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Published on September 24th, 2014 | by Admin

Here’s What I Learned Using Teen-Monitoring Software On A Sorority Girl’s Phone For Two Weeks

BuzzFeed News’ Katie Notopoulos, reporting live from inside a 21-year-old’s iPhone.

Last November in suburban Texas, two high school BFFs, away at separate colleges, texted about boy troubles.

He doesn’t Snapchat back he barely returns my text. His #wcw Wednesday was someone from his prom. All of his top 3 in Snapchat are other girls. I just wanted to hangout last night and he said he was tired and I noticed that he posted something on Facebook around midnight.

This is the current state of dating for 21-year-olds in 2014.

I was able to see this exchange because Taylor Prewitt, the 21-year-old recipient of the text, had allowed me to access her phone’s iCloud. I used a program called TeenSafe, which is meant for parents to monitor their children’s phones and internet activity. I could see all of her text messages from the last few months, all of her deleted texts, her browser history, bookmarks, contact list, her call logs, and her GPS location. Yes, it was all a little creepy.

But that was kind of the point. After several of my BuzzFeed News colleagues refused to let me track them, I tweeted a request for someone, anyone to let me track them. I got two replies, one from Taylor, and one from a guy who retracted as soon as I explained how much I would actually see. (“My girlfriend would kill me”).

Snooping on a stranger’s phone seemed, frankly, thrilling. What fascinating secrets might I learn? For years now, phones have been near-complete gateways into our personal and professional lives. What story could I piece together about their life based just on a text message trail? Would I actually be able to “know” a person just from their phone?

Here’s TeenSafe’s dashboard for Taylor’s phone:

Here's TeenSafe's dashboard for Taylor's phone:


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