I Spy

Smart-phone parental controls are nothing to LOL about

Tech-savvy parents have spent years using cell phones, those ultimate tools of adolescent aloofness, to snoop on their kids. Now, thanks to a series of sleek, smart new apps, that fringe practice is going mainstream--with a vengeance.

Recently, the Life360 smart-phone app, which taps GPS technology to provide real-time info about family members' whereabouts, logged its 20 millionth download. Similar apps such as Footprints (iPhone) and SMS Tracker (Android) are racking up hundreds of thousands more. (Many are free, but some cost $5 a month.) The programs have become so convenient that, according to estimates by the Swedish telecom-research firm Berg...

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