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

Read 102 TeenSafe Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 2.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 28 4 star: 7 3 star: 4 2 star: 8 1 star:  55
Bottom Line: 35% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 102
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  • It works GREAT for me

    • By Anonymous,
    • Aug 17, 2015

    I love TeenSafe! I've been using it for about a year. My daughter has an iPhone and iCloud backups were already set up so setting up TeenSafe was easy. It's true that the data is 24 hours old, but I still find that very helpful. If you need instant access to texts, this is not the app for you and you probably have a bigger problem with your teen. It has never taken 6 hours to retrieve data. I think the most I've waited is about 15 minutes.

    The two times I have had technical issues, support was responsive. One problem with viewing Kik messages went away on it's own. Currently I am waiting to hear back on a problem with seeing the latest data, but support has been communicating with me. The majority of the time, the app works with no problems.

    One time I had a problem with getting my credit card info updated. They fixed that right away too.

    I am a very happy customer.

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

  • Works for our Family

    • By Rose,
    • Oct 26, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am really pleased with the TeenSafe App and had no issues with the installation on my iPhone, making it a user friendly system. We decided to talk to our daughter and she agreed to it. She understands that the passwords will need to remain the same in order for my husband and I to be able to use the app. If she makes any changes, then she should let us know. This system not only keeps us informed but has kept us closer to our daughter and strengthen our relationship.

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

  • Recommended to other Parents

    A feature I really like about this app, is that it lets me view incoming and outgoing calls and installed apps on their smartphones, because there is a lot of spam and there are some really “bad” players out there that I don’t want them to fall victim to.

    It did take me a little bit of time to set up my account at the beginning, but considering the peace of mind I have now, it was definitely worth it. I actually also recommended it to a friend, because her son is getting bullied at school and on social media. She told me he never wants to talk about what happened at school or online. When kids get to a certain age (trust me, I have two teens, I know!) they just don’t talk much anymore, but some things are simply important to talk about. Of course they don’t know it, since they are still young. But TeenSafe really helped her understand what her son was going through, so she could help and be there for him.

    At first I was doubtful about it, but after seeing how it can help (not just me), I have to give TeenSafe five stars.

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

  • Technology at its Best!

    We have iPhones at home. There was an iOS 9 upgrade and Teensafe kept up with it. We had no issues in retrieving the data and just had to do a quick update on my computer to the Teensafe app. My children did not even notice it since it does not show up on their phones. Kudos to Teensafe for keeping up with this evolving technology.

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

  • Exceptional Customer Service

    Every time that I have to speak with one of those Customer Service lines, I always end up frustrated and with little or no resolution to my problem. I signed up for the TeenSafe App and my credit card was charged twice incorrectly. I was upset and just wanted my money back, but was really interested in giving this App a chance mostly because I am having issues with my daughter, that I decided to call their Customer Service number. To my surprise, the Representative was really helpful. They went above and beyond to assure me that this would never happen again and did a great job in keeping his cool when I was being angry, did not sound like a robot (as some do) and they reimbursed me for the amount they withdrew in error. This experience definitely made me want to give TeenSafe a chance and I do not regret it. I have been on board for the last 3 months and loving it!

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

  • Blocking Apps

    • By Josephine Frank,
    • Jan 28, 2016

    There is one thing I am really excited about now and it is the new way you can block apps with TeenSafe. I love the fact that I have control over so many features within my child's phone. The other thing I really like is that I am able to monitor her Instagram, so no questionable pictures float around the internet or that she does not receive any. People out there are really cruel and they can manipulate a child's mind in a heartbeat.

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

  • Location, location, location.

    As a parent you always wonder "where is my child?" I have a 14 and a 16 year old and try to give them all the confidence in the world, but I don't trust people out there. I work all day and do not have a crystal ball to figure out everything, but I do have TeenSafe to help me locate my girls and that brings peace to my world.

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

  • One Step Ahead

    I believe that as parents we are responsible for how our children behave (up to a certain extent) and what they do on a daily basis. We need to make sure that they are not getting in trouble and this is why I signed up for Teensafe. I feel assured that I am a step ahead on their moves. I have heard other parents say they trust their kids and would not monitor, but my opinion is that this is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of keeping our children safe.

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

  • Black List

    My heart broke when I read about Nicole, the girl in VA who was murdered a couple of weeks ago after being victim of horrible people who find their preys on social media channels. I am a parent and really get stressed out when I hear about this stories because this can happen to anyone. It seems like kids have access to so many things through the internet that it is almost impossible to control, although you can certainly rely on apps like Teensafe to help you through this journey of raising kids. I read their 2016 Black Apps List http://www.teensafe.com/blog/new-year-new-apps-block-teensafe-2016-app-blacklist/ and would suggest you take a look at it. I learned of Apps I had not ever heard of in my life. Educate yourselves and be on top of everything. This world is really crazy today and our children need to be protected.

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

  • Privacy or Safety

    I ask myself sometimes if I should be sneaking into my child's conversations and her whereabouts. At the end of the day, the answer is always YES! As parents, we are concerned with the well being of our children and her safety is my main priority. I don't think that a minor needs "privacy" and do think that they need guidance in their life to make sure they do the right thing at all times. Apps like Teensafe help me get involved and get to know what is going on in the life of my child.

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

  • KIK is a dangerous app

    Take care of your children, they are very vulnerable when they are young and we need to make sure we put them on the right track. My son is using KIK and I am not a fan. This app can be dangerous and gives predators access to their young minds. A guy was trying to get my son to send him pictures of himself. Thank God I had signed up for TeenSafe and was able to detect this situation. We need to keep our eyes opened at all times.

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

Showing 1-11 of 102

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