Look, I hear this all the time: "I want to respect my children's privacy, but I also want to keep tabs on them." OK, I get it. Kids need their privacy. But at what age does that start? In my mind, they can have their privacy at 18 years of age--because up until that time, a parent is 100 percent legally responsible for what those kids say and do. So if you condition your children early on that there is no privacy until 18, then to a degree it is at least understood that their life is an open book to Mom and Dad. Plus--let face it--as teens, we didn't always make the right choices. Today, those choices can be made very public with social media. So for many reasons, you want to keep tabs on your kids.
You might be at work eight to 10 hours a day and when the kids get home, it'd be nice to know they are safe...and not having a keg party. There are many technology offerings to keep you in tune, from mobile apps to home security cameras. The key is to balance functionality with cost and keep basic privacy in mind.
Security cameras: Want to see the kids getting home? How liberating would it be to discreetly glance down at your smartphone during a meeting and see exactly what's going on in your living room? You can--Nexia™ Home Intelligence has teamed with Schlage Home Indoor Cameras to create convenient scenarios like this, and more. Today's wireless home security cameras are easy to install, connect to the internet, and can be viewed on a PC/Mac browser, smartphone app or tablet. Cameras are so cost effective and provide such peace of mind, I have 16 of them.
Mobile phone spy software: There's no mistaking what Stealth Genie does. The company says it has the most powerful cell phone spy and tracking software anywhere that lets you monitor ALL the activities of any jailbroken iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone. It starts uploading the monitored phone's usage information and exact location instantly, which then can be viewed by logging in to your StealthGenie user area from any computer in the world within minutes.
Life360 app: This is pretty cool. You may want to wring their necks sometimes, but you'd do anything to keep your family safe. Everything Life360 does is designed to help you manage the chaos that is daily family life. From seeing where everyone is on a map to letting them know you'll be five minutes late, Life360 is designed to make things a lot easier and help you keep tabs.
Canary: This is a mobile phone safe driving application that keeps you in tune with your kids' driving speeds and talking/text habits to end distracted driving. This is a no-brainer that keeps you abreast of potentially dangerous activity when they are on the roads.
Know your kids' passwords: You bought the phone and the computer, you pay the phone bill and you own the devices. Your kid basically uses your electronics. All the passwords for the phone and its apps have to be provided to you as a condition of its use. Simple as that.
Friend them: If your kids are on Facebook, then they need to friend you. Keep in mind they may have more than one profile, which is when spyware and having access to their (your) devices comes in handy.