6 ​apps to keep the kids safer this Halloween

How to keep tabs on your children while they’re out having fun

Halloween is almost here, and as kids turn the corner going house-to-house for goodies, plenty of parents begin to panic. When children are old enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision — but are still under their parents’ watchful eye (albeit remotely) — apps are one answer for keeping tabs on kids while they’re out having Halloween fun. These mobile apps take the scare out of Halloween, giving parents peace of mind while their kids collect another piece of candy.

FootprintsFootprints

As your kids make their way through the neighborhood on Halloween, you’ll be able to follow their every step via Footprints, the free app that tracks and shares locations of their whereabouts. Real-time data lets parents know exactly where their kids are as long as the child has a smartphone on them as they’re out having fun. To be sure your child doesn’t go outside the predetermined permitted areas you’ve established, Footprints’ “Geofences” send you an alert if they’ve wandered outside the lines. Kids cannot disable their phone — only parents have that permission, so you’ll always know where their footprints fall.

FamilySignalFamilySignal

Map your child’s every move as they head into Halloween with FamilySignal, a location-sharing app that’s designed to let parents know where their child is at every moment. View a map of your area on your smartphone and you’ll see where your child is in real-time. Not only does FamilySignal let parents breathe a sigh of relief, but the kids can help them keep their cool by checking in with a “Touch Base” alert. And if the kids ever fear they’re in danger or lose their way, the “Panic Button” will ping parents and authorities to notify them that they need help. The basic plan is free with options for upgrades and annual memberships, starting at $4.99 per month.

Circle of 6Circle of 6

Empower your child, tween, or teen with the free to-download Circle of 6 app, giving them the tools they need in case of a Halloween night crisis. Your child chooses six trustworthy family members and friends to add to their “circle.” Various icons on the app can be tapped if your child needs aid, such as “come get me,” “call me,” and other swift messages that will send an alert to the circle. The people in the circle will be updated as to where your child is located, and since there are six people invested in their safety, there’s always someone available in case a parent misses an important notification.

GearBrainLife360

Families have lots to manage, making Life360 an app that’s super for synchronization. On Halloween, make use of this all-in-one app and keep the kids safe and in your sight — even when you’re not by their side. (Maybe you’re at home trying some of the Halloween gameson Alexa or Google Assistant.) Create a private circle and the selected members can check in from destination points, send group messages, log into locations, and more. And if you have a teen driver, Life360 will keep you informed on signs of distracted driving. On Halloween in particular when kids are out walking the streets, safe driving is a must. Free to download, fundamental for families. There’s also a paid version as well.

MamaBearMamaBear

No matter how old the kids get, you want to protect them. With MamaBear, a free app, you can manage your child’s safety via app this Halloween if they’ll be away from the “den.” Not only can you track their location as they trick-or-treat as well as receive arrival and departure notices, but you can monitor their social media use, text messaging, and keep a group family chat going so everyone’s in the loop. This all-around family management app provides safety in more ways than one, keeping every Mama (and Papa) Bear sure their kids are safer this season.

FBIFBI Child ID

In a worst-case scenario situation and your child goes missing Halloween night, FBI Child ID, created by the FBI, will be the only app you’ll turn to for a swift response to a parent’s worst nightmare. The app is free to download and priceless in its power. The app stores photos and identification information about your child which can be sent to the proper authorities in seconds. Along with advice on what to do if you cannot locate your child, the app is set up to store contact information for your police department and other relevant phone numbers you may need at a moment’s notice in a time of crisis.

Going Strawless can Make a Big Impact

Join Sundays with Victoria and Grom Social and pledge to go strawless, because even little changes can make big difference.

Single-use plastic straws have become a major environmental issue as they do not break down and are not compostable or recyclable. Plastic straws can make their way into the waterways and end up in the ocean creating a toxic mess and danger for all the animals that call it home and the people who enjoy it. An estimated 500 million (half a billion) plastic straws are thrown away each day in the U.S. alone. That means 182,500,000,000 straws per year go into the landfills, streams, lakes, and oceans!

Not all people can go strawless, especially those with disabilities, but choosing to switch to an eco-friendly alternative in your daily life will help to make you part of the solution, reducing pollution at its source! Together we can make a difference.

What can you do:

Don’t use single-use plastic straws

Find and use reusable straw alternatives at home or on the go

Talk to others about going strawless.

Support organizations that are trying to make a difference like Lonely Whale.

Ready to make a difference?  Silicone straws are great for kids as they are soft flexible and stainless straws are awesome because they almost chill your drink as it is sucked through!

Try these alternative straw solutions:

Parental Text Message Monitoring Isn’t Snooping, It’s About Safety

test message monitoring

For many parents, the idea of  looking through their teen’s phone and text messages feels a little icky. Browsing through their personal messages may feel like reading their diary or invading their privacy.

But, keeping an eye on your child’s text messages isn’t about snooping; it’s about safety.

The Importance of Safety Over Privacy

As children grow up, they seek more independence, privacy, and freedom. It’s natural to let your child take more ownership of their lives, and it’s important to give them their space.

But, it’s just as important to stay connected to their lives.

As a parent, you need to know what is going on with your teen, what is happening in their life, and who they are communicating with. If your teen isn’t forthright about these details, it can create safety issues.

They may be hanging around with the wrong people, connecting with dangerous strangers, getting involved with illegal activities, or even starting to explore drugs and alcohol.

So if you feel like you are losing your connection with your teen, you need to do what you can to keep them safe. That may include checking their text messages.

When, If Ever, Is It Okay to Read Your Teen’s Text Messages?

Reading your teen’s text messages isn’t snooping if it can help keep them safe and protect them from dangerous strangers, bad influences, and sometimes even themselves.

If your teen starts doing any of the following, it may be time to take a deeper look into their lives.

  • Your teen starts to hide their phone or shield their messages from you.
  • Your teen quickly loses friends or joins a new group of friends.
  • Your teen starts sleeping more or spending more time in their room.
  • You catch your teen sneaking out or staying out too late.
  • Your teen stops spending time with family.
  • Your teen’s habits begin to change.
  • Your teen’s looks begin to change.

These can be signs that something bigger is going on with your teen. They may be struggling or dealing with issues that are outside of the scope of typical adolescence.

If you feel like something deeper is going on in your teen’s life, monitoring their text messages may help you find out what is happening and give you an opportunity to provide the help and support your teen needs.

How To Respectfully Monitor Your Teen’s Text Messages

If you decide to monitor their text messages to get a better idea about what is going on in their lives, the MamaBear, The Ultimate Parenting App™ can help.

Our app offers a text message monitoring tool that connects parents and teens.

When a teen installs the MamaBear app on their Android device, their incoming and outgoing text messages can be recorded and sent to the parent’s version of the app.

To set up text message monitoring:

  1. Install MamaBear on your teen’s phone. (While Mamabear is available for iPhones and Androids, the teen version of the text message monitoring tool is only available for Androids at this time.)
  2. Install MamBear on the parent’s phone. (The parent version of the text message monitoring tool works for both iPhone and Androids.)
  3. From the child’s phone, go to the profile settings, tap “text alerts.” Tap “Turn On” in the top right-hand corner.

Monitoring your teen’s text messages may feel like snooping, but the upside far outweighs the downside.

By connecting with your teen’s digital life, you may identify and prevent problems in your teen’s life and help keep them safer, happier, and healthier.

Get the MamaBear app now by downloading it for both iPhone and Android devices.

Wait to Update to iOS 9

We’re loving the new iOS 9 features but you may want to wait a while before you update. Since the original release of the new operating system from Apple on September 16, an update to fix “minor bugs” was released on September 23 with iOS 9.0.1.  Yet, Forbes is reporting there are still some vulnerabilities. Perhaps Apple will release another “bug fix” update or we may have to wait until iOS 9.1 which may be weeks away.

MamaBear customers may also be experiencing an app crash if already updated to iOS 9.  We’ll have an app update available in the next couple of weeks to patch up any issues regardless of your operating system version.

If you’ve already updated  or plan to soon, be careful with the Wi-Fi Assist feature.  It automatically allows your phone to download data via your cellular plan when Wi-Fi coverage isn’t great.  This feature is rather helpful, particularly for apps like MamaBear needing the connectivity to provide you reliable information, but it could eat up your data.  Read more at USA Today.

Our recommendation for now is to wait to update.