Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on March 1st, 2015

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Using technology to communicate in case of emergency in the complicated world we live in.

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I would like to apologize for the delay in launching this Monday's blog. This morning, parental concerns got in the way of business. In the world we live in 2015, we are faced with many challenges that our own parents didn't face when we were children. Today is one of those time when you are faced with the call that all area schools are on lockdown due a firearm threat.

Reports of firearms in schools are nothing new in this day and age and as you can image sends parents into a stress induced panic attacks. This is a prime instance where you can point to the benefits of technology for parents, educators and children alike. Schools and law enforcement are able to communicate via customized emergency alerts via phone, text, and email.

One item for me that has been key is communicating directly with my children. Yes, they have cell phones. They are allowed to use them in school to varying degrees based on school and age/grade. I am able to receive more information than may be being reported which can be good and bad. Some of the information is hearsay or teen gossip, and I take it with a grain of salt. But, I am thankful that no matter what I can at least for the moment know that by simple, quick text messages I can keep in contact with my child.

Many believe that technology is bad for children, or that kids shouldn't have phones. As a pro-tech parent, I can say it offers piece of mind. With Apple iPhones, you can use "Find my Friends" to track my child's location. My kids know we use this and also know they have no choice in the matter. I also believe the kids should be allowed to carry their phones with them for times such as these. Information is like the schools on lockdown. However, I know that my kid is safe for the time being. Technology has its place in this complicated world we live in.

Law enforcement and schools can gather a great wealth of knowledge from technology as well. In recent times, there have been threats stopped due to someone reporting tweets, Facebook posts, etc. Students, teachers, parents and officers equipped with social media have extra resources to share information and potentially stop something horrible from occurring.

Use instances like these when they are reported in the news to create emergency plans with your children. Just has you should have emergency evacuation plans in case of a fire, or in case of emergency contacts, you should have procedures for emergencies in schools. Did you know that within the Apple Health app there is a feature for a "ICE (in case of emergency)" contact that can be accessed by emergency personnel via the lock screen of your iPhone? If you are on the lock screen and click "emergency" you then get to a screen for calls and on the bottom left is a red asterisk and the word "Emergency" that will call your emergency contact. Discuss when it is appropriate to communicate and to be specific about important details.

How does your family or business use technology to communicate in emergency situations? Are phones allowed at your children's school? What is the workplace policy for personal phones in emergency situations? If you do not use technology with your children or significant others, I urge to create a plan and stay connected.