Parents with teenagers know how hard it is to get their children away from their smartphones. Teenagers’ lives revolve around texting, games and downloading the latest apps, which can be particularly frustrating for parents who’d like their kids to look up every once in a while.


Take heart: Smartphones can be a great way to keep an eye on your teenager, too. While parental controls offered by service providers can help you feel comfortable about the sort of information they’re accessing, there are some even better apps that enable you to keep track of them.

Here are some great apps that you can download onto your teenager’s phone that should make you feel more comfortable with the amount of time they spend using it:

Find My Friends

This app will be an easy sell to most teens—it’s a fun way for them to know where their friends are and the perfect way for you to keep an eye on them. Find My Friends uses GPS location networks to show on a map exactly where your friends are. You have to give people permission to follow you, and then you can find out exactly where they are at any time of the day or night.

This is a great way to check that they are where they say they are. This app is free and available for iPhones and Android.


It is an anxiety-filled time for parents, when their teenage children first start driving. While you want to allow them their freedom, you want to know they are driving safely and not using their phones while driving. Samaki rewards drivers for not using their mobile phones while driving, and these points can then be used to buy things such as Nitto Tires from This is a free app and is compatible with iPhones.


For teenagers who lack motivation to do their homework, exercise or give up a bad habit, the Lift app offers encouragement and progress reports to help them achieve their challenges. It is fully interactive and you can share your progress with friends and family. This is a great app for the whole family as you can challenge each other to lose weight, study for exams or even give up smoking. Watch each other’s progress and provide them with support and encouragement. This app will also be available online in mid-June.


Whether your teen is studying a second language at school or you just want to encourage them to learn, Duolingo is a fun and interactive app that helps you learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese or Italian. Perfect for long commutes to school, this app will stimulate the brain cells and get your teenager practicing a new language. Duolingo is free and optimized for iPhones with iOS 5.0 or later

This post is contributed by Danielle Hernandez – Originally from Seattle, Danielle moved to Phoenix for love. She enjoys writing about a variety of women’s topics.