Why no responsible parent would buy an iPhone for a child under 18.

iphone-warningYour number one job as a parent is to PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN. Back in the day, that used to be easier. Kids ran around the neighborhood and moms looked out for each other. But thanks to Steve Jobs and his crew, we’re flying blind. I can count a thousand reasons why you should be monitoring your child’s activity on their portable devices, starting with:

  • Exposure to pornography
  • Terrorist recruiting
  • Cyberbullying
  • Criminal activities
  • Drug dealing or purchasing
  • Cheating on schoolwork
  • Ditching school

Computers were a little easier to monitor when the family shared one or two units. Today, it’s not uncommon for an eight-year-old to have his own iPhone and an iPad too. Sure, you can peek over her shoulder to see what she’s doing, but that won’t get you too far. You could take your chances dodging the dried boogers on her disgusting touchscreen while she’s sleeping, assuming she gave you her passcodes to access her devices. Or you could blindly ask her if she’s seen anything she’s not supposed to see, which is like asking a heroin addict how their recovery is going (it ain’t).

There is monitoring software now on the market like TeenSafe and  that can capture texts, typing, photos, and history – but it only really works on Android devices. Apple has closed its doors to apps that monitor or share information received or sent by an iPhone. TeenSafe and other products have limited capabilities in the iOS environment, but typically require a complicated and often frustrating setup. And your child will be well aware that it’s installed, since it clearly states on the bottom of your kid’s iPhone’s lock screen “THIS PHONE IS MANAGED BY “TEENSAFE INC.” This will alter your child’s behavior, forcing him or her to be more covert. You may never know what’s going on.

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I had my computer guy install the trial version of the $14.99/month TeenSafe on his own iPhone, and he reviewed it on his YouTube channel. You will have to enter your credit card number and set up auto billing to get the trial, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of trial-ing. Anyway, both he and I were less than impressed. It took him an hour to remove their stupid certificate from his iPhone – I believe he was forced to erase and reset the whole phone.

What is important to know is that TeenSafe, or any other monitoring software, cannot monitor the following on any iPhone:

  • TeenSafe’s policy is to not display images nor play video nor audio from text messages. Are you kidding? Hope texts are good enough (it does recover deleted texts).
  • Instagram data is now unavailable due to changes at Instagram. Great.
  • Sees Kik and What’s App (text only), but most American kids don’t use those apps. If you’re in Asia or India, you’re golden.
  • Teensafe doesn’t even see Snapchat on the phone. This is the app all the kids are using, and the one that gets some kids in trouble.

What’s the point? If you got your kid any i-device, without “jail breaking” the device, you’re pretty much screwed. As you may have heard in the news, there is absolutely no way to completely monitor what anyone or any child sees or does on an Apple device. Apple even refused a request from the FBI to unlock the iPhone of a terrorist.

I believe iPhones should come with warnings that state “Recommended for ages 18+.” In the meantime, if your child absolutely “needs” a smartphone, get him an Android. There are several easy-to-use stealth monitoring apps available from your cell service provider for as little as $4.99 a month that do track texts with pictures, videos, and Snapchat too.

 

 

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One thought on “Why no responsible parent would buy an iPhone for a child under 18.

  1. This little article is so opinionated but the author seems to not grasp pretty basic concepts with today’s technology. Firstly their refusal to not allow monitoring software for ANYBODY is a very good thing. Apple is one of the few companies that is very pro cyber security. Asking them to ignore people’s privacy in instances that YOU feel are justified is a very slippery slope that they don’t want to go down. & secondly the world is a much different than when you grew up. Smartphones are practically a necessity. When I was in highschool it wasn’t uncommon for classes to review test materials through apps on our phones, reminders to be sent through text & alerts & info to be sent to our phones concerning class location & such. Just because you want to be a helicopter parent doesn’t mean Apple should be required to change very deliberate policies to satisfy your insecurities about what they do on their phones. If they’re old enough to be left home alone they’re old enough to have some privacy.

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