that allows me to keep her safe. So it works, but I can't give it five stars.

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

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  • Terrible!

    This is the worse app I have ever dealt with. NOT user-friendly at all AND not convenient. Continuous problems. Although customer service is excellent, TeenSafe leaves a lot to be desired.

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

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    • Nov 27, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Teresa,

      We understand why you are dissatisfied. What we do is very difficult, and we also wish the installation was simpler and the procedures more intuitive. Our R&D team continues to research a simpler approach to a complex issue.

      Our goal is to provide the best tools possible to help parents become more digital-safety savvy but it isn’t easy. Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Better than I expected

    I had read previous reviews about TeenSafe and not all of them were good, so I was a little skeptical about trying it out. After the free trial, I decided I wanted to try it out a bit longer, and I was surprised that the app allowed me to see way more than I expected regarding my son's messages and photos. I particularly like that I am able to know where he is at certain times. I try not to use it often since I want to give him space, but it helps me sleep better at night knowing that I have some control over what he sees, who he spends his time with, and where he goes after school. I guess I will use this tool for a few more years until I feel he is old enough to monitor.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    NOT user friendly - have tried twice!

    I just canceled TeenSafe for the second time. Ran into far too many "bugs" and found it very difficult to troubleshoot. Not intuitive at all and too time-consuming to figure out, even when calling the TeenSafe support line. The two occasions I really needed it, I wasn't able to accomplish anything. I've decided I would much rather just be up front with my daughter about accessing her device than to try to do it "behind the scenes."

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

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    • Nov 28, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Stephanie,

      Sorry you had a difficult time! Monitoring smartphones is not at all easy and therefore it can be difficult to install. Thought we would share two links that may help with your digital parenting. Perhaps a smartphone contract can help with the process of accessing her device. The other link is other ways you can help safeguard your daughter. Again, we’re sorry TeenSafe didn’t work for you.

      https://www.teensafe.com/blog/smartphone-contract-2/

      https://www.teensafe.com/blog/ultimate-guide-protecting-kids-online/

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  • Garbage app

    • Indiana,
    • Nov 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Too complex to install (install was ridiculously long and only can support one device per child when most kids now have an iPad for school and cell phone), and too complex to maintain. It worked for three days, then ceased working. I was working out of state and wanted to check on my son's whereabouts while I traveled, but the app ceased working and puked. Not only was I paying $9.95 via Apple per month, but then TeenSafe was billing me $14.95 per month on my credit card.

    I do not have time to babysit this app and its eccentricities. I would recommend going elsewhere.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      This sounds infuriating, we’re sorry that this has been your experience. Our goal is to deliver the best monitoring tool parents can use to keep their teens and tweens safe.

      The service we offer is technologically difficult and this can be reflected in the installation process. Without more details, we’re not sure why it stopped working for you. We wish you would have called our customer support team to help you. If you’re still interested please call (800)245-8598 or email support@teensafe.com.

      Given what you’re being billed, you signed up for both of our services and we understand there can be product confusion. TeenSafe Monitor allows you to 1) view web browser history 2) sent, received and deleted SMS and iMessages 3) call logs of incoming and outgoing calls including contact name, number, date, and duration. 4) and see your teen’s current smartphone location on a map as well a history of the phone’s location.

      And through Apple, you have the TeenSafe Control app that enables parents to block apps, set restrictions, or pause the teen’s phone at bedtime, dinnertime, study time, and to prevent texting while driving, among many other uses.

      We know your time is valuable and are sorry the software did not meet your expectations.

      Best, the TeenSafe team

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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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  • 3 out 3 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 3 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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  • 5 out 7 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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  • 2 out 2 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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