Monitoring and reviewing text messages

My oldest kid is 3. She does not have a cell phone. We’re a very tech-friendly household and have very few concerns about letting our 2 kids use stuff. We’re still a year or two away from her reading/writing. But in preparation, I figured I’d ask about the one thing I’ve been reluctant to adopt…

Text messaging.

Can I review the messages for phones on my account without having the phone in my physical possession? A quick google search suggests this isn’t a “baked-in” feature for any cell provider. I’m willing to jump through hoops, if needed.

Just from a theory standpoint, I can imagine a setup where I could clone the device in some way to allow me to see received messages. Anyone know of a practical implementation? I haven’t thought of a way to see the outgoing ones. Is it possible?

I know that with our cell phone service provider (Bell in Alberta), we can log on to our account online and see photos, text messages and even listen to voice mails online. I would think this is fairly common.

I also know that you can get cell phone for kids that only have a few buttons on them that hold pre-programed phone numbers (home, grandma, etc.) and don’t accept or send text messages.

I don’t think there are any providers in the US that allow what Bell Alberta allows. A gimped phone might be ok as a starter for a few years, but I can’t imagine a literate child not wanting (dare I say… needing) text messaging.

You said you would jump through hoops…

I started using Google Voice a few months ago (sidenote: it’s *&%$ing AWESOME).

Using Google Voice with an Android phone is seamless, and it records all your texts and voicemails on an email (Gmail, as the case may be) type interface.

You could, theoretically, set your child up with a Google Voice account on their phone and monitor their use just as you would with an email account.

<pander> I would, but no one has invited me… </pander> Seriously, I’m looking forward to using GV sooner or later