How Can You Monitor a Device You Didn’t Know Your Child Had?

All opinions expressed herein are my own!

The internet is a wonderful thing, it connects us to family and friends, gives us the answers to all of our questions within seconds, allows parents to work from home, and explore the world from wherever we are in it.  To our generation, this is amazing.  I mean, if we wanted to learn about a new place, we had to hope it was in the big blue books at the library or on our Encarta CDs.  Connecting with cousins and friends in another state required a very big phone bill budget or great handwriting.  To us, the internet was the things we dreamed about!  It’s amazing and wonderful, but as a parent to teenagers, it’s the work of the devil himself.

Last month I told you about our family’s battle with teen suicide, self harm, and online safety.  I told you that I was one of those parents who checked the tablet and tried to pay attention.  Our child had no real changes in behavior and what we did see, were, what we would describe as “typical teen behavior.” Nothing out of the ordinary.  Those articles on signs your child was suicidal  — our teen didn’t have any of those, but our teenager tried to commit suicide, more than once. We had no idea.  The tablet was clean.  There were no out of the ordinary searches or apps we didn’t allow installed.

It didn’t make sense to me that a child who was feeling that way would have such a “ordinary” online history.  That’s because it was a rouge.  After searching the child’s room we discovered an active phone we didn’t know about.  A phone that had social media apps installed that we didn’t allow and the search history was horrific. HORRIFIC!

My husband and I had nightmares over this.

Our baby could have died, run away, and much worse.

We didn’t know.

This child wasn’t acting out or visibly depressed. This child was compliant, happy, and a child who would usually tell us if there was a problem or something we should be concerned about.  If there were warning signs.  We didn’t see them. Two parents and two other teens in the house — all of us were blindsided.

Secret Lifes of Suicidal Teenagers and How to Protect Them Online #TeenSafety #OnlineSafety #Predators #TeenSuicide

Why Would My Child Have a Secret Phone?

If your child has a secret phone, you should not overlook it.  First, you need to inspect the secret phone to find out what type of content they are researching, what apps they are using, and who they are talking to.  Those are the emergent things.  Please keep in mind that can take HOURS to find information on your child’s phone.  We spent TWO DAYS combing through YouTube videos watched, emails, web pages, app messages, apps, photo galleries.  It was a Process!

There are a number of ways your child can obtain a phone and keep it a secret. First, make sure you know what happens to old phones.  Donate, dispose, or sell them immediately.  Don’t just toss them in a drawer or box without knowing exactly who has access to it (you do that don’t you?  Yup, so did we.)

Another way your child can get a secret phone is to buy it themselves when you aren’t with them or get a hand-me-down from a friend.  When you see your child on a device, parents don’t always take note of the actual shape or device in their hand. It’s become so normal for them to be holding it that we can gloss out the details. Another child said they noticed our teen on the secret phone before, but didn’t think anything of it.  When you see you teen on a device, pay attention to if it is the device they are usually on.

The most horrifying way a child can get a secret mobile phone is that it was given to them by someone who may be grooming them.  While this didn’t happen in my case, I have heard of this happening.  The phones are mailed, given, or left for the teen.  If this is how your child obtained their secret phone, call police immediately.  And please remember, online doesn’t mean far away.

How Can You Monitor a Phone

You Didn’t Know Your Child Had?

During my last post on teen suicide and social media that was the number one question.  How could I have known how to monitor a device I didn’t know my child had? I actually could have.

My oldest taught me how to look at our internet service provider to see what devices are connecting to our internet. Most of our known devices are named (Example: Mom’s phone, Sister’s Phone, Brother’s laptop, etc.). But earlier this year we noticed a device was connecting to our internet late at night (3 am — when “everyone” was asleep). Alarmed, we thought a neighbor was hacking into our wifi so we beefed up our security codes, etc. and notified our Internet service provider. Turns out, the device that was connecting to us, was the phone my child had.  I never thought for a second that one of my children would have a device I didn’t know about.

Where to look? Visit your online dashboard to your internet service provider and name every known device your family owns — this way you can KNOW for certain, when a device that doesn’t belong to your family connects to your account.  If this happens, don’t assume hacker, always assume it is your child.  Look in their room, look in their closet, look in their backpacks, dirty clothes, under the bed. Everywhere! Look. Look. Look!

Parenting a teenager today is so much more than just making sure they go to school and they have friends.  There are children dying all over the country who go to school, make good grades, and are very social — that are also suicidal.  I’ll go into more detail about suicide and self-harm, and what to do if you find out your child is in danger in my next post.

Pray for your children. Pray for their protection.

Learn more about our story HERE.

 

Parents Questions About Teen Suicide and What to Look For #TeenSuicide #OnlineSafety #TeenSafety



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9 thoughts on “How Can You Monitor a Device You Didn’t Know Your Child Had?

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    If children had more freedom to be themselves, they wouldn’t be hiding devices. Safety should be the priority. Teens are going to find ways to do sinful activities just like adults. They can’t be perfect, just like parents can’t either. Pray for them to make right decisions, but don’t force them to try to do the right thing all the time, otherwise how do they’d learn to stop making them on their own. Give yourself some peace of mind to know that you care and that’s why devices were restricted in the first place, but maybe parents SHoULD be relaxing. Trust your children. Then handing over devices won’t be so stressful. A cup of beer here or there won’t kill them. Doing things in moderation is a very important lesson kids need to learn BEFORE college. Kids travel across the country to get away from restrictions. Fewer restrictions will lead to closer relationship, a more open relationship. I know this from personal experience.

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    That is so scary. I’m sorry for all that you’re going through. Hope this can help others.

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    Technology makes it tough to even notice symptoms before it’s too late. Addictive problems and other dangers online, but it’s just relative to the problems we had in other generations

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    How scary! My girls are 22 and 25 now, they did “grow” up with technology but it didn’t seem like there was as much when they were teens.

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    The most technology my kids had when they were still living at home, were beepers! I learned to recognize their friends’ names were given a number. Like 33 was my one daughter’s best friend. Technology does make our lives easier, but at the same time, the information highway has opened our kids to danger! Like pedophiles, kidnappers, bullies, and more! Their was this one child that was getting bullied secretly! The parents didn’t know. The person that “saved” her was her sibling saying something to her parents. But in the meantime, they didn’t know that she was cutting herself and other things. It’s so sad that kids just can’t be kids! They are tortured or have to worry about shooters!!
    It hurt me to read of your pain!! It takes real courage to open up about this!! Even though I am only the grandma, I don’t want them to get hurt or feel bad! Thank you for sharing tips that old folks like me can watch for, especially on the technical side! Some kids don’t realize that not everyone tells the truth of who they are on the net when you can’t see them! Again scary!! I am anxious to read more. Praying helps to! I am so HAPPY that your story had a wonderful ending!!! I shared everywhere I could!!

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    The most technology my kids had when they were still living at home, were beepers! I learned to recognize their friends’ names were given a number. Like 33 was my one daughter’s best friend. Technology does make our lives easier, but at the same time, the information highway has opened our kids to danger! Like pedophiles, kidnappers, bullies, and more! Their was this one child that was getting bullied secretly! The parents didn’t know. The person that “saved” her was her sibling saying something to her parents. But in the meantime, they didn’t know that she was cutting herself and other things. It’s so sad that kids just can’t be kids! They are tortured or have to worry about shooters!!
    It hurt me to read of your pain!! It takes real courage to open up about this!! Even though I am only the grandma, I don’t want them to get hurt or feel bad! Thank you for sharing tips that old folks like me can watch for, especially on the technical side! Some kids don’t realize that not everyone tells the truth of who they are on the net when you can’t see them! Again scary!! I am anxious to read more. Praying helps to! I am so HAPPY that your story had a wonderful ending!!!

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    DON’T “look look look!!!!!” if your child is hiding a phone from you then you need to pay attention to your parenting. respect their boundaries and they will in turn respect yours. my parents are absolutely strict and caused me to get a secret phone when i was younger so i could communicate with my friends (i was homeschooled and they wouldn’t let me talk to them) if you are a strict parent then LIGHTEN UP A BIT

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      Yes “LOOK, LOOK, LOOK!”. Perhaps you are not aware of the world you live in today. Strict parents should be even stricter now, what you little kids think is strict is nothing compared to oldschool strict. And I say that even though my mother was the type to beat you till you blackout if you did something bad. Pay attention….Not mistakes, Willing bad acts. Like having a secret phone!!!!! Deceivers

      Your mom did not make or force you have secret phone, you did that willingly. Own up to your acts. Firstly. Secondly, if your mom does not allow you to speak to friends then DON’T. Thirdly, not speaking to friends is not a reason to make immoral and deceiving decisions. If you do things like this now, what deceitfulness will you do when you’re a working adult? Self control my guy. Ever heard of it?

      I never once had an issue with my mom, from the start I understood my place. I listened to my mom’s rules and followed them, yes some things were excessive and unnecessary. But that’s not up to the kid to decide. I agreed. My mother never asked anything immoral from me. Just simple, no phone except for school, stay off the dark side of the web, no screen time longer than necessary, don’t speak to kids who are obviously not on the same kind of discipline you are because they’ll just run their mouth “oh, that sucks your mom does that” or “I wish you could come”, “I can’t believe she wont let you”

      Well believe it

      Its their rules and I abide to their rules, if you don’t respect my parents rules, then you dont respect me as their child, and I don not need those type of people in my life. I hate these comments because they are directly disrespecting my mother and father and I will not have that!!!! I don’t care if I wasn’t allowed to come to your stupid sleepover, don’t speak ill of my parents.

      Anyways, I have never hung out with friends or did this or that, or called anybody. And look at that? I LIVE!
      Now that I passed my 12 year test to see my level of maturity and discipline. I can do anything I want and the magical part is I’d rather not.( that’s what all the ‘strictness’ was for. Intelligent and disciplined choices) I speak to maybe 3 to 4 good people around my age and that’s that. I stay at home, help my brothers and sister, clean, cook, study, and indulge in my hobbies. I have a car, and I am free to go anywhere as long as my mom knows where I am, because there are way too many human traffickers and dangerous people around now. After this year, I will be moving to a college dorm and finishing my degree in law because I love JUSTICE.

      If you thought well if you like justice then you would understand why I had a secret phone. Yes, I do understand why you had a secret phone. It’s because you do not care about your parnets authority over you that they rightfully won when they nourished you for 12 months and then raised even further to the age you are now. You should be thanking them, that they care enough about you to not just give you a phone at 10 and let you do whatever the hell you want, with you you want. They even homeschooled you, that’s a big sacrifice right there too. Now, they are responsible for your education as well instead of just throwing you in a public school and letting someone random teach you and raise your knowledge of the world. Do you know how many kids are abandoned by their parents because those adults were not raised properly and so they do not care about others but themselves and the best next step for themselves?

      You can thank all of the generaztion z which is just bringing all these and things to the light like sexting, innapropiate texting (yes, it’s different), depression messages, hate messages, and these raunchy trends and dances and social media platforms that fuel kids and older people alike to become extremely sexual and provocative.

      By the way you might think I’m some 30 year old white mom. No….I am a hispanic daughter. Never had a single friend, and was homeschooled all of middle and high-school. I am currently in college. I am 20 years old. No Cap. I might be one of the only 20 year old’s right now that have their head in the game. The rest are too busy sexualizing themselves on tiktok or creating more fake posts about their wonderful life, or being petty and commenting every single thing that does not matter.

      Back in middle and high I did feel ‘sad’ I had no friends. But I dropped that real quick. I don’t need any friends to validate who I am or to feel happy. I can be happy alone, or surrounded by 10 people. What kind of garbage is that, you need friends because you are lonely? Then stop being lonely, fill the void in your heart yourself, nobody else will do it for you. Having friends won’t magically change your life. You create your life. Will you be a victim or with you be a victor? Decide the type of person you will be. Are you going to let everything shake you to the core and cause you to make stupid decisions?

      Thank for listening. I want to type more but my keyboard lit on fire. And it’s also 4 in the morning, I will now go get my breakfast, so I can workout.
      Bless you oh foolish child.

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