In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

What On Earth is SMS Tracking?

There are many reasons why people choose to track SMS messages. Parents use free SMS tracking apps to monitor their children’s activities, business people track SMS messages sent by employees, and spouses track the messages of their significant other. What is SMS tracking and what does it provide to those who are seeking information?

First, What on Earth is SMS?

SMS stands for “short message service”. SMS messages are also known as text messages and are sent by the millions every day across the globe. Normally sent from cell phone to cell phone, they are short instant messages that act much like those sent from an instant messenger or chat room on a computer. They are instantly sent and available to read by the recipient. Most SMS messages only contain text, but some can contain videos or photographs. Those that contain various other forms of media are MMS messages.

SMS Tracking Apps

Just like any other function of a cell phone, SMS messages can be tracked. A person can install a hidden SMS tracking app and monitor every text message (SMS or MMS) that is sent or received from the device. The app sends a notification to a third party device whenever a message is sent or received. The person can then log in and read whatever messages have recently been added.

This type of app is ideal for parents who have provided their children with a cell phone to use in case of emergencies. Even though most types of uses are limited or protected by parental controls, the SMS tracking app will allow parents to monitor who the child is talking to and what is being discussed. With children being exposed to everything from recreational drugs to street-wise pedophiles, having an app like this installed on a child’s phone is an excellent idea.

How They Are Used

SMS tracking apps are used primarily to monitor. All the user needs to do is enter their SMS tracking login to gain access to the information.

In some cases, it is possible to track SMS messages free of charge through the cell phone service provider. This is a longer process, but a parent may be able to track text messages by contacting the service provider and receiving a print of when each one was sent and received. The print out, may not contain what was included in the messages, however.

If a phone has been synced or linked to an outside “cloud” or Google account, the messages can be tracked in that way as well. This is a much faster way of monitoring text messages. They are saved within the account and can be reviewed at any time. For accounts that have limited amounts of storage, the messages may be automatically deleted after a pre-determined amount of time. Normally, messages are kept for at least 14 days to 60 days depending on the service.

Why Do People Need Them

Why do people need SMS tracking apps? The answer varies depending on the person’s situation. When a parent buys a child a cell phone, they normally do so to enable the child to check in on a regular basis or be able to call home in case of an emergency. While it is inevitable that the child will occasionally use the phone to communicate with friends, most parents choose to install an SMS tracking app to make sure they do not begin conversing with a stranger or anyone else who may pose physical danger to them.

Spouses also use SMS trackers to monitor their husband or wife’s activities. Installing an SMS tracking software on a spouse’s cell phone may provide a lot of information, but its uses in the court room will be limited. Unless they are aware their communications are being monitored, they can argue a violation of privacy. Wiretapping and other types of monitoring is illegal in certain aspects and cannot be done without a court order or a warrant.

Businesses also use SMS tracking programs on devices that are given to employees to use while performing their duties. When the device is provided to the employee by the company, the company has the right to limit how it is used. Most companies make the employee sign an agreement that states the device is only for business purposes and will not be used for any form of personal communication.

If someone is debating on whether or not to install an SMS tracking app on another person’s device, they should understand the legal parameters that may be involved. Parents and businesses that install tracking apps on devices they own and service do not require the user of the phone to be notified if an app has been installed. In all other situations, the legal issues fall in favor of the user of the phone, especially if they have no idea they are being monitored.

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