Part of the parental instinct is to keep our children safe. As the teenage years approach and children begin spending more time on the internet, and out with friends, how can we help keep them secure? Devices like the iPhone are beginning to offer new avenues for security through the availability of apps meant to increase safety on the web and out in the world.
Whether intended for monitoring, education or communication, there are a wealth of apps available at reasonable prices to help provide some peace of mind. The type and number of apps targeted at parents are countless. I found the apps in this review to be a representative snapshot of what’s out there in today’s market.
What Kind of iPhone Apps are Available to Keep Children Safe?
Price: Free App, $10/month or $100/year subscription service required
SafetyWeb monitors the “online footprint” of your child by keeping a constant watch of social networking sites, like Facebook. Their watch dog-like methods provide ongoing reports to parents, letting you know what sites your child has visited and sending alerts if your child posts inappropriate content. As a bonus in the fight against cyber bullying, you can also be alerted when your child is being threatened by peers online. The subscription service runs $10/month or $100/year.
LRNtheLingo offers an education in a whole new language. With the expanding popularity of texting and mobile internet, an entirely new form of shorthand has been developed. LRNtheLingo gives parents a dictionary of common shorthand terms and the ability to search for terms. It’s tough to monitor internet posts when you have no idea what they say. “GTG get some jacks b4 the party.” Huh? LRNtheLingo is a relatively simple way to decode the message: “Got to go get some cigarettes before the party.”
TeenTicket gives your teen the capability to send you a subtle request to be picked up immediately. After purchasing the app, simply set up the contacts with your teen and they will be given the ability to send you a request with the simple touch of a button. Whether it’s a party with alcohol, or uncomfortable sexual pressure, this app allows your kids to contact you without the peer harassment that may accompany an actual phone call.
GoneOut is a location recording and reporting app. Your teen is able to enter who they are with, where they are going, and how long they’ll be gone. This information can then be posted to social networking sites or sent in an email to provide you, the parent, with updates throughout the time your kids are out and about. You can also join in the fun and help your kids keep tabs on you, helping create a family culture of communication.
SteerClear Mobile was developed by State Farm Insurance to help teen drivers better understand the dangers and rules of the road. This app allows drivers to log their experiences and self-evaluate their skills. As an added bonus, upon completion of the educational course in the app, your teen may be eligible for a discount through State Farm Insurance. Regardless of your insurance provider, however, this app is an interactive wealth of information. I also found it to be a great refresher for the experienced driver.