As a long-time tech-stalker of my children, I like to think of myself as savvy to all the tricks one of my three kids might use to misdirect me.
Not that my children would every use any tricks on me. I have a unique and special relationship with my kids that is open and honest so there is no need for them to lie to me or hide anything from me.
OK. So, I use an app called Family Map that links to my children’s phones and shows me where they are at all times. Except, my son’s friend told me he’s already found a way to hack it and make it look like he’s somewhere he’s not.
And don’t even get me started on ‘burner’ phones. That’s where teenagers have a second, cheap, hidden phone that while you’re busy confiscating the first one, they’re tapping away to their friends on.
I thought I was on top of it all, but the problem parents face is how rapidly technology is developing, making it impossible to ever truly be on top of all the tricks and all times.
So I asked Trevor Long, tech expert, dad, and fellow child-stalker, how he stays on top of it all. And he had some incredible tips. Listen here:
Here are the most common ways kids will try and trick parents.
1. Pausing their location on ‘Finding’ apps.
It was my son’s friend who let me know of this trick. He told me that he does it on his Family Map app, and because he confessed to using it I naturally assumed Philip, 12, was using it to. In fact I accused him of as much and he completely denied it. He soon proved to me he didn’t know how to pause his location when I checked up on him and found him at the shops instead of my sister’s house.
Just stay aware of this function and let your kids know you are aware of it.
2. ‘Hiding’ their number
A phone call was coming through from a blocked number which normally means my mum was trying to call me from her landline. She’s the only person I know who still uses one. It turns out it was my son.
“Why didn’t your number show up?” I asked.
“Oh, I was prank-calling my friends yesterday so I turned it off.”
“TURN IT BACK ON!”
While their reason to turn the identity function off may be innocent, they might forget to turn it back on and then you won’t know to answer their phone calls. Of course, there’s a chance they do this knowing you may not answer because you don’t know it is them: “I did call you mum, but you didn’t answer!”
4. Faking dead batteries.
I just like to hear my son’s voice the night of a sleepover, and usually the next morning, too, but my phone calls seem to embarrass him in front of his friends so he fakes a dead battery, thus cutting off contact with me. Which is INFURIATING.
So I pack his bag for him now, like he is a baby, complete with charger, so there are no excuses.