We at Dallas Single Mom know that keeping our children safe is your number one priority. These tips, apps and tools were created by people with the same concerns as you when it comes to our teenagers that want a little bit of independence. While these aren’t foolproof, it will still give us a better sense of security as parents. – Dallas Single Mom
In today’s media-saturated age, parents are more anxious than ever about what their kids get up to when they are not with them. We’ve all seen movies and television shows highlighting every possible variety of misadventure or danger faced by teens who are too old to be watched over by a sitter but nonetheless still lacking the maturity and responsibility of actual adults.
From concerns about parties to road trips to just ensuring that your children are aware of the importance of being careful about how they interact with strangers, parents need a way to check in with their kids to make sure that they are staying safe. Fortunately, today’s smartphone technology allows us to do just that. From apps that allow you to use GPS to be aware of where exactly your child is to those that allow you to monitor your child’s driving habits and internet usage, it is far easier than it used to be to feel that extra level of security that you know what’s going on in your teenager’s life.
Here are some apps parents should be aware of:
For Monitoring Your Teen’s Driving:
- Canary: This application warns parents when teens are engaging in unsafe activities while driving, from using their cell phone, to going over the speed limit, to traveling into unsafe neighborhoods or after curfew. Not only will parents feel safer knowing that they will receive an alert on their own cell phone and by email, and even a log of their teens’ activities, but because teens are aware that their parents have the app, it will encourage them to make better decisions.
For Keeping Tabs on Your Teens When They Are Out:
- MamaBear Family Safety: This app will also allow you to monitor your child’s driving, alerting you if they go above a preset driving speed, but it also encompasses other areas of concern as well. You can use GPS to find out instantaneously where your child is, as well as where they have been recently. You can also use the program to monitor your child’s activity on social media, letting you ensure that they are not uploading risky photographs or using problematic language or engaging in other unsafe behaviors.
- Family Tracker: This app focuses more specifically on keeping tabs on your child’s location. In 2012, it was actually used to locate a missing child in Florida. Once installed in a phone, you can use a web browser or your own phone in order to access GPS and find out where your teen is at all times. However, these types of apps can use a lot of battery life so it is important to follow the instructions available when you download in order to figure out which settings will help you reduce loss of battery power.
For Keeping Tabs on Your Kids When You Are Out of the Home:
- Alarm.com acts as both a security system for your home and a way to keep you informed of what your kids are doing after school when you are not around. It will notify you of what time they arrive in the house and any time they open a cabinet they are not supposed to (like the liquor or medicine cabinets), and of any adjustments to the thermostat. There is even front door video monitoring capability so you can be aware of whether your children are having friends over and who they are.
Monitoring Social Media:
- Mobiflock My Child is a device that allows you to specifically monitor and control your teens’ use of social media. In particular, you can block applications that you view as potentially dangerous, and even web browsers themselves. You can block unwanted contacts, texting while driving, and guard against cyber-bullying or sexual activity. You can also lock your teen’s phone if it goes missing to protect against others finding and misusing it.
Other Tools and Gadgets:
In addition to smartphone technology, you can also make use of devices like 5Star Urgent Response, a tool which allows you to not only track your child through GPS but also to talk to an agent capable of arranging emergency response if needed, from talking to a doctor to a nurse to dispatch of emergency services. You can also provide a personalized medical profile to be accessed if needed.
Some teens may view these devices as an impingement on their privacy – that’s why it is important to have an honest discussion with them about why it’s important for you to be aware of what’s going on in their life. Talk to them about recent current events that demonstrate the potential hazards of being a teen in America today. The more you can get them to buy into the reasonableness of your using these apps not to spy on them but to help ensure their safety, the less likely it is that they will try to get around them. Ultimately, these tools can allow your children more freedom than you might be comfortable allowing them without these capabilities.
What other apps do you use to keep track of what’s going on with your children when you’re not around?
Author Bio: Angelo DiGangi, a Home Depot sales associate since 1994, helps customers with expert home improvement advice at their local store. Wherever you live, The Home Depot has a store near you with associates just like Angelo who are knowledgeable and available to help with one-on-one advice for projects large and small.
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