I pay for my teen’s phone so I can spy on him whenever I want – New York Post | Wonder Mind Kids

Every night around 11:30pm, mother-of-two Laura Muse kisses her teenage son Cohen on the cheek before putting him to bed.

She then grabs his cell phone and leaves the room.

Seizing the device to ensure her 15-year-old gets enough rest for school the next day – instead of texting, tweeting and watching TikTok videos all night – is just one of Muse’s meddling actions for mom.

The Greensboro, North Carolina, mother also routinely checks his and her 17-year-old daughter Kylie’s phones, checks their personal correspondence and social media activity to make sure her high school students are behaving behind their screens.

“I own their phones, I pay for the phones. I can go through them whenever I want,” an uncompromising muse, 41, told the Post.

Mom-of-two Laura Muse doesn’t care if haters disagree with her decision to check her teenage son and daughter’s phones.
Getty Images

“People might think [checking my teens’ phones] is a sign of disrespect or an invasion of their privacy, but that’s how I run my ship,” added Muse, a psychiatrist.

Parents increasingly moderate and monitor their children’s online behavior. Using the hashtag #RaisingTeens, which has logged more than 216 million TikTok impressions, Muse and other Gen Zers parents proudly admit to snooping. A recent survey by software security imprint Malwarebytes found that 54% of parents supervise their teens using two or more mechanisms – either tracking their phones via GPS, reading their email, monitoring their web search history, checking texts, monitoring social posts or screening computer games and spying on YouTube activity.

Muse (center left) and her husband TJ (far left) have been monitoring their children's phones since the kids were 11 years old each.

Muse (center left) and her husband TJ (far left) have been monitoring their children’s phones since the kids were 11 years old each.

Muse says Cohen and Kylie complained about their random searches when they were young, but have since adjusted to the probes.

Muse says Cohen and Kylie complained about their random searches when they were young, but have since adjusted to the probes.

Muse’s kids got their phones when they were 11 and she’s been following them ever since. Initially, she conducted surprise inspections on a weekly basis. The tweens of the time grumbled a bit, but then willingly handed in their devices, knowing that random searches were the price to pay for phone privileges.

Now well into his teens, Muse’s investigations have become more sporadic; She just happens to do the probes a few times a year.

And while she trusts her children — both are star athletes with massive social media followings — the hawk-eyed mother feels monitoring her brood’s digital activities keeps them from engaging in inappropriate exploits and keeps them safe from online predators and protect against fraudsters.

In the past, she has caught Cohen posting shirtless pictures and using profanity on Instagram. She immediately instructed him to delete the taboo content.

Studies have found that the vast majority of parents with children between the ages of 13 and 17 regularly check their phones and social media apps for inappropriate and dangerous activity.

Studies have found that the vast majority of parents with children between the ages of 13 and 17 regularly check their phones and social media apps for inappropriate and dangerous activity.


A recent survey found that at least 31% of parents intend to monitor their children's phones by the age of 18.

A recent survey found that at least 31% of parents intend to monitor their children’s phones by the age of 18.


Other parents are sharing their illegal discoveries on social media.

A mother racked up nearly 5,000 views on TikTok for a video that revealed she’d discovered her 15-year-old son exchanging nude photos with his girlfriend.

Another mouthed to a man who yelled “What the hell?” to show her dismay after combing through her teenage daughter’s device. Captioning her clip, which racked up more than 105,000 views, “WTF I just saw it,” she chose not to share the details of her disturbing discovery.

In response to the nosy mom’s post, commenters slammed scathingly, writing, “this is not okay,” “you don’t have to go through her phone,” and “I hate parents who can’t respect boundaries.”

Gillian Margonis, a Gen Z TikToker from Nashville, Tennessee, garnered 5.6 million views for a video slamming nosy moms and dads.

“Just like your room, [your phone] is your own private space and you shouldn’t look through it because you deserve privacy,” she told her followers.

Laura Muse (left) says she, Cohen and Kylie became closer thanks to their sporadic phone checks.
Muse (left) says she, Cohen and Kylie became closer thanks to their sporadic phone checks.
Courtesy of Laura Muse

But while privacy and boundaries are important, Manhattan psychotherapist Kelly Nadel tells The Post that phone tapping isn’t inherently wrong as long as parents are clear and honest about their motives and concerns about their teens.

“My advice to parents is that they sit down with their child, let them know what’s appropriate on the phone and what’s not, and find ways for both of you to feel safe using their phones,” Nadel said.

She added that including your child in the phone surveillance process — which will make them feel like the inspection is a team effort rather than a shakedown — can create a sense of connection.

“Prioritizing the relationship between parent and child will allow the teen to make wiser decisions about technology as they get older,” Nadel added.

And so much is true of Muse’s home.

She says her kids have learned to appreciate her snooping around. In fact, she says it’s made them closer family.

“When I find something that poses a problem, we talk about it and turn it into an educational moment,” Muse said. “I’m not perfect, I don’t expect my kids to be perfect, but it’s important to keep things in perspective.”

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