About 2 hours outside Minneapolis, MN, sits the quiet city of Randall, which is situated along the banks of the Little Elk River.
One Sunday, two local boys ventured out to the Highway 115 Bridge over the Little Elk River, where locals commonly gather to cool off in the warm weather.
When one of the boys failed to show up for a family gathering, his father began searching for him because it was unusual for the boy not to be on time.
While trying to locate his son, the father used the smartphone app “Find My Iphone” to find out where his son was and he’s lucky he did.
When the dad arrived at the location, he found his son’s 12-yeard-old friend unconscious, lying face down in the river.
His 14-year-old son was also semi-responsive. He helped pull both boys to shore where first responders quickly arrived and took over.
Both boys were rushed to hospitals and thanks to life-saving efforts by the father and first responders, both are expected to be okay.
According to first responders, this story would have had a very different outcome had the father located the boys only a couple of minutes later.
In today’s highly digitalized world, everyone seems to be carrying a smartphone, including kids. In fact, on average, children are between 10 to 12 years old when they receive their first mobile device.
And, not surprisingly, almost 70 percent of teens admit to hiding online activities from their parents.
In other words, it’s never been more important for parents or grandparents to monitor their loved ones smartphone activity to help keep them safe, which is why I want to share with you a few applications that can do just that.
Kaspersky SafeKids. Cyber security company Kaspersky, offers a reliable all-in-one tracking and controlling app for a child’s smartphone. Simply install the app on the child’s phone and you’ll be able to control it from a dedicated dashboard.
This includes which apps and websites they can access and for how long. In addition, the app makes it easy for parents to define rules and halt actions that go against the rules they’ve set up.
Plus, whenever a child tries to access anything restricted or goes over device usage limits, you’ll get a notification.
With the free version, it works as parental control app, but you can get more safety features with a $16.99 yearly subscription that includes location tracking, call and SMS logs and detailed reporting on internet usage.
Life360 Family Locator. Life360 does an amazing job of keeping your whole family connected all the time. It’s a tracking app that keeps complete record of where your kids are currently and where they were the entire day.
You can also send personal messages and even communicate in group chats. All registered family members are shown on an interactive map in real-time and you can start a chat just by tapping on their profile.
The tracking and chatting features are completely free, but if you want some additional features then there is a premium version as well.
With Life360 Plus ($50/year) you can see tracking history from last 30 days, create location alerts, track a lost phone, get help in the emergency and even get roadside assistance.
SPIN Safe Browser. If you are worried your kids might accidentally access something inappropriate on the web, then you should get SPIN. It’s an easy to use, simple browser that blocks all types of inappropriate content on the web without any configuration need.
Just launch the browser and start exploring. If kids try accessing any inappropriate website, either directly or through a link, it will block it.
Some of the blocked content includes pornography, drugs, alcohol, malware, phishing websites, gambling and more. One surprising thing is that SPIN Safe Browser allows YouTube, but it automatically blocks channels that show inappropriate content for kids.
So, your kids can safely enjoy using YouTube. One of the best things is that SPIN has no private browsing mode, meaning your kids can’t do any hidden surfing on the browser. Lastly, SPIN is free to download.
In this day and age, the ability to track children’s smartphone activity, as well as location, is an invaluable tool to help keep them safe.
Unfortunately, our children and grandchildren will face new dangers that can come from technology but these applications, which are available for both Android, and iOS users, can help play a role in keeping kids protected.