Every parent wants to think that their teen will make the right decision every time, especially when it comes to using their cell phones.
However, teens are notoriously impulsive and their brains haven’t fully developed to the point of being able to truly understand the potential long-term consequences of the choices they make today.
Good kids can, and do, make bad decisions.
And in many cases, it’s not always your kids that you have to worry about.
Having a cell phone is a HUGE responsibility for teen.
It’s way more responsibility than any of us had at that age!
This is why, although some parents are hesitant, it is a good idea to use cell phone monitoring apps with teens.
As long as your teen is aware you’re monitoring them, you’re not spying on them, you’re parenting them.
And it doesn’t mean you have to be all up in their business.
In many cases, you’re simply providing them with the tools to develop healthy cell phone habits. Something even many adults could benefit from.
Thankfully, while today’s technology is presenting all sorts of new parenting challenges, technology is often also providing some of the solutions.
Some of the easiest and often FREE options to help parents and teens are apps.
To save you the time of searching for the best ones, we’ve pulled together some recommendations for the best apps out there that will help support your child to use their cell phone responsibly.
Helpful Apps to Help Your Child to Learn Responsible Cell Phone Usage
Limiting Screen Time – Boomerang
Even as an adult, it’s hard to put our phones down. It takes a lot of self control to admit it’s time to take a break from the phone. Teens and tweens can lose valuable sleep time by staying up looking at their phones. They also miss out on important social moments and life skills when they’re constantly “eyes down” at their screens.
But many parents aren’t sure how to set time restrictions for cell phone use with teens.
First be sure you’ve established some clear cell phone rules for your teen that include appropriate time limits. It might even be helpful to have them sign a cell phone contract so they’ve seen the expectations written out and acknowledged they are aware of what is and isn’t okay.
But we all know how easy it is to lose track of time when we’re on our devices. This is where Boomerang comes in. It can help parents (and teens) control the amount of time spent on their phones.
It allows users to set bedtimes for the phone Yes, turning the phones off does help your kiddo get to sleep!
It also works for setting limits on many of the other all absorbing activities teens use their phones for like social media and gaming. You set specific boundaries by app, but you can also give time outs and time extensions.
This app is also unique because you can check and see what your child has searched on apps like YouTube.
There are many other helpful features, that overall Boomerang does seem to give you the most “bang” for your buck!
Keeping Kids Safe – Net Nanny
Net Nanny may be more appropriate for tweens and brand new phone users and it is an app with a strong focus on safety. It’s functionality may be more than you need as your kids get older and have shown their responsibility. But in some cases, if you’ve got an older teen who has struggled to respect rules and boundaries when it comes to cell phone use, than this may be exactly the app you both need.
Overall, in today’s crazy world, you can’t ever be safe enough.
Net Nanny adds a unique way to help your teenager use their phone safely. While this app doesn’t allow you to “control” their phone as much as monitor it, it’s still a great tool!
Net Nanny allows you to take advantage of a porn blocker, activity alerts, and even usage reports. You can even access a profanity filter that helps block out those bad words that you aren’t quite ready for your teen and tween to see 24/7.
For cell phone protection, you can expect to pay about $9 a year per device.
Teen Driving – Teen driving app – Bounce for Teen Drivers
At some point, your teenager is probably going to get behind the wheel of a car.
While your teenager wants freedom, you want to make sure they’re putting safety first. And many parents have serious concerns about their teens using their cell phones will driving, especially texting. Which is a very valid concern considering teen drivers are 4x more likely than adults to get in accidents caused by texting and driving.
It’s just so tempting for our teens to pick up their cell phones while driving. Fortunately, there’s an app to help teens stay focused on the road.
Bounce allows you to see where your teenager is in real time. It notifies the parent about acceleration, speed, hard braking, and even when they’re “close to home”- so you know they’ll be home in time for curfew.
General Tech Controls – Family Time
As a mom or dad, your #1 goal is to keep your kids safe! If your teens or tweens have a cell phone, then you need an app that will help to support cell phone use responsibly.
Family Time is an app that can help you know where your kid is at, see who they have contact with, and allows additional monitoring.
You can go as far to block other harmful apps and similar to Boomerang, you can limit their screen time!
Other teen technology management apps to check out!
There are so many apps for supporting your child to use their cell phone responsibly. Here are a few other apps worth checking out.
- Common Sense Media – Now you get to know what’s out there in the media world!
- Digital Compass – A way for kids to explore their decisions in the digital world.
- OurPact – Block apps and social media access, helps you have more control over your phone.
- Checky – helps you and them monitor their cell phone habits.
- Moment – Set screen time limits for the whole family.
- mSPY – When all other apps have failed, this one will help you monitor your child’s phone like none other.
Teaching your child cell phone responsibility now as a tween or teen is a big deal!
It sets the foundation for their habits as an adult. And while they may not appreciate these lessons now, they will thank you one day. Guaranteed.