All parents work hard to keep our kids safe. However, sometimes unexpected things happen. Imagine if your child finds themselves alone at school or at the soccer field waiting for their ride and starts to feel unsafe. Or maybe in an emergency a teen takes an Uber and feels uncomfortable with their Uber driver. Or maybe they are at a new friend’s house and you need to pick them up, but they’re not answering your texts or calls. Today’s GKIS article covers several tech remedies that you may not have been aware of.
Fake Phone Calls on TikTok
Although we’d like to think our child would never feel unsafe enough to need a fake phone call, TikTok users think otherwise. Search “fake phone call safe” on TikTok and you’ll see a video that stages the sounds of a real phone call conversation.
Typically in these fake phone call videos, the person recorded in the conversation is saying that they are expecting you and are aware of what you are doing. They are designed to make the listener appear as though they are real-time connected to their parent.
Possible uses for this video are if your child is in an Uber or somebody they don’t feel comfortable with is giving them a ride home or if they feel unsafe while walking home or waiting for a ride alone. Not only does the fake call take the pressure off of them from talking to the stranger=, but it also appears as though they are being tracked for location and situation.
Emergency SOS is a free default feature on your iPhone. By clicking your power button five times, you can trigger an automatic 911 call within three seconds.
How to Check if Your Child has this on Their iPhone
Go to Settings > Emergency SOS > Select On to turn on the call with the side button switch, then enable Auto Call.
To test it, click your power button five times and wait for a loud alarm to sound. Of course, be sure to click it off before the 911 call goes through.
Find My Friends
Another great way to know where your child is at all times is the Find My Friends app on the iPhone. With this app, you can check where your child is at all times.
Find My Friends comes as a default feature of an iPhone. To use it, you simply have to make sure you have clicked the Share My Location feature under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Share My Location.
Life360 “Feel free, together”
Similar to FindMyFriends, Life360 is a tracking device for Apple phones and Android phones that allows you to sync your family into a private, invite-only circle.
Life360 has three membership levels with different features:
- Location Sharing
- Battery Monitoring
- Location ETA
- Place Alerts – notifications when family members come and go from your most frequent Places
- History – a quick view of your family member’s drive a location data for the last 48 hours
- Help Alert
- In-App Chat
- Crash Detection
- All of the above plus Crime Reports
- All of the above plus Emergency Dispatch, Roadside Assistance, and Driver Report
Personally, my mom and I have always shared our locations on the FindMyFriends app because of our almost 3-hour drive from one another. Once I discovered this app, I immediately made her download it because of all the unique features. However, not everybody is a fan of this tracking app. Search “Life360” on TikTok and you’ll see teens insisting that their lack of privacy and spying parents have ruined their lives.
Recently Dr. B says her clients have reported that teens are giving it one-star in the Apple store hoping that Apple will respond by removing the app. GKIS suggests you use discretion and offer older teens their privacy if they ask for it.
Emergency Whistle App
This kind of app can be found in the app store by searching up “Emergency Whistle.” Choose your favorite and download it!
In this app, you can access a digital whistle that activates a loud and alarming sound while also causing your phone flashlight to flash off and on. This acts as a physical whistle nicknamed a “rape whistle.”
Growing up I always carried one of these whistles. But now I’ve found this app which allowed me to feel safe for those late nights on campus as I walk back to my car.
Cell service is not always the best. This app offers a “panic button” service which when you press it you are instantly connected to 911 services. It will give emergency personnel your exact coordinates with or without a good cell connection.
I remember a time in middle school where my mom was running late after I got out of drill team practice. I sat at school alone for a bit wondering when she would show. Worried, I began to walk home on my own on an unfamiliar path that was deserted. Looking back at that memory, I wish I would’ve had an app like this one just in case something happened. Luckily, I made it home safe and sound!
ICE Medical Standard App
With the ICE app, “The World’s #1 Emergency Medical App,” your vital statistics like blood type, allergies, medical conditions, and medications will appear on your Lock Screen Display Overlay. That way emergency personnel has potentially life-saving information for appropriate medical care.
Medical ID App
Similar to the ICE Medical Standard App, you can use the Medical ID app on both Android and Apple smart devices. It displays an emergency medical card on the lock screen of the user’s smartphone while also allowing to navigation through this screen to get to a list of emergency contacts.
Another great feature of this app is that you are capable of sending SMSs of your location. There is also a function where you are able to send GPS tracking to designated contacts. Several profiles can be saved on this device for those who have larger families.
Although every parent does their best to ensure their child’s safety, parents can’t be with their kids 24/7. Thankfully with the help of these apps, you can have the reassurance that your child safe when you are not around.
Special thanks to Danielle Rivera for researching and co-writing this article. If you liked the article, you’re interested in learning more tips on how to get yourself and your child prepared with great safety tools check out the Connected Family Course on the GKIS website where you will be able to create a family understanding of why these apps are important for everyone to have on their phones.
Onward to More Awesome Parenting,
Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty