All loving parents strive to keep their kids safe. And, of course, concern for family members’ well-being extends far beyond the parent-child. While 21st century technology might present some new dangers and challenges such as phishing, online predators and other digital-age risks, it can also lend a helping hand when it comes to keeping an eye out for the health and safety of loved ones.
For consumers looking to enlist the help of technology to help keep a watchful eye on their loved ones, these five free apps are worth a look:
- Find My Kids: This app offers peace of mind to parents of children with cellphones by providing real-time location information through the use of GPS tracking technology. It also offers the option for parents to receive notifications when their child arrives at or departs from regularly visited locations, like home or school, when the child’s device battery is running low, or when the child presses an app-enabled SOS button. Additional benefits include the capability to listen to a child’s surroundings when he or she isn’t answering the phone, track the apps he or she uses on the phone, and send a loud bell notification to the child’s device when his or her phone is in silent mode. Find My Kids is available for iOS and Android
- Zenly: Another family-tracking (and friend-finding) app, Zenly provides users with real-time location info on a digital map. Using the app, parents can get peace of mind knowing exactly where their smartphone-carrying or smartwatch-wearing kids are when outside of their sight, and can also let users know when friends are nearby for impromptu check-ins and meet-ups. It’s an especially great tool to have on hand when taking vacations or other trips with friends, family members and/or coworkers, as all connected Zenly users can easily keep up with where their fellow travelers are at all times, and even quickly track them down when exploring unfamiliar locations. Zenly is available for iOS users and Android
- MamaBear: Another family-tracking app option, MamaBear, allows parents to see their child’s physical location at the touch of a button — but it goes beyond that. To set itself apart from the competition, the app can also provide parents with useful insights on their kids’ social media activity and driving/riding habits via push notifications. In the social realm, moms and dads can set up notifications in the app to receive alerts when their kids add new friends on social media platforms, post specific words entered into a customized list in the app, upload photos to their profiles and more, all through the app settings. And for parents of young drivers, MamaBear can send parents push notifications when their kids exceed a set driving speed, as well as when they arrive at their destinations and start heading back home. MamaBear is available for iOS and Android
- FBI Child ID: This FBI-created app allows parents to store their kids’ photos and up-to-date identifying information (such as eye color, age, weight and height) for fast and easy access should their child ever go missing. A special tab in the app also helps parents quickly notify the authorities to report a missing child, and additional helpful features include child-safety tips and guidance on steps to take if a child does go missing. Currently available only for iOS devices, FBI Child ID can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.
- Food Additives 2+: While the options above are geared toward monitoring loved ones’ locations and ensuring their safety, this app focuses on avoiding diet-related dangers. For parents looking to keep a closer eye on exactly what their kids are eating (and even to become better informed on what’s in their own meals), the free version of this app provides useful information on 50 common and risky food additives. The app — which can be especially helpful for parents of children with food allergies or other health concerns that can be exacerbated by diet choices — allows users to search for information on food additives by name, risk, symptoms and more. It’s available for iOS users in the Apple App Store.
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