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I have two wonderful children that have always made me immensely proud to be their mom. As wonderful as they are, I still had all the normal parental worries when my kids became teenagers about how to help them survive and thrive.
Meet the Jain Family: Ameeta, Shriya, Sukant, and Kyan
My oldest recently headed off to college and my youngest is nearing high school graduation, which means smartphones and social media have been a big part of their adolescence.
My husband and I had felt prepared to navigate things like questionable clothing trends, drugs, alcohol, mean girl behavior, etc., but sexting, anonymous secret-sharing apps, and the whole cannot-last-five-seconds-without-checking-Instagram syndrome? Not so much. It was a whole different ball game and I felt out of my league.
Even though we had established a trusting and open relationship, and even though I knew in my heart that they were great kids, I wanted a solution that would give me a window into the vast digital life they were experiencing through their smartphones. Meanwhile, a business associate was having his own trials and tribulations in dealing with his teenager’s smartphone experiences and, like me, wanted to find a positive, proactive solution. And so, TeenSafe was born.
TeenSafe is an iPhone and Android monitoring service that enables parents of minors to see incoming, outgoing, and deleted text messages, web browsing history, contacts, call logs, Facebook posts, WhatsApp and Kik chat sessions, and Instagram activity and phone location through a private online account that does not require “jail-breaking” a device during installation.
Now, let’s get real. This can be a polarizing issue. Finding the balance between teen rights and parental responsibility challenges all of us as parents. Personally, I favor a “trust but verify” approach. I don’t want to restrict access to the information, rich interactions, and 21st century skills that kids can gain from these tech devices, but I do want to be kept closely in the loop about it.
I personally encourage parents to install TeenSafe before handing over that very first smartphone to their children, and to make that the norm from the get-go. It’s certainly up to you as the parent whether you disclose that the TeenSafe app is installed, but I think tweens and first-time smartphone users especially will accept that in order to have their long-awaited phone, it comes with certain provisions.
When we decided to launch TeenSafe, I knew immediately that the company would seek out ways to support the PTA at all levels. As a parent, I have gotten to witness firsthand the power of the PTA to help children thrive in schools. We wanted to contribute in a meaningful way that specifically supported teens, so it was our honor to sponsor the 2014 National PTA Youth Leadership Summit which brought together teens from across the country to build leadership skills that would empower them to be agents of change in their PTSAs, schools, and communities.
By having a presence at the National PTA Convention, we also had the pleasure to meet with key PTA leaders from the field and get candid feedback that only made us more confident that we had created a valued and needed safety tech solution.
Beyond our involvement at the National PTA level, we wanted to find a way to contribute toward local PTAs, too. TeenSafe has made it simple for PTA presidents to sign up their school (free), and then invite the parent community to register for individual TeenSafe accounts. Parents will get a lifetime discount of 33% off the retail subscription price and the local PTA will get a $10 contribution for every paid sign-up associated with their school/PTA. (If you are reading this and you are not the PTA president for your school, please consider sharing the opportunity with him/her.)
We built TeenSafe with love to protect our most valuable treasure, our children, because we believe that every parent should have a window into their child’s digital life, and because we want to help all children—whether they are happy-go-lucky kids or struggling in some way—to survive and thrive.
Learn more about how TeenSafe works in this short video clip.
Guest blogger Ameeta Jain is a proud PTSA mom, Golden State Member, and the co-founder of TeenSafe along with her husband Sukant and her business associates, The Walkers and The Legators. Learn more about TeenSafe at www.teensafe.com.
TeenSafe is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.