Watch CBS News

Parents Using Spyware To Combat Against Free Apps Hiding Children's Texts, Phone Calls

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Parents are using spyware in an effort to monitor their children's social media interactions.

CBS2's Emily Smith reported different types of spyware can combat against free apps that hide texts and phone calls children don't want their parents to see. One app looks like a calculator with a percentage sign next to it.

Fi-Tech chief executive officer Ian Marlowe said parents can look into, Teen Safe and to allow them to see what's on their child's cellphone.

"It's like buying cable channels – you choose your level. Am I monitoring what is going on the web? Am I monitoring what kind of app they have and you have that control," Marlowe said.

Before handing children a new cellphone, parents can purchase the app and sync it to their computer.

"You just have to be transparent," Marlowe explained. "If not, they wonder, 'Hey, this happened. Why did this happen? Something is wrong with my phone.'"

The spyware apps can cost from $50 to $300.

Parenting expert Tammy Gold, who has three daughters, has been researching ways to monitor those private moments that go on when a child has unlimited access to emails, texts and social media.

"It's a permanent record. Bullying and harassment, even in jest, can damage a child down the road," Gold said.

Some parents choose to spot-check their children and let them know about it, but that's not fail safe. Children have been using a secret language code including: ADIH (another day in hell); LMIRL (let's meet in real life); PAW (parents are watching); and PIR (parents in room).

Marlowe said once a child starts paying for their cellphone it's time for parents to take a step back, but until that day, parenting experts said it's all fair game.

Experts added that at the very least parents should have their children's passwords and know what to look for in the ever-changing digital world.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.