Author Topic: cell phone parental controls  (Read 3690 times)

Travis

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cell phone parental controls
« on: September 20, 2014, 12:11:16 AM »
Is it possible to read text message content through an AT&T account?  My friend and her daughter have iphones on AT&T and she's trying to figure out if there is a way to check her daughter's text messages.

sol

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2014, 12:29:14 AM »
Sure, there's a really easy way and it doesn't even require an ATT&T account.

Go put your hands on the kid's phone and read them on the device they were sent to/from.

Oh, did you mean to ask "is there a way to SECRETLY read someone else's text messages"?  In that case the only help I can tell you is that you need to be more open with your children about the rights and responsibilities inherent in the parent/child relationship.

Prepube

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 12:37:47 AM »
Sure, there's a really easy way and it doesn't even require an ATT&T account.

Go put your hands on the kid's phone and read them on the device they were sent to/from.

Oh, did you mean to ask "is there a way to SECRETLY read someone else's text messages"?  In that case the only help I can tell you is that you need to be more open with your children about the rights and responsibilities inherent in the parent/child relationship.

+1
Yup.  Sol got that right.  Go talk to the kid.  Worried about sexting?  Talk to the kid.  Worried about who the friends are?  Talk to the kid.  Worried about cyberbullying?  Talk to the kid.  Worried that inappropriate language is being used?  Get a life, this is a kid.  Just talk to them, and if there's pushback, you need to assert who is actually in charge of everything... I.e., the parent, and good parents keep tabs (appropriately) on what the kid is doing.

Noodle

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2014, 05:28:53 PM »
You can't read the content of the text messages, but you can tell how many were sent, what time, and what phone numbers receive them. My friend's son knows that his Dad checks the account every so often to enforce the house rules about when cell phones can be used (ie, not the middle of the night or during the school day). He will also ask who the new friend is if there are suddenly a lot of texts or calls with a number he doesn't recognize. I don't think Son particularly enjoys it but since his parents told him when he got the phone that they'd be checking the usage I don't think he finds it any more unfair than other family rules.

GizmoTX

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2014, 06:05:30 PM »
AT&T provides a free service to block purchases through the phone & a for-pay service to block numbers, 411, & set calling hours. http://www.att.net/smartcontrols-WirelessParentalControls.

We simply monitored the usage (online or on the bill) & told DS that his phone was history if he violated family rules, which he never did. Also, his school banned cellphones during class hours & confiscated any being used.

DS needed to use a computer for most of his school work during middle & high school, so we enabled parental controls on it to control usage hours & block adult internet sites. We took them off during his senior year in HS, so we could see how he handled it before he went away to college.

Travis

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 04:31:06 AM »
Sol, Prepube, yes they obviously have some issues to work out between them, but I was willing to humor her with a more technical answer.  From what I've been able to figure out being an Apple product the phone can be regularly synced and backed up (texts included) to the ITunes program on the computer it is plugged into, but the texts don't go to the cloud and that backup file needs additional software to be read unless it is being used to reload the phone.  I told my friend the same thing Noodle did about only being able to see the frequency of texts and the phone numbers associated with them.

GuitarStv

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 09:55:43 AM »
Why does a child need a cellphone to begin with?

Noodle

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2014, 10:19:59 AM »
Why does a child need a cellphone to begin with?

Well, at the most basic level, a lot of parents want their kids to have cellphones when they reach the age of doing activities independently, to coordinate pick-up and drop-off and, if it's GPS enabled, to be able to know where the kid is. (Having had a couple of incidents as a teen where I was supposed to use a payphone to call for a ride that turned out not to be working, I sympathize.) Beyond that, it does turn into more of a luxury. If you have a kid with social issues, for instance, you would probably want your child not to be cut off from his peers' preferred way of communicating. Most families I know, middle school is the age of the first cell phone and certainly not always a smart phone, so it's not little kids having phones.

mudgestache

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Re: cell phone parental controls
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2014, 01:26:41 PM »
We do random checks of phones and most of the time our kids don't even know we checked. It was part of our original agreement when we got them. Our kids are aware that those are OUR phones that we allow them to have for OUR convenience and I think that distinction makes a difference. We haven't had any problems.