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The Legalities of Spying on a Child’s Cellphone in Texas


In this day and age, anything can be done with just a click of your desktop mouse. If you are using a smartphone, by pressing a few buttons on the screen. You can now monitor your child’s activities outside of the corners of your house with your phone.

However, the contemporary way of keeping tabs of your child must be within the bounds of the law. That is why in Texas, although it is allowed to monitor your child’s cellphone with the use of spy or tracking applications, you must also meet the criteria and limitations imposed by law.

Your child must be less than 18 years old

One of the most important legal components of this topic is that your child is yet to give informed consent. So, if your child is younger than 18 years old, then you have met the first legal criteria to carry on with tracking your child’s cellphone activities

You are the owner of the smartphone that your child uses

Next, clarity as to the question of whether you are the owner of the smartphone must fall within your favor.  

Parents pay the bills and have the burden of paying for the cellphone bills. You may be considered as the legal owner of the phone and install applications to spy on your child’s activities. Otherwise, you cannot be allowed to do it.

You must wonder, does this violate your child’s privacy?

The answer is no because Texas laws give parents the right to control the things their child owns. However, the case is different and inapplicable when the parents of the child underwent a divorce. 

You may consent for your child

Part of the law which allows parents to be entitled to the control of their child’s possessions is the principle that if the child is still underage, or has not reached 18 years of age, you do not need their consent in order to monitor them. 

Once met, all these legal criteria may allow you to freely spy on your child’s smartphone.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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