How to Monitor Your Child's Cell Phone and Internet Activity

Sexting, a scary new trend where teens send nude or semi-nude photos via cell phone, is popping up throughout the country. Children can be prosecuted and marked as criminals for the rest of their lives if they're caught with a provocative photo on their cell phone. Could your child be participating in this act? Are you aware of what your child is doing online? The following programs can help you monitor  your kids' cell phone and Internet activity:  

DadGuard Professional locator and father of eight Troy Dunn has partnered with a software firm to develop this powerful tool for parents. Install this on the computer you'd like to monitor — from anywhere in the world. DadGuard recordings are organized into an easy-to-read Activity Report that is automatically sent to any email address you choose, as often as you'd like. You'll receive an exact copy of their emails, chats and instant messages, as they occur.

This is an application you install on your child's cell phone. Once the program is running, you can log into the Web site and watch all incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, e-mails and Web browsing history. You can select a certain phone number and block any activity to that number as well, so if you suspect suspicious communication, you can make sure your child cannot text, e-mail or call that person.   Watch a report on this program, by senior editor at CNET Natali Del Conte.

My Mobile Watchdog
This is also an application that you install on a cell phone. On its Web site, It gives you a listing of all activity on a given phone. It also alerts you if calls or messages come in from a specific number. For instance, if you see a suspicious or unauthorized person calling, texting, or e-mailing your child, that call is routed through the My Mobile Watchdog Data Center. Notifications are then sent to all persons you have established from your Web application, such as parents, teachers, police, etc. From your Web application or mobile phone application, you can see all suspicious activity, along with full content, including images. You can also print out reports to pass on to law enforcement or school officials.

iWonder Surf
This computer application lets you control and monitor the Web sites your child is visiting. You can not only see where they go, but when, how often and what they are seeing. You can logon to obtain a log of their activity. Every time they go to a Web site, it records it and instantly sends traffic reports to you.

Location-Based Programs
All of these programs use a combination of GPS (Global Positioning System) and cell tower triangulation to pinpoint your exact location. If you install Whirrl, you can see where your friends and family are on a map from your mobile phone. The participating parties all have to agree to this, but if they do, you can see where they are, when they were there and perhaps a photo or status update that they posted. It is fairly accurate in areas where cell phone coverage is good, but not always.   Watch Natali's report on how this works.

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