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

Write a Review
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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  • Won't pay a dime for it. Worst customer support

    • By Nick Tomer,
    • Helsinki, Finland,
    • Jul 21, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    That's a balanced review out there that you've done but my experience with TeenSafe hasn't been one bit good. Social media monitoring is so complicated, I never got a hang of it. They think my children are so sweet that they'd share their FB password and usernames with me Customer support is awful and too slow. You have to wait a solid 30 minutes before you get to the support reps. It happened twice with me. They need to up their game real soon or lose completely to apps like FamilyTime. FamilyTime is, by the way, my current parental control app.

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

  • Scam

    • By DeDe Smith,
    • Wyoming,
    • May 30, 2015

    Teen Safe is NOT worth it. I tried their trial period, but you can't access more than the first text in a conversation. So I upgraded, my account was charged, but I still was not able to access more than the first text in a conversation. I don't think they have the technical issues worked out with this system. They did refund my money since they could see that no information was downloaded.

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

  • You can only get some info

    I used Teen Safe on my kids' iPhones. It works by backing up the phone to iCloud and restoring it to TeenSafe's web site so you can view it via their portal. It doesn't update data automatically and is only as current as the most recent backup.

    The advertised GPS functionality is something I was never able to get working. It doesn't show location history nor was I able to reliably look at their current location. I am able to track their location through other means. (Find My Friends on Apple iPhone does this outside of TeenSafe.)

    It does not show you any photo or video content. If you're hoping to ensure your child is not engaging in sexting, etc, this product is useless.

    It doesn't monitor SnapChat. It does monitor Kik but the messages are not threaded and photos are not shown. Text messages are not organized into conversations.

    Instagram is no longer supported.

    Facebook monitoring is done by linking the account to into the TeenSafe dashboard. Frankly, since you need all of the passwords for each of these accounts anyway, you'd be better off simply logging into the various accounts as them to see what they're up to.

    The bottom line: This product is more or less useless and delivers far less than is promised by the company.

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

  • I regret I signed up for trial. Don't do it.

    • By Laura Williams,
    • Battle Creek, MI ,
    • Jul 4, 2015

    Don't purchase or sign up for the trial. My debit card was charged twice and I have tried to call the 800 number for two days with no answer and no voice mail. There's no help at all. I'm wanting to cancel my account after two days. I am going to tell everyone I know to stay away from this service!

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

  • Deceptive Advertising

    • By Curtis,
    • Newton, KS,
    • Jul 15, 2015

    The product says it monitors Facebook, but when you go to the monitoring screen you find out it no longer does. It also indicates it monitors WhatsApp and Kik, but there is a tiny disclaimer in a color that almost blends to the background that says this only works for iPhone. Since I have an Android and the only reason for trying this software was to monitor social media, it is worthless to me.

    So on day 7 I was going to cancel the trial, but that's when you find out the cancellation has to actually happen no later than day six, and there are no refunds for any reason.

    The software may be ok if you have an iPhone and don't care about monitoring Facebook, but it's way overpriced for an Android user for the little features you get that can be found free or near free.

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

  • Does not work.

    • By Todd,
    • Las Vegas,
    • Jul 16, 2015

    That is how teens can keep you from seeing the text they send and receive. They send, delete immediately and you only see that a test was sent. Can not read the message. TeenSafe also has this lie they tell about MMS and not wanting to allow you to see pictures that were sent or received for some reason of protecting you or the people sending the pictures. Their software just cannot do this so they have an excuse that they use.

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

  • What a joke

    • By Jillian,
    • Dallas, TX,
    • Jul 26, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I downloaded this because I had suspicions that my teen was being cyber bullied. Someone was pretending to be her, basically, and I wanted to show proof that it was not her phone sending certain messages.

    The set up process is insane, creating separate iCloud accounts, doing long back ups which require hours of having your teens phone plugged in and online. My daughter knew what I was doing, but I don't know a parent who was trying to be secretive would manage to do this!

    Also, their log in page would sometimes recognize my account and sometimes not. When I finally got her phone on the account, it said it would take about 6 hours to retrieve data. Wow. Okay. So I went to bed. 12 hours later, I sat down only to see nothing had happened. I had to start over, getting the same message about it taking 6 hours.

    Oh, and this was funny: you have the option to add your child's Instagram account. I thought, "sure, why not". You have to put in their Instagram name and password. There is a little button next to the login that says "How to find your child's login info", so I clicked it. It leads you to a different screen that says -- not joking -- "Ask your child for their log in info". Seriously? Why am I going to pay them $15 a month, when I can just log in as them and see everything I want to see, because they gave me their info?

    This has been a huge waste of time, and I'm going to see what else is out there.

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

  • Rip off

    • By Michael P,
    • Milwaukee, WI,
    • Aug 7, 2015

    First of all, overpriced for what you get. My daughter has an Apple 6. The texts get transferred to TeenSafe 24 hours after they take place. If you're lucky. If your child upgrades his operating system, you lose ALL previous texts, call logs and web activity. They obviously don't tell you this up front.

    The deleted texts you do get, don't show a name or a date. Look elsewhere if you need to monitor a teen.

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

  • Waste of time and money

    • By Maria,
    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Aug 3, 2015

    First of all, it takes "up to 6 hours" for retrieval of data and then that data is going to be 4-6 hours old from time you click to get the latest update. So if you are really concerned about your teen, the information you will get is too old to do anything with. Nothing is up to the minute so don't be fooled to think you can track your kids and keep them safe. You'll be notified by the police that something is wrong long before you can get the "latest update" from the website. A very disappointing waste of time and money.

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

  • Waste of money

    Don't waste your money! DO NOT BUY! I've followed every instruction and video I could find and I've NEVER received any reports from my son's phone. NEVER. I've tried everything. I reached out to customer support and have been ignored. Don't bother. Go with Phone Sheriff instead.

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

  • Horrible, a waste of money.

    • By Jeff Dinovitzer,
    • Englewood, NJ,
    • Aug 27, 2015

    TeenSafe is a waste of money and time. We were not able to get updated information, even though we waited for the data to download. This program is not constructed well and can not give you the information you need when you need it. We absolutely DO NOT recommend. Don't waste your time.

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

Showing 1-11 of 102

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