The Daily App: Trick or Tracker -- Keep Little Monsters Safe on Halloween
The streets will be thick with tiny ghouls, superheroes and monsters tonight, but the "Trick or Tracker" app helps parents keep track of children as they prowl the night for candy.
At some point, it happens: the kids want to go out on their own, you need to stay behind to give out treats or the house is being egged. It can be hard to let children roam alone, but geolocation can give you peace of mind.
What's the App?
There are tons of Halloween apps that promote fun and games, but parents also want something that can help make sure little ghoulies are safe. The Trick or Tracker app, developed by Iconosys for Android and available for $5, lets you check their whereabouts and movements by providing location updates to your phones via text messages.
You can install the app on any Android phone that kids carry as they trick-or-treat. You can then register a phone, which doesn't have to be an Android model, to track the app. After that, the child's phone and your phone must be "paired" with a security code that links the two. You can then set up intervals for the child's phone to send text message location updates to your handsets, whether it's every 15 minutes, half hour, 45 minutes or an hour.
The app has a colorful, seasonal design, but its festive look and feel belies its more serious functions. Beyond the notifications, kids can also use the app to send locations to you manually as well as locate you if they run far afield. There's also a feature on the phone to send a "distress signal" to you if they find themselves in dangerous situations.
Trick or Treater isn't new, but it's updated with key features that call for a second look. The app has a geo-fencing ability: you can set the maximum distance your children can travel from home, and the app will alert you if they run beyond it. In addition, a "Tracking Compass" appears on a map, which can be installed as live wallpaper, showing kids exact direction to you.
Overall, the app is easy to use on both the parents' and children's end, with a colorful design, simple navigation and large, bright fonts. Older kids will find it a breeze to use. The company says if kids are too young to use the app, they're too young to trick-or-treat on their own.
You'll Want It If...
You're a parent with a brood looking to break out on their own this Halloween, but are still concerned about safety. The app is a great example of using technology to help with the never-ending, all-consuming task of parenting -- without taking the place of parenting itself. The automatic text updates is an especially invaluable feature, since kids can be prone to "I just forgot, Mom!" But even the ability to locate children on demand is a nice safeguard for worst case scenarios -- just make sure they don't lose the handset.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Trick or Tracker is expensive at $5, but its features can be used year-round, if you can bring yourself to overlook the Halloween-theme graphics, but limitations to Android phones are an issue. The Life360 app offers similar functionality, but it's free and available for both iOS and Android. It doesn't have the geo-fencing or automatic text updates, but it gives you a way to track all family members, as well as communicate as a group. ♦
Categories: The Daily App | Utilities