If you've ever walked a child to school, steered them safely past the rain-slicked pavement, the menacing cars and trucks on busy streets, the freckle-faced classmates roaming the playground and into the arms of a harried kindergarten teacher, you know the world can be a dangerous place (at least when viewed through the eyes of a wary parent). Some days, it seems there are terrors at every turn.
Thankfully, most turn out to be phantoms. But as the news media reminds us almost daily-it pays to be vigilant. And so it's a deep parental comfort knowing that there are numerous apps that can help you turn your own smartphone into a powerful child-protection tool.
The Verizon Family Locator app can help you monitor your children’s whereabouts as they go about their day. Not only does it alert you by email or text when, say, your child leaves their recital and arrives at her best friend’s house—but it can also pinpoint their smartphone signal on an aerial photo or a map.
For the full suite of family security apps Verizon offers (some free, some paid), visit Verizon SafeGuards.
Family Medical Info.
Seasoned parents know that—like it or not—we all end up in the emergency room with our kids eventually. Luckily there’s an app to help you navigate that experience. The Family Medical Info app can store vital data on your family’s medical history, including lists of prescriptions, allergies, vaccinations, blood types and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The app also allows you to contact your primary care physician or insurance rep with the tap of a button. All this allows you to focus more on your child’s well-being and less on their medical minutia.
A companion app—ICE: In Case of Emergency—makes your child’s medical info available to EMTs and doctors even when the smartphone is locked.
Verizon Smart Family.
For better parental control over your child’s digital interactions, Verizon Smart Family lets you govern when, how and with whom your child communicates, restricting their service hours and limiting calls, text messages and purchase options. As an added bonus, it can help manage your child’s data usage—ensuring you don’t exceed your monthly limit.
For a parent, the thought of a young son or daughter disappearing without a trace into a crowded mall, an amusement park or a stranger’s car somewhere along the way home from soccer practice is the ultimate nightmare. According to the FBI, more than 400,000 children are reported missing each year. That sobering statistic is why the FBI has created a free Child ID app (available for Android™ and iOS) with safety tips and advice on what to do in the event of a crisis.
The app lets you store up-to-date photos and information about your child (height, weight, eye color, birthmarks, mannerisms, etc.) that is vital to detectives in the critical first 48 hours of a missing person investigation. Simply use the special tab on the app to quickly e-mail the information to authorities with a few clicks.
With any luck, you won’t need a lot of these apps. But it might just make you sleep better knowing they’re installed on any of your Verizon devices if you do.
When it comes to your online life, a little extra caution never hurts. Visit the Family Online Safety Institute for more great tips on juggling privacy and security. And be sure to check out our complete parents' guide to kids and tech on our Family Tech page.