By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
There was a recent press release of an App for iPhones and Smart Phones called Phone Sheriff. It allows parents to monitor the calls, text messages, and GPS location of a child / teen who uses an iPhone or Smart Phone. The Press Release states that the product or App is “stealth” meaning that the child / teen user of the phone will not know that mom and dad are watching. See PhoneSheriff Allows Parents to Control Child Phone Activities and Track GPS Location.
Software and technology like “Phone Sheriff” can help protect a child / teen. It can also provide some peace of mind for parents. It is a privilege to have a mobile phone. With this privilege comes responsibility. Some parents will use this service to help monitor and protect their children. Undoubtedly, many parents will refrain from telling the child that he or she is being monitored or supervised while using the phone with “Phone Sheriff”. Others may very well tell the child about the program and the capabilities.
One approach that parents may consider is to tell the teens that they are being watched and monitored from time to time. For instance, at certain businesses, employees are told that they are being monitored on the computer and the misuse of the computer for personal use, pornography, sex, and / or crimes will be a basis for dismissal. While a parent cannot fire or terminate a child for misbehaving, a parent can intervene and punish the child in some form if the phone is misused or used in a way that was prohibited by the parent.
There is certainly a safety component to such technology. For instance if a child is lost or abducted, the phone may provide key evidence and information to tracking and locating the child. Furthermore, if the child is the target or victim of a predator, the tracking of the phone and its information may provide key information to both parents and law enforcement. Furthermore, monitoring may prevent a child from being tricked or fooled by a predator to do certain things or get into an unsafe situation.