Do you wish you could allow your child to have more freedom, but feel uneasy at the prospect of not knowing his whereabouts? Do you worry that your child is sending or receiving inappropriate text messages? Thanks to recent innovations in digital parenting, you can put your mind at ease while allowing your child to be independent. There are thousands of smartphone apps to help keep track of your child's location and secure his safety, but the following five are must-haves.
1. uKnow Mobile
Designed by uKnowKids, a leader in digital parenting technology, the uKnowMobile app is arguably the most comprehensive child monitoring app on the market. It automatically compiles all of your child's activity from social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and Instagam and displays it on an easy-to-navigate dashboard. This allows you to check up on your child with just a quick glance. Never again do you have to step out of a meeting just to see what your child is doing. If your child has an Android or iPhone, uKnowMobile also collects his sent and received text messages and application downloads so that you are instantly aware of any bullying situations, covert plans or undesirable application use.
The locator tools on the uKnowMobile app are also impressive. Check your child's current location simply by clicking "update" and track your child's movement throughout the day on the app's Family Map. Learn more about the application at uKnowKids.com.
2. Find My Kids -- Footprints
If you are interested only in tracking your child's location and not in monitoring his data or social network use, Find My Kids -- Footprint is an excellent choice. This app uses real-time GPS to track your child as he travels with his phone. If he is meeting up with friends, you can make sure that he arrives safety at his destination. Only you, and those who you give permission, are able to view your child's location and the tracking data which is stored for later. You can go back and track your child's previous whereabouts at any time.
Find My Kids -- Footprints is a free iPhone application that you can download on iTunes. There is a subscription fee for the GPS tracking services.
Available for both iPhone and Android devices, SecuraFone is a GPS tracking application that allows you to monitor not only your child's location, but also the speed at which he is traveling, how long he stays in one location and how often he visits certain locations. The app logs your child's travel patterns over time and generates a comprehensive report that shows you addresses where he has stopped, how often he stops at those addresses, and how much time he spends in each place. The app also alerts you if your child ventures outside of a predetermined geographical boundary.
This is a great digital parenting application if you have older teens who drive, as it allows you to see whether or not the are adhering to speed limits. It also allows you to confirm that they are being honest about their destinations.
4. FBI Child ID
Digital parenting is about more than just monitoring your child's activity. It is also about quick and savvy responses if something does go wrong. The FBI Child ID app is indispensable should the unthinkable happen. Take a picture of your child, and store it in the app along with your child's other identifying characteristics, such as hair color, eye color, height and weight. If your child goes missing, you only have to press one button to call 911 and email your information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The FBI Child ID app is available free of charge for both Android and iPhone devices.
Created by Radical Parenting, iCurfew allows you and your teenager to check in with each other throughout the day. It is less intrusive than many other digital parenting apps on the market. Instead of continually tracking your child's whereabouts, it allows your child to send you periodic Google Maps updates of his location. The location links are un-editable, so you know that your child is not lying about his whereabouts. This app is a good choice if you and your spouse both want to keep tabs on your child -- the location updates can be sent to up to three contacts. Use iCurfew to make pick ups easy. Just ask your child to send an update of his location.
Children and teens have access to technology like never before. Using digital parenting apps like the ones above allows you to keep your kids safe as they navigate the physical and technological worlds. Add these apps to your arsenal, and strive to protect your children the way that every good parent should.
Parenting has become increasingly more complicated with cell phones and computers. Read about how you can keep up with it all in our eBook! Download “Digital Parenting: The Essential Guide to Raising Connected Kids” now.