So you are considering whether you should monitor your child’s digital activities, but cannot decide for sure. Well, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will help you make a clear decision over the matter. We will first identify the dangers posed by digital technologies and how they can impact children and adolescents. We will then review the top-performing parental monitoring app. The price, compatibility, and of course, features will be reviewed in detail. But that’s not all, we will also provide a quick overview of how to install and use the service, before identifying some pros and cons to wrap it up.
Vulnerability of kids
You may find it surprising to note that smartphone use among children has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. For example, according to a study, around 53% of children now own a smartphone by the time they turn 11. The figure increases to 69% for 12-year-olds. This means that you cannot prevent your child from using digital technologies because they are now a core component of their daily lives. Schools and other organizations are tapping into these technologies to enhance learning. Similarly, entertainment options such as video streaming services, social media, and other outlets have increased. However, while these infer great advantages and opportunities for children, there are also serious threats. Cyberbullying is a danger that is on the rise, particularly among teenagers. A study conducted by Pew Research showed that more than 59% of teenagers reported being bullied online. Cyberbullying has the same impact on children’s mental and social well-being as bullying in the real world. Kids who experience it are more likely to develop mental health problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and other issues.
Loss of privacy is another danger that parents frequently overlook. For example, according to the previously cited study, 7% of teenagers reported that their explicit images were shared online without their consent. That’s not all though, as smartphones contain important information such as location, private data, family background, and more. Inappropriate content such as pornography, violence, or drug-use is easy to access online. Youngsters are naturally curious and are attracted to the unknown. Communication with cyber predators and vulnerability to scams/frauds are another set of threats altogether.
In light of these dangers, parental monitoring apps can be quite useful, but only if they are a part of a comprehensive system of protection. Let’s take a look at one such app that many parents are using.
XNSPY parental monitoring app
XNSPY is a highly advanced parental monitoring program designed to protect children and adolescents from the aforementioned dangers. It offers a dedicated suite of tools that are easy to use and effective in practice. The service has a strong reputation and is consistently ranked among the best parental monitoring apps.
Like most parental monitoring apps, XNSPY follows a subscription-based model. There are two different subscription packages that parents can choose from. We were not very impressed with the basic version of the app, because it only offers limited functionality and costs USD 4.99 per month. However, the feature-packed premium version costs USD 7.49 a month and is far more affordable than basic versions of most other apps of this nature.
You do not have to worry about compatibility because the service can be used on both Android and iOS devices. The app is compatible with all Android versions 4.0 and above. On the other hand, it supports all iOS versions above 6.0 too.
With these aspects out of the picture, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Here is what you can do with the app, and how it helps to protect your child.
- Call tracking
XNSPY can monitor all call-related data including incoming, outgoing, and missed calls. The duration of each call is listed along with the time and date as well. This way, you can keep a check on who your child is talking to. You can also record phone conversations. However, we suggest you avoid using this feature and only resort to it in exceptional circumstances.
- SMS/IM/Social media monitoring
As we previously discussed, children are now heavily reliant on instant messaging and social media. You can use XNSPY to view all messages and multimedia files exchanged via popular IM/Social media platforms. The list is quite broad but includes apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Skype, Tinder, and others.
- GPS tracking
The XNSPY parental monitoring app can accurately identify your child’s location. You can also view their location history. The GPS tracking feature is integrated with Google Maps, so you will know exactly where your child is. Additionally, you can use the XNSPY geofencing feature to mark specific locations such as your child’s school or a relative’s home. XNSPY will notify you the moment your child violates the geofence by entering or leaving the area.
- Multimedia & Internet activity
With this feature, you can view all photos, videos, audio files, and calendar entries. You can also go through a comprehensive web browsing history, all bookmarked pages, and all emails. These are valuable features if you want to oversee your child’s consumption of digital media. We were a bit disappointed with a lack of content filtering tool that limits access to inappropriate content, so that’s a strike against XNSPY.
- Smartphone remote control options
We were a bit put-off by many features in this department because they are highly intrusive. For example, XNSPY can remotely take screenshots, and record surrounding via the microphone. We strongly suggest you turn off these features because your child deserves autonomy and privacy.
App & screen-time management
Device overuse and digital addiction are serious problems. With XNSPY, you can view all apps installed on the phone and disable any app that is unsuitable or your child is misusing. Similarly, you can also enforce screen-time rules by remotely locking the phone. In exceptional circumstances, you can even delete all data.
There is a reason why XNSPY is consistently ranked among the best parental monitoring apps. The instant alert feature is unique because almost no other monitoring app offers such an effective solution. All you have to do is add any word, contact, or even a location to the XNSPY watch list. The moment any activity on the phone matches something included in the list, XNPSY will immediately alert you. This is a highly advanced feature that informs you of potential dangers before they occur, giving you the time to quickly intervene.
That sounds all nice, but how do you install and use the app? Let’s take a look!
How to install & use the features
Step 1: Purchase a subscription on the app’s official website and check your email inbox for your XNSPY login/password.
Step 2: Physical access for Android devices is mandatory, though you only need to do so for installation purposes. On the other hand, the Apple ID/ password of the iPhone is required for a successful installation.
Step 3: Log in to your XNSPY account and browse over to the “My Devices” menu.
Step 4: In the case of the iPhone, enter Apple ID/ password and wait for verification. No verification is required for Android phones at this stage.
Step 5: Browse to the menu on the left after selecting the relevant device. This is the XNSPY control panel. All features and control options listed above are available here.
It may take a while to wrap your head around the control panel. While the learning curve may be steep, it will surely be worth it.
So far so good, but what are some of the pros and cons that you should consider before purchasing the app? Let’s go through them.
- XNSPY is a highly affordable parental monitoring app.
- The service offers a comprehensive array of features.
- The highly sophisticated instant alert feature is not available with any other monitoring app.
- Some features may require you to root or jailbreak the smartphone.
- XNSPY’s remote control features are highly intrusive.
- The app does not provide any content filtering tool.