Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Monitoring Children's Phones or Secretly Keeping an Electronic Leash?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Monitoring Children's Phones or Secretly Keeping an Electronic Leash?

Article excerpt

Imagine if you could see every phone call, every text, every picture, every video, every contact on your child's phone.

If you could track every location of your child's phone and get alerted if the phone traveled outside certain boundaries.

If you could record and hear every conversation, including the conversations happening around the phone, as if it were a mic.

And your child would never have a clue that you were watching, listening, keeping track.

A local entrepreneur has created a set of apps that allow this type of surveillance and are marketed to parents as a way to keep their children safe.

Catch Me If You Can and Protect Me If You Can are available only for Android smartphones .

"What we do is pretty hard core stuff, and Apple doesn't allow us to do half the stuff we do," said Kevin Bloom, of Chesterfield.

He's a father of two daughters, ages 5 and 8, and sees a market for parents who want to keep tabs on their children's moves, both digitally and literally. The only difference between the two apps is whether you want your child to know about your electronic eye.

Parental monitoring apps have proliferated lately. But these take snooping to a new level.

"It's a more robust tracking mechanism than you'd find on a 'where's my phone app,'" Bloom said. A user, let's hope a parent and not a stalker or abusive partner, installs it on the phone they wish to track. Once it's configured and set up, the app disappears from the phone, and the user monitors all the settings and accesses all the information remotely.

Or you can inform your child that you have an app keeping tabs on her communication, browsing and movements and keep it password- protected. The information from the phone is stored in a cloud, which the parent can access remotely.

Bloom, who recently launched the apps, which have an annual subscription fee ranging from $20 to $60 a year, depending how long your want your child's data stored for viewing, realizes not all parents would be comfortable with all features.

"It's quite controversial if you as a parent have a right to record a phone call and listen to the surroundings. Like at a slumber party. …

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