Child Safety Management Apps and Spying Apps
By Stephen Schroeder
This article continues the needed discussion surrounding the ever evolving app list on your children’s phones. For more information on what we’ve deemed the most dangerous apps of 2017, click here.
The difference between Child Safety Management Apps and Spying Apps
On January 18, 2017, The Gazzette published a post about Jonathan Birt, who was jailed for spying on children in the school where he once worked. This news adds to the number of incidents making spying on children an alarming crime. This case also intensifies the discussion regarding the negativity around spying of any kind.
The use of GPS apps to locate children is also seen as a spying tool. People have different thoughts about it and some parents may complain that such apps actually increase threats to their children’s safety. On the other hand there are people that believe such apps are indispensable for helping safeguard their children’s lives.
Even with the continuous debate about children trackers and spying apps, the number of devices and software for child trackers is still consistently growing. With all these apps and products in the market, is there really a good one to use for keeping children safe?
Apps that are meant to spy
Setting aside those spying apps that are crafted by government agencies, let us take a look specifically at those products that are very open in proclaiming their business as children spying apps. These devices or software tell people, especially parents, that there is a need for them to spy on their kids. These spying app companies promote their products by tapping into scare tactic reasoning like early pregnancy, early marriages, reckless driving and drug addictions.
This spying software is claiming to be the only product that can spy on phone calls. The app needs to be secretly installed on the phone of the person being watched. The parent using the app should at least know the password of their kids’ phone to install it otherwise the app is useless. Spyera presents their apps features to include access to photos, videos and audio tracker, phone call tracker, VOIP calls tracker, and VOIP call recording. Remotely controlling a kid’s phone is one of its proud features.
Phone and text messaging play an importance role in teen’s daily lives. Teensafe is a software that can spy on the phone and call messaging. This software must be installed in the child’s phone with the exception that parents have the option to let their children know or not – thus retaining the capacity to install it surreptitiously. They can choose to let them know but it does have the capacity for spying.
Given the two sample products, the element of a spying app is secrecy and infringing on the privacy of children. The more secretive it gets, the more effective the app will be. This secrecy is where the discussion and many opinions about spying apps arise.
Child Safety Management Apps
The core intent of providing apps for tracking and locating children is to increase their safety as they go about their daily lives. The companies providing these apps know how important children are to their parents. The peace of mind it can give knowing their kids will be safe while outside their home is invaluable.
Child safety management apps often include tracking capabilities, geofencing features and alert systems. Citing some names for child safety and location sharing apps will give us a better view of their usage.
Life360 Family Locator
This app used GPS to track and monitor children. It has an alert system which tells parents when children arrive at school or exit those premises. It has a one-button panic alert feature, which sends emergency notification to parents whenever the kid is loss or just simply scared for some reason.
MobileLocate Family Locator
This app concentrates on using mobile phones for location tracking and child monitoring. It also uses GPS technology plus cell network data to function as a location tracker. The app is usually offered by mobile device carriers. The company responsible for the app is boasting their 24/7 customer service and hassle free connection.
This newcomer has a promise of using GPS+ Assisted GPS for a better connection signal. Turtler Ltd. is presenting their app as a quicker, easier to use and more accurate product. Its geolocation connection is assisted by telecom tower triangulation. The app features include 2 way calling and texting, safety perimeter set-up, alert system, flexible communication set-up and group location sharing. A main stand-out differentiation of the app is their industry-leading encryption, authentication and data privacy standards to resist any hacking of their services and loss of data to third parties.
The concluding difference
Child safety management apps main features are geofence creation, an alert system for parent and 2 way communications, while spying app main features are text and call monitoring, phone snooping and location tracking. Child safety apps are installed without violating any privacy of the children.
The big difference of the two app types are that the child safety management app does not monitor children as if they have done something bad or will soon do something that is not conforming to their parent’s interest, which on the other hand is the revolving idea on spying apps. The main focus of safety apps is the security of the child once they have left their home or away from their parents care while spying apps are concerned with judging the social behavior of the kids.
What YOU can do:
With this daunting list, you maybe asking yourself how you can keep your kids safe, here are some tips:
- Approve every app on your kid’s phone
- Follow your gut instincts, if something feels off with your child
- Teach self-monitoring to your children
- Encourage your children to use technology, including their social media accounts, for good
- Find out what is popular in your region, different apps catch on in different locations
- Have regular discussions about phone use, apps, and social media with your kids
Stephen Schroeder is the founder of Turtler and started the company after being dissatisfied with all the available options for keeping connected with his toddler daughter in the busy streets of China. He has previously led the SEIRIM web application and development agency in Shanghai. Prior he worked in journalism, advertising and graduated university in Spain.