With cell phones, kids can feel more free from their parents. And parents can feel much safer letting their kids go out, knowing their child can call them whenever they need to and vice versa.
Before iPhones, you had to either write a note saying where you were going and what time you would be back, or you would be forced to call your mom or dad on a landline once you got to your destination. Or you just didn’t go out at all. Now, giving a child a cell phone is almost like a rite of passage. It’s a key of their own into the world.
But is this sense of freedom all a facade? With cell phones, kids may get be allowed to go to more places by themselves, they may be unknowingly giving their parents even more information than before.
Here are five ways parents can use their phones to snoop on their children.
1. Find My iPhone
This one’s probably the most obvious on the list. While this is a helpful app if your iPhone is lost or misplaced, it’s not helpful if you’re trying to sneak out and go to a party.
Through this app, one can see where any of their own IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, Macbook, etc.) are located using the GPS features on the phone. If your mom knows your iCloud account, she can keep tabs on your location at all time without you even knowing.
Like the Find My iPhone app, Snapchat also takes advantage of cellphone’s GPS locations. Users can see where their friends are on the Snap Map, even showing which one of your friends are hanging out together or near each other.
Luckily, for the most part, you can approve who sees or doesn’t see your location. But, if your Snapchat story is featured on the app’s curated “Our Story” page, your location becomes available to everyone. So be careful!
Unlike apps that use location services, Venmo is an app for making payments through the phone. While Venmo won’t say where you are, the app will show people what you’ve purchased and what you’ve sold. Parents can monitor their children’s financial decisions. And, as a Bloomberg article shows, parents have already started using this stalking technique.
A silver lining could be that users can decide how private the transactions are, but many times, especially in situations where someone is asking for money quickly, you just make the payment and close the app.
4. Uber or Lyft
While rideshare apps don’t publicly post exactly where you are, the app keeps a history of all your trips. If your parents know the login to your account (or can somehow get into your email), they can potentially see everywhere you’ve been traveling to.
Thought you were in the clear after sneaking out last month? Too bad your Uber receipts show where you really were.
5. FB Live and Instagram Live
Since the dawn of social media, parents have been spying on their child’s social media pages. Stalking Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is one of the most basic (and best) ways for parents to secretly get a glimpse on what their children are doing when they’re not around.
But with new features like Facebook Live and Instagram Live, it’s almost as if young people are putting surveillance cameras on themselves. Basically, when you go live, you’re live-broadcasting yourself to anyone who follows you.
If you’re parents or family members follow you, here’s a bit of advice: DON’T GO LIVE DOING STUPID OR ILLEGAL THINGS. Not only will they see what you are doing, but can comment and publicly scold you in front of all the people you tried being cool in front of.
While cell phones may seem like a way for young people to have more freedom from their parents, the devices can actually be used for the opposite. But, if the child feels freer and parents can keep a better eye on their child, I guess it’s a win-win if. And if a parent pays for their child to have a cell phone, I guess the kid shouldn’t even be complaining if their parent is spying on them.