In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have locks on our doors. We wouldn’t have police officers patrolling with guns to get the bad guys. We wouldn’t have password protected accounts or ever have to worry about where our kids are. We could trust our children with strangers, we could trust that they wouldn’t land in trouble and danger, and raising children would be a much easier thing indeed – not too mention a lot less frightening.
But you don’t need to be told that we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world that can sometimes be a dangerous and scary place, and for kids, this means there are a lot of risks out there. So we buy locks to keep them safe, have 911 on speed dial, and monitor their electronic lives.
For parents, these security risks trump any other needs of the family budget and attention. Monitoring and keeping track of children is their number one priority, and all other concerns get tossed to the wayside. It’s enough to keep you quite busy, trying to keep up with all their activities and keep them safe at the same time!
But is this really the best way to go about things? After all, monitoring kids is great, but if it’s not done right, it can have some adverse consequences – you can end up sheltering your children and being an overprotective parent that never teaches your child how to live independently.
It’s a difficult and complex line to straddle. But if you are armed with the right tools – and the right apps – for tracking your kids when they use a cellphone, you need not feel guilty over your mindful parenting. Here are a few apps you can use to watch your kids:
- Google Latitude: Not only is this offered as a separate app, but you can use this in conjunction with Google Maps. This app is used for people who already own a cellular phone – they invite you to view their location. This is a great way to keep track of friends who are on their way to your home for the first time, but also a good way to keep tabs on a teenager while they’re on, say, their first independent drive.
- Footprints: This is a paid app that does not allow your child to mess with it – always a good thing – and gives you their location while the two of your cellphones are synced up. You can similarly use this app when your child is on a first date or checking out a new venue and you need to feel better about the event but not chaperone them.
- Trick or Tracker: Ideal for Halloween – hence the name – this app is great to use with younger children who still trick or treat but have finally reached the point of being able to trick or treat on their own. You can also use this app to create a digital boundary that, when crossed, prompts the app to send a text message to your phone.
- Lookout: This GPS tracking app is generally used to find a lost phone, but can also be used for the purposes of tracking.
Keeping tabs on your kids is not an easy thing. It’s tough to straddle the line between overprotective and properly-cautious. But if you can utilize technology like the apps you see above, you won’t have to worry about being overbearing – and you won’t have to worry about your child, either.