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Thursday, September 26, 2013

10 Apps for Tracking Your Child’s Whereabouts

Every parent frets over their child’s whereabouts, wondering where they are and what they’re doing when they’re away from home. However, with the technology available on many cell phones, you can now rest easier with some digital safeguards. There are a number of apps that, when combined with open family communication, may give parents the edge when it comes to keeping track of your child’s whereabouts. 

These 10 apps will help you track everything from how fast your child drives to where he’s hanging out on the Internet and for how long.

  • (FREE) FBI Child ID: This is every fearful parent’s must-have app. You can keep a store of detailed information about your child, which is instantly accessible at all times. The information that you store can quickly be forwarded to authorities, should your child go missing. With FBI Child ID, if you even lose sight of your child at the mall, you can show security guards a detailed profile that will help track their whereabouts in no time.  The app has a database of hints and tips on child safety, and is free to download, too. Download iOS | Android
  • (FREE) Find My Kids ~ Footprints: With Find My Kids you can virtually track everything that your kids are up to while they’re out of your line of sight. If they are speeding, the app sends you notifications. When they cross a fence, you’ll know about it. The app is completely automatic, so you don’t have to do a thing. Your kids cannot disable the app, giving you full peace of mind. If you wish to, you can also share waypoints with your partner or trusted friends. Download iOS
  • Family Tracker: If you are concerned about any of your children’s whereabouts, Family Tracker will let them know. The app costs $3.99 and works by sending a repetitive push message every 60 seconds. Once the message is acknowledged, the location of the child is updated on GPS and sent to your device. You can access Family Tracker from either your Apple device or any browser. Download iOS | Android
  • (FREE) Life360 Family Locator: Some of the key features of the free Life360 app include the ability to track non-smartphones, safety point and threat alerts and family chat. If your child has arranged to go to a particular location, the app allows you to track their progress and lets you know when they have arrived. Download iOS | Android
  • Best Baby Monitor: Use two Apple devices with this $3.99 app to create your very own baby monitor. You can hear, watch and speak to your baby from any location that has WiFi. Best Baby Monitor will work with a combination of iPhone and iPad, or iPhone and Mac. If you already own these devices, this is a great way to save on a baby monitoring device.
    Download iOS
  • iCam Webcam Video Streaming: If you’ve ever wanted to install a home surveillance system but found it to be too expensive, iCam – Webcam Video Streaming is the option for you. It only costs $4.99 for the app and can connect to multiple webcam feeds of your choice. iCam will even send you notifications if you are linked to a motion detecting feed whenever there is a potential alert. Download iOS | Android
  • Provided you have compatible systems in your home, will allow you to control security cameras, alarms and alerts; switch off lights, set the temperature, and even tell you when the kids get home from school. There are a number of custom features, too, which allow you to set alerts for important reminders, such as leaving the garage door open, or someone changing the temperature on the thermostat. Best of all, the app is free. Website
  • (FREE) Mobicip Safe Browser: This is a free browser with parental controls, which allows you to monitor and control what your child accesses on the Internet. Your child’s data is encrypted the moment they log onto an unsecured connection, helping keep them safe from hackers. The app uses a number of filters to restrict access to undesirable content, all of which you can control.
    Download iOS | Android
  • (FREE) SecuraFone: This free app allows you to set boundaries for where your kids go and how fast they drive. As soon as they breach the rules, you receive an automated call letting you know. SecuraFone uses the built-in GPS in your child’s iPhone, and even sends alerts if the phone becomes inactive. Parents can view up to 90 days of data that help you analyze your child’s habits. Download iOS | Android
  • Game Time Limit: Another great app for keeping track of your child’s virtual whereabouts, Game Time Limit allows you to dictate how long he spends playing games on the phone. Once the time is up, you don’t have to worry finding him because an alarm appears on the phone that only you can switch off with your passcode. The app costs $0.99, however, it is a great way to keep you from having to constantly chastise your child to finish playing games.
    Download iOS

Disclaimer: Child Quest International (CQI) does not receive funding from any of these companies/apps, nor do we receive funding from the source site. This post does not endorse these products; CQI shares this information in an effort to inform parents of additional resources that are available to you and your family. CQI encourages all families to read the “fine print” for all devices and apps.

Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tips to Keep Your Children Safe While They Surf the Internet

According to Pew Research Center, two-thirds of parents monitor their children's digital footprints. Approximately 40 percent follow their children on Twitter and Facebook. Previously, parents were advised to keep the computer in a place that was easily visible. However, mobile technology has rendered this form of protection useless. That is why you need to learn how to teach your children to keep themselves safe while they surf the Internet.

Communication is Key

Try out the services that your children are interested in. This will allow you to attain full benefits from these services and even receive an alert if there is any kind of problem.
Some apps and services allow parents to limit the information collected. Make sure you pay attention to the permissions that each app requests.

Tell Your Children What to Watch Out For 
  • Make sure your children know not to click on links or open email from people they do not know. These links could lead to inappropriate websites, malicious software or sites that try to trick them into giving personal information. 
  • If someone is cyberbullying them or mentions things that make them feel uncomfortable, they need to log off. Social networking sites and services have reporting tools or email addresses where you can report this type of abuse. If the message is threatening, contact your local police department to file a report. 

If you or your children receive images or messages that are: 
  • Lewd, indecent, obscene or filthy with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass you;
  • You or your children become aware of the viewing, use or transmission of child pornography over the Internet, report this incident to the CyberTipline or call 1-800-843-5678.

Set Specific Guidelines

Give your children guidelines to follow so they know exactly where you stand. Make sure to enforce consequences when your children breach these guidelines. Keep an open dialogue with your child. Explain the reasons behind Internet restrictions and encourage them to come to you with questions or concerns.

Online Monitoring Tools and Filters

Safety software is an effective way to keep your children from viewing inappropriate and dangerous content. Many Internet service providers offer parents the technology to block these materials from entering their child's computer. You can find the perfect Internet provider by combining package options with filtering tools to keep your children safe. This software typically comes with other tools like keystroke recognition, remote monitoring and reporting, as well as time management.
Even though filtering tools can block some of what children see, they may not block what they say. Staying informed is the most effective way to keep your children safe.

Written & Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GPS Locator Technology: Is Fear of Abuse Worse than Losing a Child?

As technology advances, humanity is faced with a dilemma that should be an aspect of common sense. Is implanting a GPS location chip morally right in order to keep your children safe? Surgically adding a device under the skin could eliminate the chance that the locator can be lost or removed by an assailant, but at what cost to humanity? While many parents are on board with the idea of being able to find their children immediately in the case of an emergency, some are deciding against using technology because of how easy it can be abused. Unfortunately, the events of 2013 haven't helped in the arguments against abuse as conspiracies and a long list of privacy invasion makes headlines from our governing officials.

Every Move You Make...
Like every technological advancement, there has been someone there to exploit it for personal or corporate gains. In the event of GPS tracking, government officials would be able to track your every move regardless where you were. Since the people of the United States have witnessed that phone conversations and text messaging is no longer sacred and private, GPS locator technology would most surely be abused cloaked in some anti-terrorist law, unless there were policies to safeguard against this loophole. And since the implanted chip could remain under the skin indefinitely, anyone who has access to the technology could track every movement your child makes for the rest of his or her life, hypothetically of course.

Every Breath You Take...

From the innocent standpoint, a GPS locator within a child could locate him or her within a few meters of his or her actual location. This could mean the difference between returning your child home safely or not. Combined with Amber Alerts, returning a child to home safely would be incredibly faster in comparison. Those who would take a child would have a considerable more difficult task of getting one across state lines as the locator can be activated almost immediately. For devices that are implanted, there is less likelihood that the assailant would be able to circumvent authorities regardless of his or her precautions. Clothing can be thrown away, but a chip implanted in the hand is less likely a target, hypothetically of course.

Every Step You Take...
Some counter argue the safety of GPS location devices by stating that if you weren't doing anything illegal, you should have nothing to fear. However, it is much more than that to many Americans. And rightfully so. It's not merely the fact that the government can watch as you visit the hair salon or take note of which grocery stores you visit, but more of the fact that they can do just that. And without the capacity to leave the locator behind, your every step can be watched from the comfort of someone's office chair.

Every Mobile Device You Use...

Currently, a form of GPS location can be in your pocket right now without surgical implementation. Nearly every smartphone has the capacity to record and distribute your location. In fact, most of your location apps do just that. From as simple as a golf app to get yardage for each stroke to security systems that can help you track and find your lost or stolen smartphone and/or tablet, you are already subscribing to GPS technology. The difference is, you can leave these items at home or disable the settings, preventing the devices from being used to follow your  every movements. If you have a chip implanted under your skin, it's not like you can detach that part of your body if you don't want someone knowing where you are.

...I'll Be Watching You.
In the event of a child being taken, the fear of losing your child forever should be more motivating than what "Big Brother" wants to do with the information. However, many parents don't see it in such regards. Once your child is chipped, they can remain under the watchful eye of government officials for the rest of his or her life. This means if a tornado destroys a shopping mall, the person can be found much quicker. There are an incredible amount of positive possibilities to locating a person, hypothetically of course.

Somehow, a morally-sound and safe happy-medium needs to be established. Is this even a direction of humanity we want to embrace? The prospective good that GPS location technology has warrants additional scrutiny and policies. If done right, GPS technology could play a vital role in protecting children, and may legitimately have a place in child safety. Perhaps if there were a certain level of trancperacy within the agency appointed to protect the digital fingerprints, maybe more people would be comfortable with the technology? Unfortunately, corruption knows no boudaries and the safeguards put in place to protect us could be manipulated and abused by the government, corporatons and the public, hypotehtically of course.

Author Bio: Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to

Additional Writing & Editing by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hispanic Heritage Month Poster Contest

Join Child Quest International (CQI) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and embrace the legacy and the future of Hispanic children and families.

As you take time this month to remember the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made, CQI encourages you to continue making safety a priority by participating in NCMEC's annual Hispanic Heritage Month Poster Contest. This year's theme, "Cyberbullying: Recognize, Reject, and Report (Hostigamiento Cibernético: Reconócelo, Recházalo, Repórtalo)", is the perfect opportunity to begin conversations with children about online safety and encourage them to step up against cyberbullying. Through artwork, students can express how they Recognize, Reject, and Report cyberbullies.

The poster contest is open to all fifth graders. Entries must abide by official contest guidelines and be received by October 8th.

 Prizes include:
First Place - Laptop & Accessories
Second Place - Nintendo DS
Third Place - Portable DVD Player

For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Facts: 1 in 8 Are Victims of Sex Trafficking

1 in 8 endangered runaways reported missing in 2012 were likely sex trafficking victims.

Custody Arrangements on Children’s Passports to Prevent Child Trafficking: Taking Liberties or Protecting Them?

The abduction and exploitation of children has been part of human history for thousands of years, and continues unabated today. Around 2,000 Missing Reports for children are filed in America, every day.  A quick Google search using the term “Child Trafficking” and you begin to see the scale of the problem. From newly identified child trafficking networks in Venezuela, to places like New Jersey and California being cited as a trafficking hotspot and a 12% rise in the risk of children being trafficked in England alone, children being abducted and exploited is a worldwide phenomenon, which in many parts of the world is largely brushed under the carpet. 

But a recent report published by the European Commission appears to want to tackle this issue and in a press release this week, the Commission has suggested the possibility of implementing a worldwide strategy to help prevent child trafficking: micro-chipping all children’s passports with their custody or contact arrangements. Clearly, this measure is designed to include what is sometimes referred to as ‘tug-of-love’ cases, where a divorcing parent may seek to take their child abroad to avoid further contact with the other parent. But will this measure in reality really protect our children or will it cause more uncertainty and in the worst possible instance, greater loss of life? 

In the US, for 2010, some statistics suggest that 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period, and that of those children some 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions. In the UK, a child ‘disappears’ every three minutes and around 17% of abductions are carried out by the child’s parent. That amounts to a suspected 600 cases a year in the UK, where an estranged parent abducts their child.

The very term abduction conjures up something frightening and unexpected, and can sometimes sit at odds with the so-termed ‘tug-of-love’ cases, where the abductor can be a parent trying to escape a violent partner, because the family justice system has not been able to protect that child. In effect, it is not an abduction, but an intervention. This of course is not the only reason children find themselves being taken abroad by one parent without the consent of the other. Sometimes, intractable conflict between the parents acts as a catalyst for one parent to leave the country with the children. And it is this kind of behavior that the European Commission is in part, trying to guard against.

The advantages of having a child’s custody arrangements on their passports are potentially rewarding: being able to spot and detect children being taken before they leave the country, having the opportunity to detain the parent and child and so avoiding the often long and sometimes fruitless search when trying to locate them once they have left the jurisdiction (it is notoriously hard to locate children who have, for example, been taken to countries which do not have reciprocal arrangements with that child’s country of residence for dealing with abductions), and perhaps most importantly ensuring that if a child is suffering from the experience, that the experience of abduction can itself be stemmed fairly quickly, with fewer ramifications.

The disadvantages though, are plenty, and cries from human rights corners of the legal system have been echoing since the report by the Commission was released. Dubbed the Big Brother Chip by civil liberties groups, the idea that a passport should house such intimate details has caused something of a stir and may result in thousands of parents taking their children on holiday being viewed as potential child abductors. Anyone who has traveled alone with a child will know that this attitude is becoming more and more prevalent – with some border guards even refusing to speak to mothers and asking children as young as seven where they are going and whom they are going to see, all of which can be very daunting for a small child, and can sometimes result in the child not being able to answer. The potential for misunderstanding could, conceivably, cause Big Brother style problems. These days, parents traveling with children, who have different surnames to their children, are advised to bring a letter of authorization or evidence such as birth certificates for verification, though not required to do so. Yet.

And what of the fleeing family, who have been failed by the justice system and who are seeking to avoid domestic violence? The answer cannot really lie in muting potentially helpful measures to avoid wrongful child abductions, but must lie in how the justice system responds and subsequently deals with issues like domestic violence in the first instance. Chipped passports or no, the parent fleeing to protect their child must be protected long before they decide upon more drastic measures. 

It remains to be seen whether chipped passports will be implemented and whether if they are, they will be effective. There is a fine balance between protecting our children and raising them in a world of fear and suspicion. 

Written by Natasha Phillips. You can read more about Natasha's work on her website Researching Reform or follower her on Twitter

Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International