Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on October 25th, 2015

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Halloween is approaching. Use one of these 5 safety devices/apps to keep your kids safe.

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Halloween is Saturday, here in the US. Even though here in the Chicago area it tends to be freezing, and more often than not raining and windy the kids will still insist on venturing out in hot pursuit of a lifetime worth of candy!

Halloween is a day that parents find particularly worrisome when it comes to stranger danger, and kids wandering their own neighborhood or venturing off too far. At some point, most kids start to travel in packs of friends and don't want Mom & Dad following along. You know, they get too cool for that! And, I have to admit at around that same point I am tired of following them around in freezing, wet conditions.

So, how do you go about giving kids the freedom to trick-or-treat with a sibling, friend or group of friends without going out of your mind with worry? Well, we touched on a similar topic last month. We did a blog called "5 apps that can keep you safe on the go." Many of these apps can also be used to aid in child tracking on Halloween. I will revisit a few of them and have a few more kid-friendly additions.

1. Find my Friends. We have discussed this app many times here on the blog. It is available on iOS. It can be used to track friends and family members. It can help you keep tabs on their locations. It can only be used if the other party accepts your request so you cannot use it to stalk unwilling individuals. In our house, it is non-negotiable on our kid's devices. They have fun tracking us in return. Find My Friends is a free app available in the iTunes Store and has no additional monthly service fee. 

2. AT&T Family Map. AT&T Family Map is similar in features to Apple's Find My Friends but goes a few steps further. First of all AT&T Family Map is not free to use. It does offer a free 30-day trial, but after that, it is $9.99 for up to 2 lines or $14.99 for up to 5 lines. Family Map offers text alerts when say your child returns home, or ventures out of a specified zone and it also allows you to view location history.  This service is compatible with iOS, Andriod, Windows and Blackberry.

3. Watch Over Me. This is another app we covered last month. It is available on iOS and Andriod. It allows you set a specific time for monitoring and provides a notification if a check in is not mad at a specific time. It allows for a uploaded current photo to document what you are wearing for ease of description to authorities if necessary.  You can document whom you are with as well. The app also allows you to make an emergency call by shaking your phone if you are in danger. The Watch Over Me app is free, and so are most of the features. You can add unlimited text notifications for $4.99 per year.

4. Pocket Finder. This device, available through retailers like Amazon is ideal for children who do not yet have a phone or smart phone. It is a small device that can easily be stored in a pocket or backpack.  It works with a corresponding app on the parent or guardians phone and is available on iOS or Andriod. Via the app you can monitor whereabouts on a map, you can receive updates on departures and arrivals as well as get notifications if you child travels outside of your specified zone.  Pocket Finder has a retail price of $129.95 with a $12.95 monthly charge. They also have pet finders, senior finders, and auto finders.

5. Trax Family. Another option for children not yet ready for a phone is Trax Family. The device can be clipped to clothing or placed in a backpack. The device retails for $249 but is then fee free for a 2 year period. After the 2 year period, there is a $5 monthly fee. The device works with a caregivers mobile device and is available on iOS and Andriod.  It allows for setting geo-fences, speed alerts and more.

Well, there are five ways to help you stay sane on Halloween. and trust me there are many devices to choose from at varying price points. This Halloween, keep some piece of mind and allow age appropriate children to trick-or-treat with a sibling or friend in a nearby area. How do you manage Halloween with kids who are passed the age of wanting or needing a parent to trick-or-treat with them? Perhaps your child goes to a friends house to trick-or-treat, wouldn't you like the peace of mind of knowing they are ok and where they are even if they do not yet have a cell phone?