Comparing Family Safety Apps: MamaBear and Life360

Mamabear Family Safety AppChoosing the right family safety app isn’t easy. There are a number of  great options on the market today providing parents some peace of mind. MamaBear App and Life360 are two top choices many families consider.  While both apps have similar features when it comes to monitoring a child’s location using a smartphone or other mobile device, there are some key differences between the apps. Let’s discuss what makes MamaBear and Life360 similar and different.

Similarly, the MamaBear and Life360 app offers parents the ability see their children’s current and recent locations. Both apps also allow kids to check in with parents using the app. They also allow parents to set automatic alerts to track when their kids come and go from places they frequently visit (school, soccer practice, friends’ houses, etc.).

Both apps have some key differences as well.

Here’s a breakdown of the ways in which these two Family Safety Apps differ:

– Mamabear offers social media monitoring.  For example, with MamaBear a parent can receive alerts when a child makes a new friend on Facebook, follows someone new or uploads a photo on Instagram, gets tagged or @mentioned in a photo, message or at a location on Facebook or Instagram.  The restricted words list allows parents to be notified to words or phrases that are posted on their child’s Facebook or Instagram page. The list can include inappropriate language or words that may indicate bullying.

Related: Protecting Kids from Internet Stranger Danger

– MamaBear offers driving speed monitoring for teens. Parents receive an alert when their child drives or rides over a preset speed limit that tells them how fast they were going and where they were when they exceeded the preset limit. You can also view the child’s speeding history.

– MamaBear offers a custom child view. Kids can check in with parents with emoticons or send a quick “come get me” or “emergency” notification from a different view with a child profile log in.  Kids can also customize their view of the app with wallpaper selections.

– Life360 offers a premium version along with their free app. The premium version of Life360 comes with access to a 24/7 advisor connecting you to a real person who can direct emergency responders to your location, give you personalized crisis care, access your emergency profile, etc. The premium version of the app also includes stolen phone protection.

– Life360 has the same map view regardless of the family role as a child or parent allowing parents to share their location if they choose. The app also adds crime updates and sex offenders plotted on the map.

More recently, the app added “Circles,”  a feature to create custom groups of people to share location and messages.

Two great family safety apps with many different features filling different needs for families. Choose the right one for your family and let us know how it goes!

Using MamaBear with Apple’s new iOS 7

Apple recently introduced iOS 7, the newest version of the  iphone operating system. The new operating system features a redesigned user interface and several functionality improvements.

MamaBear family members using an Apple iPhone upgraded to iOS 7, especially iphone 4 and 4s users, may have noticed a change with location updates. Although there are many great new features to iOS 7, there are new settings to be aware of  affecting location service apps.

The October 23 app upgrade to MamaBear included better iOS 7 compatibility and we continue to work on other improvements, especially the ability to update location more often using iOS 7.

In the meanwhile, there are some proactive steps you can take to get back on track with location monitoring.  These industry articles expand on the lag iphone 4 and 4s may have on iOS 7: readwrite.com and USA Today.

Please review these settings on your child’s iPhone

1. Be sure “Location Services” is on by reviewing Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

2. Be sure background app refresh is on for MamaBear by going to Settings > General > Background App refresh. We won’t be able to update your child’s location if this is turned off.

3.  Ask your child to keep MamaBear running in the background.  If your child swipes MamaBear up by double clicking the phone’s home button, it will close the app and not allow us to monitor location in iOS 7.

4. If your child is auto-updating apps, be sure they are logged in to MamaBear after they update any new releases from MamaBear.

5. Set up safe places in MamaBear!  Entering programmed places helps the app run in the background, not to mention keeps you updated!

Following these steps will help MamaBear work more efficiently on your child’s phone if they are now using Apple’s new iPhone operating system.

We’ll gladly answer any of your concerns by getting in touch with us at info@localhost. Stay in touch!

 

Using Apps to Keep Track of Your Kids this Halloween

halloween-safety-tips

Every kid wants to enjoy the fun of going house-to-house with friends in the dark trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Many of us parents remember the sheer joy of running through the neighborhood in the dark with friends collecting ungodly amounts of candy. Back then, our parents sent us out the door and let us go. Sure, they worried about urban-legend-inspired razor blades in apples, but didn’t worry as much about stranger danger as we do today or reputation damaging photos on social media.

Related: Protecting Kids from Stranger Danger

Today, things are a bit different. Sending our kids off into the the dark isn’t something we are all comfortable with. And while many neighborhoods around the country have designated trick-or-treating events to keep children and families safe, sometimes that is not enough to reassure parents worried about sending kids off to trick or treat with friends or to attend a Halloween party.

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents and Children to Help Keep Your Family Safe

  • Make sure costumes are safe. Kids don’t want to be restricted in how they wear their costume, but tell your children that there are some common sense rules they should follow. For example, make sure they keep their faces exposed so they can breathe and that their costumes don’t cover their eyes. Discourage them from wearing full masks when trick-or-treating in the dark. Of course, flame-retardant costumes are a must to prevent fire accidents and be sure it’s the right size so they don’t trip over it.
  • Increase visibility. Make sure your child wears bright clothing or even small reflectors. No one wants to worry about their child being hit by a car if they aren’t able to be seen. Encourage younger children especially to choose light-colored costumes. Give them glow sticks and flashlights to carry with them so they can be seen by drivers.
  • Travel in groups. Older kids are going to want to trick-or-treat on their own, without a parent. If they do, make sure they go with at least one friend, preferably more.
  • Monitor social media.  Remind your children to think about the consequences of a picture before it’s posted or messaged to anyone. Halloween is a high traffic time for photo sharing. Monitor your kids being tagged, or comments being made about their spooktakular attire. The MamaBear App can help you monitor your child’s social safety.
  • Track your child’s location. Install a family safety app like MamaBear on every family member’s smartphone so you can monitor your children’s whereabouts. The app allows your children to check in with an emoticon to share where they are and how they’re feeling. Children can also request rides from parents or send SOS messages if they are in trouble. Alerts can let you know if your child has indeed made it to that Halloween party and when they leave.

See Also: Halloween and Safety Tips from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Thankfully, parents have resources today to keep their families safe during the free-for-all that Halloween night can be. Reminding your kids of these safety measures and monitoring their location  and social activity provides peace of mind while allowing your children to enjoy all the candy, haunted houses and other Halloween fun we loved when we were kids.

For more child safety tips visit the MamaBear blog or follow us on Facebook.

Image Credit: Kids Activity Blog

Helping You Get Started with MamaBear 2.0

MamaBear 2.0You spoke and we listened. A new-and-improved version of the MamaBear Family Safety App inspired by suggestions from our users is now available.

MamaBear 2.0 features a number of enhancements that will be of interest to both children and parents:

  • Parents will love the larger map view with one-tap access to all information and more details on a child’s activities, such as their current and recent locations and any recent alerts received.
  • School and safe place alerts are now combined into a simpler feature with notifications letting parents know when their child has arrived or left places. The arrival alert to safe places provides additional comfort to parents.
  • The new view when a child’s logged in makes MamaBear more entertaining for kids and supports the app as a family communication tool. Enhancement to the check-in feature uses fun emoticons to share how they’re feeling.  And it’s customizable allowing children to choose their own wallpaper for the app background.

How to Get the Update

Visit the Apple App Store on your iOS devices and the Google Play Store on your Android devices to install or update the MamaBear App. Remember to update the app on your children’s phones for optimal use of the new features and be sure your children are appropriately logged in.

If it’s your first time installing MamaBear:

1. Download the app on the primary parent’s phone and create an account to add your family members.  Add the phone number and/or e-mail address you want to monitor as the child.

2. Install  the MamaBear App on the child’s phone. Log In with your child’s phone number and your password. The child’s view of the app is different than yours.

3. Be sure MamaBear App stays put. If your child closes MamaBear out of memory or deletes the app on their phone, you won’t receive location points. Check settings on your child’s phone to make sure location services is turned on and background refresh is on. Updated locations are controlled from MamaBear being active on your child’s phone.

Here’s a video to help set up parental restrictions on iPhone to prevent deleting apps.

Related: New Phones – Happy Kids – Anxious Parents

Helpful Tips

  •  Added guardians will have the same parental view as the main account holder. The main account holder and guardians will only be able to view children’s location and alerts, not each others.
  • You can monitor Facebook and Instagram activity without your child logging in to the app. You’ll simply need their login and password for each social site. Build a restricted words list to be alerted to inappropriate language, indications of hate or bullying.
  • Set Up location, driving and social media alerts. On the parent’s MamaBear version, tap “Settings” and select your child. You will see the easy-to-follow options for setting up alerts for location, social media and driving. When entering an address – keep it simple. In many cases, you don’t need to enter the full address.  We use Google to look up what we think you mean.  Sometimes just a place name works for the address to pop-up an accurate “did you mean” box.

Related: When Parents Monitor Kids’ Instagram

Tell Us More

We couldn’t have developed MamaBear 2.0 without the invaluable feedback of our friends and fans. But our work isn’t done – the team at MamaBear will continue to invite the suggestions of our users so that we can continually work to fill as many family safety needs as we can. The MamaBear Family Safety App provides parents with  ways to communicate with and protect their children in the age of digital parenting.

 Your feedback is important to us. Stay in touch and let us know what you think of MamaBear 2.0.  Email info@localhost with your questions, comments and ideas.