Apps that keep your children safe in the real and digital worlds

Detective Perkins with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said phone apps are one of the best tools a parent can use. (Photo: KRCG)

For parents it can be scary out there. Children are exposed to danger every day.

According to the Department of Justice, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing or abducted each year. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, over 4,000 children were reported missing in 2018. If parents are worried about how they can keep their children safe, Detective Perkins with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said phone apps are one of the best tools a parent can use.

"A lot of parents don't realize that Apple has a restriction app. That you can turn off Facetime, texting, and even track their whereabouts all through the phone. There is an app for everything, many parents just don't know that," Perkins said.

Garima Snigh, a Child Adolescent Psychiatrist at the University of Missouri, said many parents worry about how to balance safety in both the digital and real worlds. "It is definitely a digital world; new statistics show that 95 % of kids have access to a smartphone,"Snigh said. "We want our teachers and parents to know that it is important to know what is on their cell phones."

Jennifer Coffman, a mom of two, said she is worried about who her children talk to online. She uses OurPact to make sure her children are safe.

"It is very important that I know strangers aren't contacting my kids and that they aren't contacting strangers and strangers are't contacting him," Coffman said. She said OurPact allowed her to see what her kids are doing on their phones, where they are, and how they are using the internet.

With over two million apps in the Apple App Store, it can be overwhelming for parents to know which apps can keep their kids safe, which apps their kids should stay away from, and which ones are trusted by experts. Snigh said that she always recommends parents do their research before buying or using an app. Here are a few she recommends:

Kid safety apps:

Norton Family- Norton Family parental control software helps protect your kids by showing you what your kids are doing online and identifying potential dangers before they become problems.

OurPact- This app is a simple family locator and parental control app giving parents of teens the ability to locate family members and limit screen time by blocking internet and app access.

Noonlight- Noonlight uses advanced technology to get emergency help to your exact location with just the release of a button

FBI Child ID- The first mobile application created by the FBI—provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and other vital information about your children so that it’s literally right at hand if you need it.

MammaBear- MamaBear provides parents with a powerful all-in-one safety and awareness tool that offers a unique set of social media monitoring features, family mapping, and alerts.

Spyzie- This app helps parents remotely track and monitor all activities on a cell phone. It is also a monitoring tool for all devices including Android and iOS. Tracks WhatsApp, SMS, call logs, location tracking to name a few.

My Family Tracker- Family Tracker is a GPS tracking app that allows parents to track the location of Android and Apple cell phones and tablets so you know where your kids are at all times. You can send free text messages between them.

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