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


  • Waste of money

    • By Kim Taylor,
    • Denison, TX,
    • Feb 24, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm very disappointed in this. It's supposed to record your child's deleted text messages. Well, guess what? It didn't@ Here it is two months later and last texts it shows were from from December 25th. I know texts have been deleted since then off my child's phone because I deleted some myself! Save your money because otherwise, you may be disappointed as well.

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


  • False advertising.

    • By Patricia Tallent,
    • Knoxville, TN,
    • Feb 14, 2016

    TeenSafe does not deliver what they advertise. With this service you cannot see deleted texts and not even most of regular texts. When I called to see if there was something I was doing wrong, they were very rude and said that they don't advertise that you can see "all" texts. This company is very misleading. Do not use this service.

    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


  • They misrepresent

    • By Flower,
    • Apr 1, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    It is a joke. You waste more time waiting for them to "supposedly" fix their website, than your are tracking your kids. Basically your are paying for excuses, in reality they don't have the best interest for your child's well being. Be careful what company you choose to literally throw your money out.

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


  • Not for Androids

    • By Jkim,
    • New England, USA,
    • Mar 28, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    If the target device isn't an iPhone, don't bother. All you can do is monitor texts (but not picture or video messages) and see call logs. You can do that for FREE with either apps.

    You can't see Kik, SnapChat, TeenChat or any of the apps teens are ACTUALLY using. You can't even see Facebook. Oh, and they don't refund you once you figure this out. You're better off with Norton Family or Pumpic.

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


  • Stay far away!

    • By A,
    • 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

    • Apr 11, 2017

      Company Response from Gryffin Media

      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


  • You can only see limited activity

    • By Anonymous,
    • Usa,
    • May 4, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've given this program a fair 2 month try and it is most definitely not worth it. The claim is that you can see all Internet and search activity but you can't see anything done in private browsing mode. And, let's face it, if they are visiting places they don't want you to know about, it will be done in private. And it only shows they visited Google X number of times but not what they searched for.

    My latest update shows there are no texts or deleted texts to view. My bill says there should be hundreds of texts. My update has also shown days at a time where there is no activity. My bill again says otherwise.

    It is great in theory, especially when you hear of kids being abducted by online preditors, but all I really see is what they want me to see. And what I can view by asking them to view their phone. Anything they want hidden remains hidden. Save your money.

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


  • Shame on you TeenSafe!

    • By Stacy James,
    • 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

    • Jun 30, 2017

      Company Response from Gryffin Media

      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.


  • Not so great

    • By Shannon,
    • Jun 16, 2015

    Not at all impressed with this service. I find the "free trial" offer very misleading because you only see up to 3 texts. All information is 24 hours behind real time, which makes it not as helpful. Even logging in every 24 hours (cycle for iCloud backup), I don't see current texts. After a week, I'm already looking for a new service that can actually help me monitor my child's iPhone activity.

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


Showing 1-11 of 102

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