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The App Every Teen’s Parents Should Be Using

The App Every Parent of a Teen Should Know About

Parenting teens these days is scary! As if our mother’s didn’t have it hard enough, today’s teens are on the Internet constantly. You can set up parental controls on their home computer, but you can’t really control what they do on the Internet on their phones or at school and you certainly can’t control what their friends (or frenemies) do online.

What’s the answer then? It’s not realistic to never let them have Internet access. They will find a way. It’s not healthy to force them to hand over all tech for inspections daily. They’ll not only find a way to hide things, but they’ll resent you for the obvious intrusions. Of course, you can’t just let them do their own thing or you’re shirking your responsibility to watch out for them.

That’s where one of my favorite apps comes in: IfTTT. It’s stands for If This, Then That. Basically, it’s an automation app that you can program to do all sorts of things. “If I do this, then make this app do that”. You following?

IfTTT is not terribly complicated: you can program the triggers and actions yourself with a graphical interface or you can select a “recipe” of actions that other’s have already created. It is a bit limited in that you can only program things for the apps they support. While that list is ever growing, there might be apps your teens want to use that you’d like to monitor, but can’t…yet.

That being said, here are some of the best recipes (already in existence) for keeping your teen safe.

Category One: Where’s My Kid?
IFTTT Recipe: Text Mom when I leave home & when I return connects android-location to android-sms

This one is pretty straightforward: Each time your teen comes and goes from home, a text is sent to you.

IFTTT Recipe: Track when your kids leave their school zone! connects ios-location to email

Another straightforward one: GPS tracking starts when your child leaves school.

Category Two: Never Miss an Important Message

IFTTT Recipe: When I receive an email to my Gmail account, send an SMS alert to my Dialog mobile (DMail should be  connects gmail to email

This one is great for getting notifications right away from your child’s teachers.

IFTTT Recipe: Unmute my phone when I have a missed call from my mom connects android-phone-call to android-device

No more excuses that your teen’s phone was on silent. They can’t miss your call now.

Category Three: What Happens on Social Media?

IFTTT Recipe: Keep a phone call log in Google Drive connects android-phone-call to google-drive

Instant access ย from anywhere to know who your teen has been talking to. If there’s an emergency, you don’t want to try and track this info down from the phone company.

IFTTT Recipe: Log all text messages connects android-sms to google-drive

Let’s be honest. Kids can be cruel to each other. This recipe logs all those text conversations into a Google spreadsheet where you can search for keywords if need be. I’ll be honest, I have this set up on my phone, saving my own text messages. It makes finding things later a whole lot easier.

IFTTT Recipe: Download Facebook tagged photos into Dropbox with tag-identifier connects facebook to dropbox

You can’t control what other people do. But if your child is tagged in a photo on Facebook, you can have that photo backed up to Dropbox. This is another one you probably won’t ever need, but if your teen starts getting bullied online, it’s probably one you’ll want to have already installed.

IFTTT Recipe: Save snapchat backup in google drive connects ios-photos to google-drive

If you don’t know what Snapchat is, it’s one of your worst nightmares as a parent. An app where kids take pictures, send them to each other and then the pictures disappear. Take two seconds to think about how easily this will be abused by teens. This recipe will backup all those pictures, making sure your teen (and his or her friends) aren’t sending out pics they’d regret later.

I hope that helps some of you dealing with teens in Cyberspace. What are some of the things you’re concerned about with kids on the Internet? I’d love to know what you all are struggling with and maybe we can all help each other with some resources (and moral support!).

Thanks to the following blogs for letting me share with their readers!



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12 thoughts on “The App Every Teen’s Parents Should Be Using

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I will for sure be downloading this, I had never heard of it. Thank you!!!

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I hope IfTTT works out well for you. I love it!

  2. Brittany says:

    I had no idea IfTTT could do all of this! I have a long time before my baby’s a teen, and I worry about what technology will be like then!

    Thanks for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty! We hope you’ll join us next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Brittany! Hopefully technology will be more parent friendly by the time your little one is bigger.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Robin says:

    Good to know my kids are younger but still trying to get new apps all the time, but we watch all the ratings on them!

    1. Christine says:

      That’s great that you watch the ratings! Hopefully when your kiddos are older, there will be more security online for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Christine….I’ve used IfTTT for blog stuff…never even thought about using it for my teen! She doesn’t have a phone, but she does have an iPod….Wonder if it will work on that.-Sue

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Sue! You can download the app for iPod Touch, but it wouldn’t have certain recipes (like the ones with GPS). However, you could fully bypass the app and just create an account at https://ifttt.com. If you wanted to get an email with all of her Facebook content, for example, you would just go to the ifttt website, link her Facebook and link your email. Then you can have that functionality without ever downloading the app anywhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Raquel says:

    I have been “playing” with the IfTTT recipes for social media and blogging. These are great resources for parents.

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks Raquel. If you don’t mind me asking, what are some of your favorite recipes? This post started out talking about all the different functions IfTTT can do, but there were too many, so I turned it to the ones that solved something on my own mind.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. This sounds like a really great app! My kids are still too young to have their own social media accounts, but they will soon and its great to know about this.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Joy ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m crossing my fingers that social media (and the Internet in general) will be a bit safer when some of our littler kids get old enough to be on it unsupervised. I’ve read that Google is working hard to create safer environments for kids: they just bought an educational software company and have been developing a kid-safe YouTube. If they keep going in that direction, we might not need to monitor with apps.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

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