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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88 Consumer Reviews for TeenSafe

Average Consumer Rating: 2.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 26 4 star: 7 3 star: 4 2 star: 7 1 star:  44
Bottom Line: 39% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 88
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  • Keeping my kids safe

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Feb 22, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    These last couple of days after the horrendous massacre at the Florida school, I have been a little more anxious than usual. Being able to use an app like TeenSafe helps me calm down a little bit and know what my kids are up to. These are tough times for parents to keep our children safe.

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

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  • Don't waste your money

    • Virginia Beach, VA,
    • Feb 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had this for approximately four days, and it hasn't updated texts, nor deleted texts and the phone log. When I first registered my son's iPhone, it showed old texts, and phone logs from 3 days ago and hasn't updated since. Plus, it only showed one deleted text when I know my son has deleted quite a few texts.

    This product does not deliver as it says. Waste of time and money. I even contacted tech support, and all I got was a response saying they received my email and that someone would get back with me. I am still waiting.

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

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    • Feb 20, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Dan,

      I spoke to our customer service reps who shared that they have been working with you. They mentioned that you recently upgraded to the latest iOS 11.2.5 and that your backup is very, very small. The file being that small means that there would not be any deleted data or very little. When a device upgrades to a new iOS all the older data is gone from the last iOS you were running.

      It also showed that you haven’t clicked on the “Get Latest Data” button lately. To retrieve data make sure the device has a new iCloud backup completed by Apple once a night so that you can download new data once a day.

      Please reach out to again to our customer support team to help you if you have any other questions. You can call (800) 245-8598 or email support@teensafe.com.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Bait and switch

    • Idaho,
    • Jan 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When you read the advertisement, it seems like this site can monitor everything on your teen's phone, but that's not true! With new laws, they can't monitor any social media. With new phones, they can't even monitor web history. When you call tech support, they're very proud of being able to monitor text messages. WOW, that would be great if teens used text messaging, but as we know, they don't.

    Don't pay for this site! Complete waste of money. You can download free apps that do the same as this site.

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

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    • Jan 16, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      D.B.

      You are correct that many social media platforms can’t be monitored without jailbreaking the phone, which we do not recommend. Our founder’s daughter was a victim of intense cyberbullying. He started TeenSafe to give parents options to keep their kid’s safe. Every family’s situation is different but for some text monitoring is useful. We also show call history and phone location.

      At TeenSafe, we are also proud of the many educational tools we provide to parents from detailed screen-by-screen guides on how to set privacy settings, to bi-weekly blogs on relevant safety topics. We have the same goals regarding keeping our kids safe from overuse and misuse of smartphones. However, from a technology perspective, monitoring is a very difficult task.

      Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't work with iPhone

    • Little Rock, AR,
    • Jan 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    TeenSafe won't work with iPhone. The way it is supposed to work, after you sign up, you enter your child's Apple ID and password on the TeenSafe site and then you can view your child's texts, web searches, etc.; TeenSafe pulls this info from your child's iCloud. Except, when TeenSafe does this, Apple thinks it is an intrusion and locks your child's account for "security reasons." Your child's Apple ID account is then locked until you verify it and change the Apple ID password. It happens every time TeenSafe accesses your child's iCloud; do this too many times and you get permanently locked.

    I contacted TeenSafe customer service, and they said this is a "known issue" with the "highest resolution priority," but there is "no ETA" as to when this will be resolved. This makes TeenSafe useless with an iPhone. And, they refused to refund my money (both when I emailed and when I called). All they would say is "you purchased the service for 30 days, and there are no refunds," even as they acknowledged their service doesn't work! Don't waste your money.

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

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    • Jan 15, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Julie,

      I have contacted our CSR team for you per your email and we will resolve.

      Again, we totally understand your frustration in dealing with the Apple iCloud account lockout issue. We have resources working on this issue but as you can tell Apple is not making it easy for our industry. It is difficult to determine the exact cause, as various factors seem to contribute to account lockouts and they can happen instantly or can be delayed by a day or more. And, not every customer who performs the same pattern of actions is affected in the same way.

      While detecting the precise cause is difficult the issue is industry-wide and affects all monitoring services.

      Best, the TeenSafe team

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    This app is useless

    This app promises a lot but fails to deliver.

    I put this on my daughter's iPhone and right off the back I needed her Apple ID, password, and then she had some two-factor authentication, which was a huge pain in the butt. Once my daughter got whiff of the app, she changed her Apple ID password on me, and that was lost, and I lost all control and information from her phone.

    Don't waste your money parents; there are better apps out there that do much more with less hassle on the parents' part. TeenSafe needs to go back to the drawing board.

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

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    • Jan 9, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Luis,

      I know this can be infuriating, and sorry you are having to deal with the Apple iCloud account lockout issue.

      It is difficult to determine the exact cause, as various factors seem to contribute to account lockouts and they can happen instantly or can be delayed by a day or more. Moreover, not every customer who performs the same pattern of actions is affected in the same way.

      While detecting the precise cause is difficult, what is clear is that the issue is industry-wide and affects all monitoring services. Changes in iOS and iCloud software have made monitoring a challenge. Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • It allows me to keep an eye on my son

    I like that this app offers different ways in which I can monitor my son. I can even view deleted messages. I recommend to parents to speak with their children since having open communication is key, that way they don't make effort to change passwords and keep things from you as well. My son just turned 13, and it helps me keep an eye on him when I need to.

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

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  • Good service

    I have been using TeenSafe for about three months now. It has not been easy to navigate, so I usually send emails or call the service line to get help, since I don't want help from anyone else for this. So I do use it regularly and it works. I know it must do more than I can understand but for what I need it, and it's OK. I don't give it full stars because one of my kids changed their Facebook password and I haven't been able to log on to monitor (he is 14). Other than that, I'm getting the hang of it.

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

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    • Jan 11, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Thanks Julia, please continue to call us when you have an issue.

      Best, the TeenSafe team.

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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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    • Jan 11, 2018

      TeenSafe Team, Marketing Director

      Thanks Nelson. What we do is technologically very difficult, so please understand that it can be difficult to use. We continue to try and make the app better.

      Best, the TeenSafe team.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    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 2 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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  • 2 out 2 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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