Frequently Asked Questions

Should at-risk teens be allowed to use smartphones?

Yes. Research suggests that smartphones are the only means of accessing the internet outside of school for many teens, especially teens from lower-income families. In additon, smartphones are an important part of mainstream youth culture. Denying at-risk teens access to smartphones because of fears that they will use them for misbehavior only marginalizes these teens, increasing the likelihood that problematic behaviors will continue. A better approach is to support parents in using smartphone technology to monitor youth whereabouts, prompt positive behavior, and provide valued rewards.

Are there any privacy or legal concerns in using this app?

Risks associated with using iKinnect are the same as using any smartphone. iKinnect pulls together existing smartphone technology (e.g., GPS features) and bundles it in a way that is useful for parents and that helps teens stay on track. User data is encryption on both the end user’s device and the server, which meets HIPAA compliance standards, and is not shared. More information may be found in our privacy policy.

Any sense yet whether it works?

Yes! A pilot study with parents and teens receiving MST showed improvements in parent efficacy, parent-teen communication, and trust. Parents used the app on average 2.4 times per day, and teens used it 4.0 times per day. Both reported high satisfaction using the app over a 4-week period.

Can data from the app and study be used against my family?

Families’ app data is protected by a Federal Certificate of Confidentiality, which protects our app users against attempts by local courts to subpoena data generated by the app to incriminate a teen. This Certificate allows the investigators and others who have access to research records to refuse to disclose identifying information about app users in civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings, whether federal, state, or local. Our team will use the Certificate to resist any demands for information that would identify app users.

Is it safe to put my information in the profile setup?

iKinnect operates on a HIPAA-compliant server and uses an encryption process to unlink your name from the data generated by the app.

Will other people be able to see my teen's location?

No, the app is built in a way to minimize potential risk of invasion of privacy and it does not store GPS data. The location of your teen will not be traced by GPS. Instead, the server will only locate your teen under two circumstances: (1) when you/parent prompts it to do so using the Find My Teen function, and (2) at random intervals during each time period associated with the Challenge Cards to confirm that your teen is where they are supposed to be. The exact location of your teen will not be stored. It will only be noted that the teen is in an approved, required, or off-limits location.

What do I do when I run into bugs / technical issues?

Because the app is not in its final completed stage, users may experience some bugs. If you find that you are experiencing a technical issue, please contact us at so we can help troubleshoot and/or provide more information.