Parents use technology to keep track of kids, and keep them safe
Jessica Ridgeway’s abduction certainly heightens parents’ fears about their own kids and what they can do to prevent it from happening again.
Some newer and more standard technology can help keep your kids safe.
What was designed to help find misplaced iPhones helps Ashley Daidone track her daughter, Camryn.
“I have a 13-year-old daughter who has a little more freedom. Especially this past summer, she liked to ride bikes with friends down to Cherry Creek or something. I am not 100% comfortable with that,” says Ashley.
But with a free app called “Find my iPhone”, Ashley can find Camryn’s phone wherever she is.
“Here it is, we’re on Eudora,” Ashley shows us a map on her phone that shows Camryn moving up and down area streets on her bike.
“Knowing I can watch her get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B,’ and know she got there safely, and she texts me when she gets there and when she’s ready to leave, it’s really peace of mind,” she says.
It means when Camryn is biking alone or with friends, her mom is kind of along for the ride.
“I feel safer. It’s good to know somebody knows where I am–if there were to be a situation where I wouldn’t be able to call,” says Camryn.
Verizon has a similar app called “Family Locator.” It alerts parents that their child arrived at school, for example, and when he or she left–finding the child in real time.
“This is the world’s first GPS/cell phone for kids. It has a locking mechanism and it has a tamper-proof wrist strap,” says Jason Sullivan, the inventor of the LEO watch.
This newest technology actually alerts parents if a child is abducted.
The LEO watch lets a child push two buttons that simultaneously send panic alerts to parents, and to a 24-hour emergency call center, which then calls 911.
It also automatically alerts parents if a child walks outside a designated school route, if he or she leaves a designated place, or if the child goes to a place they’re not allowed, like the home of a registered sex offender.
And a speed alert lets parents know if the child got in a car.
“You see your child’s location on your smart phone and you can get directions to your child,” says Sullivan.
The company that makes the LEO watch is taking pre-orders right now. It has more than 2,000 orders so far. But needs 10,000 to make it cost-effective to send to a manufacturer.
He says to make just one would cost $1,000. The retail cost will be $249.95. But for those who pre-order, the watch will cost $149.95.
Less sophisticated are pre-paid cell phones.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says these phones, which you can get for as little as $10 a month, are a good idea.
It opens a line of communication between parent and child. And with it, a child can call a parent when he or she arrives at school.
But, Nancy McBride with NCMEC says while technology is great, she cautions that it can fail, so parents shouldn’t rely on it too much.
She says nothing beats supervision and practicing safety tips, so a child can avoid abduction in the first place, and then how to get out of it, by kicking and screaming.
For the Daidones, technology helps them feel safer in a world where so much can go wrong.
“You’re never 100% safe from those kinds of things. And it’s just a good thing to have,” says Camryn,
“I feel comfortable we’ve taken measures as much as we can without being too overprotective,” says Ashley.