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Friday, October 25, 2013

Smartphone tips to help your children have a safe Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips Sheet - Click HERE

With most people carrying smartphones today, it’s become easier than ever for parents to keep tabs on their little goblins. Wireless phones today provide more than just the ability to call and check in on your children’s location. Child Quest International wants parents to be aware of other ways they can use their wireless device, and their child’s, to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

• First, pre-program ICE – In Case of Emergency – numbers into your child’s speed dial on their cell phone, such as your number, a neighbor, and the police station. Make sure your child knows how to use their device in case of an emergency, such as dialing 911 and providing their location, landmarks, etc. to the 911 operator.

• Make sure your child’s cell phone is fully charged before they leave the house.

• Use the alarm clock on your child’s device to give them periodic reminders to text or call home along their route or to remind them when it’s time to head home. Make sure the volume on the device is at its highest so the child can hear it in a crowd.

• Create a wireless “Trick-or-Treat” patrol for your neighborhood. Have various parents stationed along your community’s trick-or-treat route and have them text one another when they kids have reached certain points and are heading home. The patrol is a great way for adults to monitor Halloween activities in their neighborhood as well.

Additionally, with a multitude of safety apps available at your fingertips today, peace-of-mind is just a download or click away. For example:

• Download a free FLASHLIGHT app, like the iHandy Flashlight app so your child’s device can be used for easy navigation.

• Download the RedPanic Button app to your child’s device for extra peace-of-mind. The free version of this app allows trick-or-treaters the option to press the Red Panic Button to automatically send out a text message with their exact coordinates on Google Maps to family members. Panic can also be shared on Facebook or Twitter.

• Track your trick-or-treater with a location-based service, like FamilyMap, which lets you track the location of your child’s device on an interactive map from your smartphone, PC or tablet. 

• The Life360 tracking app is free and allows family members to alert one another when they’ve arrived at a destination. It also allows family members to follow each other’s movements with minute-by-minute updates and real-time check-ins with the tap of a button. The app also lets you view safety points and threats that may be nearby.

• The free FBI Child ID app lets parents store their children's photos plus other identification (height, weight, hair and eye color, age) for quick access if a child ever goes missing. The information is stored on wireless device only until parents need to send it to authorities. Notable features include safety tips, checklists for what to do if something happens to your child, and shortcuts to dial 911 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Parents also have the ability to email info immediately to law enforcement agencies if the unthinkable occurs. 

• The Sex Offenders Search app which will show you if there are any registered sex offenders living along your child’s trick-or-treat route. Simply activate your smartphone's GPS and connect to the National Sex Offender Registry to locate registered sex offenders and predators in the area. You can search by name, address, and zip code, and results will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on a location for more details, such as pictures, names, addresses, and a list of offenses. The app cost $1.99.

This story was written by Kelly Starling: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/oct/24/smartphone-tips-to-help-your-children-have-a-safe-/

Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

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