Legalities of spying on a child's cell phone in Texas

This article addresses the legalities of spying on your child’s cellphone in Harris and Montgomery County in Texas.

Yes. Parents or legal guardians are permitted to monitor the computer, smartphone, or other electronic devices of their children.


Before you spy on anyone’s cell phone please consult with an attorney and read my other blog article “Cell Phones, Mail, Computers, Spying on your Spouse, and Privacy Rights.”

Three legal components parents should be aware of include:


Texas Law recognizes the parental right to control the possessions of their child. However, you should be the owner of the device on which you’re installing the cell phone spy program.

This is an easy criteria to meet. Parents are usually the ones who buy the phone in question and also pay the ongoing cellphone bill. This may not be the case if the parents are divorced.

Although not a cellphone spying case ownership of a child’s cellphone became an issue when a “Texas father arrested after taking away daughter’s cell phone.” In that case the father was ultimately acquitted. Even though the father ultimately received a favorable verdict I believe this case illustrates why clear ownership of the cellphone is important.


Monitoring a child’s conversations on a cellphone or electronic device is only permissible without their informed consent is only permissible until your child reaches 18 years old. After they turn 18 it ceases to be legal.

Vicarious Consent

If you own the phone and your child is under the age of 18, they do not need to give consent to be monitored.

One Texas case has held that “Although vicarious-consent is not listed as an exception to the Texas wiretap law, the court of appeals held that, in order to protect a child, a parent may record her child's telephone conversations if the recording meets the standards in Pollock. Alameda”, 181 S.W.3d at 778.Alameda v. State, 235 S.W.3d 218, 220 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007).

This falls under the principal that a child is not old enough to consent to being recorded and parent can consent for them. If a parent consents to the recording of the conversation between the child and the other parent, one party to the conversation being recorded has consented.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Can I Sue My Ex for Hacking My Computer in My Texas Divorce?
  2. Cell Phones, Mail, Computers, Spying on your Spouse, and Privacy Rights in a Spring, Texas Divorce
  3. Do I Need to Change My Passwords for a Divorce in Texas?
  4. How Social Media Can Hurt You in Divorce
  5. Why do divorces cost so much in Texas?
  6. How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees in a Texas Divorce?
  7. How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?
  8. Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
  9. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.


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