Safety Sleuth: How to Monitor Your Child’s Phone

Paige Geis Bradshaw

Ah, technology. As a parent, you love to hate it. But your kids? They love to love it!

Jokes aside, technology is an immensely helpful tool when used appropriately. We can have instant access to our bank accounts, track our loved ones’ location to ensure their safety, and connect immediately with friends and family. It’s awesome!

On the other hand, technology can be dangerous—especially for children who know little about the scary stuff in the world.

It’s completely understandable that you’d want to keep an eye on your kids as they start to use smartphones. But there are certainly some approaches that are better than others. To find out how to monitor your child’s phone (while still giving them space) and learn more about parental controls, read on!

Can You See What Your Child Is Doing on Their Phone?

The short answer? Yes, you can!

The long answer? Yes, but it will require you to enable certain settings and integrate certain applications.

If your child has an iPhone, you can check out their text messages through two different methods.

Text Message Forwarding

  • On your child’s iPhone, open SETTINGS and tap MESSAGES.
  • Go to SEND & RECEIVE. This will display a list of phone numbers and email addresses your child can access with their iPhone.
  • Sign in to your own iPhone—or any other Apple device you want to use for monitoring—with the same Apple ID your child uses.
  • On your child’s iPhone, return to MESSAGES and tap TEXT MESSAGE FORWARDING.
  • Tap the slider next to the device you will be using for monitoring.
  • Enter the verification code when asked.

iCloud Sync

  • On your child’s iPhone, open SETTINGS.
  • Tap the name of the iPhone user at the very top, then tap ICLOUD.
  • Sign in to the same iCloud ID on the Apple device you’ll be using for monitoring. You will then be able to see all of your child’s text messages.

In addition to monitoring your child’s text messages, there are a few other restrictions you can put into place on their iPhone. You can set screen time limitations, block certain websites, prevent in-app purchases, and more.

If your child has an Android, you can set up parental controls in the Google Play app:

  • Tap the profile icon in the top right corner.
  • Choose a PIN to secure your parental controls.
  • Choose your content filters and restrictions.

Eliminate the Hassle with Troomi

While standard smartphones have made impressive safety improvements over the years, the ultimate solution to keeping your kids protected is Troomi.

With Troomi, all of your parental controls are wrapped into one kid-safe smartphone! There’s no need to install additional software, download any apps, or make challenging changes to your own phone’s settings. Everything you need to monitor your kids’ online activity is programmed into one convenient dashboard: the Parent Portal. Plus, Troomi also allows your child to grow and develop as a healthy tech user instead of just making them a rule follower. 

Because they encourage healthy tech habits while still giving you, the parent, control over what your child can access, Troomi is your best bet for total tech protection.

Cell Phone Monitoring Apps for Parents

But even if your child has a standard smartphone for now, there are still a few ways you can make sure they’re staying safe. Take a look at these popular cell phone monitoring apps for parents:


Do you have a feeling that your child isn’t being totally truthful about who they’re talking to? Are you wondering why your child’s been in an especially bad mood lately? With ClevGuard, you can uncover what’s really going on with your kids.

Remotely review their social media interactions, check out their online activity, and even intercept inappropriate emails for clues that could explain what’s negatively impacting your child.


The mSpy app is fully loaded with intuitive tracking tools. You can monitor your child’s screen taps and keystrokes, read their texts and social media messages, review their search history, and so much more.

Better yet, mSpy is always up to date. The app refreshes your kiddo’s digital details every five minutes! You’ll never fall too far behind on making sure they’re safe.


Whether you’re worried about online predators and inappropriate content or simply want your child to appreciate screen-free activities, the Qustodio app can step in to reduce the risks.

With the Qustodio app, you can supervise your kids the way you want! Filter certain websites, set limits to their screen time, and receive daily, weekly, or monthly reports detailing their online activity.

Screen Time

If your child appears to be developing dependence on their device—or an inability to pull themselves away—the Screen Time app may be your solution. In addition to the standard safety tools like location tracking and Internet filters, Screen Time offers a variety of unique features that inspire your child to make the most of their time.

You can block out screen-free periods, assign tasks to your child, set up a screen time reward system, and even place an “Instant Pause” on your child’s device! This unique control immediately stops what’s on your child’s screen—just what you need when it’s time for homework or dinner.

Balancing Safety & Trust

Parental controls are less about distrusting your child and more about distrusting the world around them. You know that, but convincing them is often another story.

Whether you choose cell phone monitoring apps or a kid-safe smartphone like Troomi, open and honest communication with your child is paramount. Let them know your concerns about their safety and why you want to monitor their cell phone use. Tracking your child without looping them in—especially if they’re a pre-teen or teen—can feel like an invasion of privacy and may negatively impact your relationship.

And frankly, there may be no easy way around it. Being a kid can be tough sometimes! Consider outlining a cell phone contract with your child that details the scope of your supervision. Maybe you’ll only review text messages from unknown numbers, or check for calls made after a certain time in the evening. Whatever route you take, you’ve got this!