New Phone App Lets Parents Screen Kids' Calls

Filed under: In The News

Is the Mobile Protector app too intrusive? Credit: Taser

The makers of the Taser stun gun have released a new application that lets parents control their child's cell phone from a remote location, and allows mom or dad to disable the phone for a specific period of time.

The application, called "Mobile Protector," allows parents to screen their child's calls -- both incoming and outgoing -- and their text messages, according to a story on They also can block specific phone numbers and listen in on their child's conversations. A dashboard on the parent's mobile phone or computer lets mom or dad monitor the child's phone from afar, and also alerts them to calls from unknown numbers.

Taser chairman and cofounder Tom Smith tells that the application is not "spyware," despite the fact that it gives parents unfettered access to their child's phone conversations. When listening in on a call, the application will "announce that to both parties," Smith says.

He adds that most smart phone media can be monitored, and tells that text messages, emails, photos and videos can be screened.

Credit: Taser

"You can see the image and decide whether you want to let it go through or not," he tells the Web site. He specifically refers to inappropriate language or pornographic content, according to the site.

While "sexting" may be on the rise, is it really OK for parents to monitor their child's comings and goings so closely? What happened to what you don't know not hurting you? We understand that there are cases in which kids need a firm hand, but having the ability to listen in on their every conversation seems like a radical measure to take.

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids and ParentDish "Free-Range Lenore" columnist, says that while this kind of application may make sense for kids with special needs, for most kids it's like "one of those ankle bracelets they put on prisoners under house arrest."

"Is your child so evil, so inept or so endangered that he or she needs this kind of monitoring? If you think so, just remember, that's the message you're sending them: I don't trust you to take care of yourself," Skenazy says. "So much for raising a self-confident, self-reliant kid."

Does this application go too far?

Related: AOL Parental Controls, Tattoo Your Kids for Safety


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.