Social media isn’t exactly known for protecting our rights, privacy, or shared materials. When anyone signs up for an email hosting site like Google, Yahoo, or Outlook, there are privacy and policy information notifications most people ignore. If even adults ignore these “please read” policy prompts, then why would we expect our children to read any of this material before subscribing, signing up, or creating accounts?
Not only are children just accepting the policies, but they are accepting whatever information TikTok provides, to be true and following that information. We’ve all heard of the TikTok challenges in schools across the nation. These are videos where children and teenagers dare others to follow suit on certain aspects. Some of these videos are fun and trendy, but many of them are awful and harmful. Does TikTok take them down? No. These dangerous videos and challenges are still available, harming your children.
TikTok Isn’t Protecting Your Children
TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, is in the hot spot again for misuse of children’s data. In the UK, the video company could be facing a 29 million dollar fine. According to the London Commissioners Office, children under the age of 13, without parental consent (although this is a common parent mistake), had their information tracked and used in research and data gathering. Last year, the Netherlands also placed a large fine on TikTok, stating the company failed to provide privacy rights to children users. The Chinese company is appealing both allegations presently. If you remember from our Toddlers and Tablets, then you know that smart kids figure out swiping past notifications frequently. So do you really know what your child may or may not be sharing on any electronic device?
Go ahead and Google search TikTok and lawsuits…we’ll wait. But seriously, what is this company not in hot water for? Besides its popularity in catchy videos, it’s also popular for a breach of data and privacy. We’re not saying you should delete the app if you have it, but, well, actually, that might not be the worst thing you could do.
TikTok is facing national news as it keeps gaining lawsuits in a ‘pile-on’ notion from states claiming abuse of privacy rights and infringement. In fact, Indiana and California both have lawsuits against the Chinese-owned trending app company. Not only that, but many government officials have banned the app on all military electronics. Why? Well, if you remember any details of President Trump and TikTok, it would be that the former president was trying to ban TikTok due to concern over national security. Now I’m sure we’ve all had a moment or two of frustration with other social media apps like Facebook or Instagram; however, I don’t believe any government entities have tried banning or blocking those apps.
So we know that TikTok isn’t protecting your children’s information and definitely doesn’t have their security and privacy in mind either. These are things that we, as parents know, but not something we can easily discuss with our kids since they don’t see the problem. What we can discuss with our kids are the negative influences social media and TikTok challenges are having on them and their friends.
Do you remember the Tide Pod challenge? Or maybe you remember the blackout challenge? How about the milk crate challenge? Let’s be honest, there is a long list of social media challenges negatively influencing your children. However, since TikTok is a trendy social media app, with its platform based solely on videos and repetition, it’s the most dangerous. If you’re not familiar with those challenges, you’ve either been blessed with rose-colored glasses, or you don’t have access to the news, social media, the internet…or us. We’re going to guess you at least have some awareness of these dangerous trends and challenges.
Unfortunately, where there is an opportunity to share information quickly, there is danger. The most dangerous aspect of TikTok and other social media is that it’s a new level of peer pressure, even from peers that your child doesn’t even know. This level of peer pressure is causing children to act out aggressively, threatening students, teachers, and other peers. There is an increase in social media threats through TikTok, whether it’s because it’s the trendiness of the app or something else. Regardless, these challenges are negatively influencing our children, and this app isn’t doing anything to help protect your children.
Very recently, Texas lawmakers introduced a bill banning children from using social media. Republican State House Representative Jared Patterson introduced this bill as social media has led to a rise in self-harm, suicide, and overall negative peer pressure. This bill details the idea that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and others not only verify by simply asking children their age but require a picture and state-insured identification. This comes after government officials booted TikTok from all government electronic devices.
If you’re thinking that your child may be participating in trendy social media apps or challenges, we highly encourage you to look into the Children’s Safety Apps we’ve discussed before. Most of these apps will allow you to monitor your child’s screen time, app interaction, and web browsing so you, as a parent or guardian, can be as informed as possible. With the current privacy and data collection though, TikTok is proving to be quite harmful and dangerous to our children. The app’s negative influences are putting our children’s privacy and their lives at risk. Please do your research.
As a parent, it’s important that you do your due diligence when it comes to protecting your children from accessing inappropriate content online. Unfortunately, most parents don’t even consider the possibility of their kids accessing porn through streaming services like Spotify. When I first heard about this my initial thought was “No way!” But this is a real problem that requires attention. I even experimented with it myself and found the concerns I’ve heard from parents to be legit. Folks…if you have kids AND they have access to Spotify, you need to pay attention. Let’s explore how this can happen and what you can do to prevent it.
What many parents may not know is that you can access multiple forms of content through Spotify. On their own website, Spotify says users can “watch music videos, documentaries, and exclusive video series, all from within the Spotify app.” Most parents who have heard of Spotify are unaware that Spotify is essentially a full-service video platform as well. It turns out that some users have discovered a way to access explicit images and videos through Spotify playlists.
For example, one user created an explicit playlist called “Pornhub Awards 2020” which contained links to pornographic websites as well as explicit images and videos. The user also added links to other playlists with similar content, which can easily be accessed by anyone who happens across the original playlist.
But…finding some of these playlists don’t always require an explicit query, sometimes they’re more subtle. For example, a seemingly innocent search for “music video” in an account (that kids had access to) returned some semi-suggestable content. However, when I searched for “audio amateur videos 2022”, I was hit with many results that were explicit in nature. Those screenshots are below (they are not suitable for all audiences either).
We also stumbled across a very informed Instagram post via ProtectYoungEyes.com that laid out some other ways kids are finding loopholes to porn through Spotify. One mom said that by simply typing two commas in the search bar returned a bunch of mature playlists and titles. They even go onto explain that you can’t block them and they show up even if you have the “Explicit Content” option toggled off.
Here’s What Parents Are Saying About Spotify And Porn
I have to be honest, this whole issue of finding explicit content on Spotify through non-explicit means really shocked me when I first heard about it. Apparently, Spotify does have some serious issues with its content filtering and search features. What I stumbled upon was not unique to my experience. It wasn’t like some AI algorithm was feeding me personalized results. Spotify just isn’t that sophisticated (no offense to their dev team). All you have to do is visit CommonSenseMedia and look at the user reviews for Spotify to see just how big of a problem this is becoming.
One parent says, “No way to report explicit content. If you are an adult it is great. Not so great for kids especially curious teenage boys. It has an explicit content filter but there is so much content on there that has not been flagged explicit.”
A Worried_Mom commented that Spotify has “Easily accessible pornographic podcasts. This is an awesome music streaming app! But be warned – kids can access PORNOGRAPHY in the form of SEXUALLY explicit podcasts.” There are dozens more reviews like these from parents.
And therein lies the problem. Spotify is a fantastic tool for streaming music and podcasts. And as we’ve seen with other tools with good intentions, there are bad players out there ready to exploit the technology so they can exploit users.
Protecting Your Kids From Accessing Porn Through Spotify
So What can you do? We’ve talked about this before. One of the best things to do is to have meaningful conversations with your kids about the choices they make online and with technology. Kids are curious by nature and many times their intent, when they do stumble upon explicit content, is innocent in nature. Conversations are key. But with Spotify specifically, the first thing you should do is ensure that all devices in your home are password protected and that only adults have access to them, at least those devices where explicit content can be accessed.
It is also important to make sure your kids understand the importance of not sharing their passwords with anyone else and only using their devices for appropriate activities. Additionally, make sure you are aware of all the streaming services your kids are using and monitor their activity on those services regularly. There are a ton of programs and software that will help you monitor your kids’ activity online. I personally recommend MMGuardian. Finally, educate yourself about parental controls offered by streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc., so that you can take advantage of them if needed.
As A Parent, It’s On You To Know
It is important for parents to be aware of the possibility of their kids accessing inappropriate content online, including through streaming services like Spotify. And take steps to protect them from doing so. By setting up passwords on all devices in your home and monitoring your kid’s activity on streaming services, you can help ensure that they are not exposed to unwanted content like pornography via these platforms. With a little bit of effort on your part, you can keep your kids safe online and help prevent access to content and ideas they should never be exposed to.
As your children enter the world of technology and the internet, it’s easy to forget the critical conversations about cybersecurity. For young adults, fun apps and games easily steal the show regarding what occupies and steals their time. As we discussed in Toddlers and Tablets, it’s vital to know what your kids are doing with their screen time and how much. The more they are on the internet and using technology without perimeters, the more likely they and you will have issues like hacking, scamming, identity theft, and worse. Children might provide enough information that they fall into a predator’s grasp, becoming victims of unspeakable things.
When it comes to apps and gaming, kids cannot escape the opportunity to play whatever is suggested and thrown their way. Tablets offer endless options for downloads and games, which include ads for other obnoxious and rarely beneficial games designed to entice kids. Kids seem to quickly figure out what games they can download and what buttons to bypass for the “adult approval” prompts. I speak from experience when I tell you my three-year-old son can skip nearly every “make sure a parent approves” option. A few times my son has even been able to purchase an app without my fingerprint. (Don’t worry, we’ve fixed this.) These apps and gaming databases are proving a problem for our children and us, whether it’s tablets, cell phones, or computers.
If you have kids, you’ve probably experienced the moment they realized your cell phone had games. I’ve seen it time after time, where the kid starts acting out, and the parent hands over the phone for Netflix or a game. I’ve seen everything from Brick Breaker, Snake, Angry Birds, Tetris, Pokemon Go, and more, regardless of age appropriateness. Sometimes the moment of patience wears thin, and parents will do what’s necessary to occupy their child and get stuff done.
Cell Phones, Tablets, and Computers
Regardless of your stance on kids and electronics, you’ve probably seen your fair share of kids playing games of various sorts on apps. Though many may seem harmless, it’s the online environment including predators, chats, downloads, and more that creates concern for us parents. So how do we approach cybersecurity with our kids, when their entire universe focuses on technology without education and warnings?
Cell phones, tablets, and computers provide easy ways to download and play games with simple clicks and great ads, all incredibly enticing. We suggest breaking the cybersecurity conversation down through bits and pieces, so children can understand how it affects them and how it can affect others.
Most gaming consoles like the Playstation, Xbox, and Switch require some form of an internet connection for game downloads or updates. Even if players can use the game offline, users would need the world wide web for some contact. Many gaming consoles have a home interface where users can purchase additional games, gaming bonuses, advantages, and more. For example, our Xbox system has a home section with Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, and more. Not only can my son use the Xbox controller as a selection remote, but he can even select YouTube and land on whatever he pleases. Keep in mind, my son is three, which means we’re teaching him what he can add to the home section. This also means it’s never too early to start explaining to your children what is appropriate on the internet, including the appropriate apps wherever they may be.
We recommend early conversations about online privacy and safety. Letting your children know what your plans are as parents can make conversations later, easier. You can discuss that you plan on monitoring their activities, limiting screen and gaming time, creating joint email accounts or social media accounts, etc. You should discuss their identity and their information, how easily predators can steal it, abuse it, or come after them or the family. Though some of this is scary to them, depending on their age, it will make an impact.
Monitor Their Activities
This may come as a tough conversation for some children and teenagers, but monitoring their activities online will be the strongest protection against predators. As we’ve discussed before, there are apps for cell phones, tablets, and computers to monitor online activity including location tracking. Apps like Life 360, Family Link, Child Safety App, and others can help parents see and monitor what their kids are doing on the internet and who they are interacting with. The best way you as a parent can explain these apps to your children is to inform them as to why these apps are necessary to protect them now and in their futures. It’s not a trust issue for you or your children, but more of a way to keep them safe from those predators around them.
Getting your kids to get off their cell phones, tablets, or computers can be rather challenging for any parent, but especially nowadays. If it’s not one of these with an app, then you easily have the challenge of gaming consoles like the PS5, Switch, and others occupying your children’s time. Once again, there are various apps to monitor and limit screen time. Most children’s tablets have parental controls for safety, security, and screen time. We encourage you to start the conversation immediately upon such a purchase for your children, regardless of age. Sticking to your parental instincts can be a challenge, and we get it. We focus on creating the space and information to help you as parents learn the risks associated with technology and give pointers and tricks to work with your loved ones.
The biggest threat to kids with gaming is the chat and friend features that allow kids to build relationships with whoever is online. Predators pretend to be kids in these games, add your children, and ask for their personal information. Limiting your children’s time on screens and gaming consoles is key to their safety and personal information.
Let’s face it; your teenager does have or will have a social media account and email. At a certain age, this will just happen. Children are getting smarter and sneakier as the opportunity presents itself. Open and candid conversations with your children about their safety is a priority. Since they are already maintaining an account or close to it, you might want to consider creating joint accounts with notifications and parental controls. Every social media account requires an email and most require a phone number, so all of it might as well be a parent’s information with full access to all the things the children are doing and who they are adding, etc. If you’re concerned about your children logging in somewhere else, then just set the controls to notify you on the device they logged into. You’ll be able to deny the attempt. With this concept, you can block emails, and see what they might be trying to purchase, who they may be talking to, their friend list, and more.
Will you have difficult conversations? You absolutely will. However, the top priority is to keep your children safe.
Despite all your attempts to keep your children safe on the internet, they will still encounter predators. These predators may be cyberbullies, hackers, scammers, sexual predators, and more. This is why having these conversations about your children’s safety and security on the internet is so important. They may willingly or unwillingly provide private information or pictures to someone they think they know, meet them, and disappear entirely. The internet and technology open up an information portal we cannot seem to close. Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there forever. Kids don’t seem to process this information well and need constant reminders. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about cybersecurity. You could save their lives.
Are you looking for a great gift that you can give to your tech-savvy friends and family members but are still safe when it comes to Internet access? There are so many options out there, it can be hard to choose. We’re here to help you find the best gift ideas for the tech lovers in your life. Here are my top picks for family-safe tech gadgets that anyone would love!
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, it’s more important than ever to teach kids how to stay safe online. MM Guardian is the perfect tech gift for families who want to keep their children safe as they explore the internet. MM Guardian is a cutting-edge app that helps parents monitor and control their child’s internet usage. It also provides educational resources to help kids learn about responsible online behavior. What’s really cool is MM Guardian just released their own Samsung based smartphone with their app preinstalled!
With MM Guardian, parents can rest assured that their kids are browsing the internet safely. And it’s not just the Internet either, it’s how they are interacting with their peers who have devices as well.
The Gabb Watch is the perfect tech gift for kids. It’s a smartwatch that has all the features kids want, without all the bells and whistles that parents don’t want their kids to have. The Gabb Watch is durable, has a long battery life, and is rugged enough to withstand drops and bumps. But what makes the Gabb Watch truly unique is its Gabb OS, which is designed specifically for kids. Gabb OS puts parents in control of what apps and features their kids have access to. And because Gabb watches are affordable, parents can get their kids the latest and greatest technology without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for the perfect tech gift for your kid, look no further than the Gabb Watch.
Just like the Gabb Watch, the Gabb Phone Plus is another solid tech gift for kids! Its sturdy design can withstand drops and bumps, making it perfect for little hands. And its small size is perfect for little pockets! The Gabb Phone Plus comes loaded with fun games and educational apps, keeping kids entertained but in a safe manner. But best of all, the Gabb Phone comes with a parent-approved filter that blocks out harmful content and protects kids from online predators.
At the root of the phone’s technology is Samsung, so you know you’re getting a quality phone. What I really love about the Gabb Phone is parents can have a sense of peace that their kids are safe when using the Gabb Phone Plus. In my opinion, I wouldn’t get this phone until my child is 14 years old. But this device is a solid and safe tech gadget for kids
The Amazon Echo Dot is one of the most popular home automation devices on the market. It has Alexa built-in, so you can ask her questions and control your smart home devices with just your voice. Plus, with its compact size, it fits nicely into any room of your house.
I think Amazon’s Echo Dot is the perfect tech gift for kids for a number of reasons. First, the Echo Dot is an Amazon product, which means it integrates perfectly with Amazon’s many kid-friendly services, such as FreeTime and Amazon Kids+. Second, the Echo Dot is extremely affordable, making it a great option for parents who want to give their kids the gift of technology without breaking the bank. Third, the Echo Dot is very user-friendly, so even young children will be able to use it without any problems. And finally, the Echo Dot comes in a variety of fun and trendy colors, so kids can choose the one that best suits their personality.
Amazon Echo Glow
The Amazon Echo Glow is one of the most engaging tech gifts for kids. It’s a fun, interactive way for them to control their devices and play music. And a major bonus: it’s a great night light. The Amazon Echo Glow has millions of color options, so kids can choose their favorite color or mix and match to create their own custom light show.
The Amazon Echo Glow also features an LED timer, so kids can see how much time they have left to play before bedtime. And if they need a little help falling asleep, they can ask the Amazon Echo Glow to play soothing sounds or tell them a bedtime story. The Amazon Echo Glow is the perfect tech gift for kids because it’s both fun and functional. Based on the reviews, parents love this device mostly because of its brightness, ease of use, sleep modes, Alexa integration, and timers.
Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad
Crayola’s Light-Up Tracing Pad is a simple yet entertaining tech gift for kids! The built-in light makes it easy to see the paper and the included stencils help kids create their own masterpieces. The tracing pad is also great for drawing, sketching, and shading. With its compact design, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad is perfect for travel. When it’s time to clean up, the tracing pad easily erases with the push of a button. Crayola’s Light-Up Tracing Pad is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages! One reason I love this as a great gadget gift is its simplicity. Tech gifts don’t have to be complex with operating systems and impeccable displays. The Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad is a gift you should definitely have on your radar.
Wonder Workshop Dash (Coding Robot for Kids 6+)
The Wonder Workshop Dash is a great tech gift for kids because it’s so much fun. It’s an interactive robot that responds to voice commands and can be programmed to do all sorts of tricks. The Dash can teach kids how to code, so there’s a massive upside in edutainment (education + entertainment). Kids will love watching it zip around the room and change direction when it hits an obstacle. And they’ll be fascinated by the different sounds it makes when it’s doing different things.
The Wonder Workshop Dash is a great way to get kids interested in technology and engineering. But most importantly, it’s just a lot of fun. The ability to create a toy that teaches you a STEM skill is awesome. That’s why it makes such a great gift.
Miko 3: AI-Powered Smart Robot For Kids
Miko is one of the world’s first smart robots designed just for kids. Miko speaks and understands English and can carry on a conversation using natural language processing. Miko also has a range of emotions, so it can react in different ways to different situations. Miko is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which allows it to learn and grow over time. The Miko 3 is the latest version of Miko and comes with a number of impressive features:
A ramp-up of educational STEM content
Improvement in microphones and responses
Robust safety features. kidSAFE+ COPPA certified
Stronger rubberized wheels for better movement across multiple surfaces
An expansive touchscreen that makes it even easier to interact with the robot
High-performance speakers and wide-angle high-resolution IPS display
Miko 3 is also now sleeker and more stylish than ever before. It’s also more expressive with a wider range of facial expressions and body language. Miko 3 is also equipped with an updated processor and improved sensors making it even more responsive to its surroundings. With all these new features, Miko 3 will surely be a hit with kids of all ages. If you’re looking for a tech gift for kids that is both fun and educational, Miko 3 is a perfect choice.
Safety With Web Related Gadgets Should Be Important For Families
The internet (any web-based activity) has become an essential part of daily life for people of all ages and it provides a wealth of opportunities for connection and education. However, the internet can also be a dangerous place and we’ve outlined why that is exhaustively on DaleDumbsITDown. It is important for families to be aware of the risks. Internet safety is about more than just avoiding online predators. It also includes protecting personal information, maintaining healthy online habits, being a good digital citizen, and being thoughtful about the content that we consume and share. By teaching internet safety to our children and having devices that augment that experience, we can help them to stay safe online and to develop responsible digital citizenship.
Furthermore, by modeling good internet safety habits ourselves and exposing our kids to age-appropriate devices and content, we can set a positive example for our kids. When it comes to internet safety, knowledge is power as well as having the right technology (both good and bad). By increasing our own understanding of the risks and the ways to avoid them, we can keep our families safe while still enjoying all the wonderful benefits that the internet has to offer.
Keeping each other safe just makes sense. We strive to keep our friends and family safe, especially our children. We’re always updating our articles and reviewing the newest and best electronics and gadgets to keep everyone safe. Dumbing information and technology down can and will save people. It’s our mission. We’re taking the steps to inform others, so no one has to learn the hard way.
We’ve discussed safety apps, tracking apps, and travel gadgets to keep you safe. We’ve discussed Bluetooth trackers to find your things, kid’s watches to help find your kids, and ways to keep your devices and network safe. Now it’s time to discuss what Android and iOS apps are available to keep your children and teens safe.
Children Safety Apps
When it comes to your child’s safety, there’s almost nothing you and most parents wouldn’t do. If you believe your kid or teenager needs a cell phone, we’d like to suggest some of the best children’s safety apps on the market.
Child Safety App is a child monitoring app parents designed for Android phones. Parents created this safety tracker app in collaboration with child psychologists, digital media experts, and law enforcement professionals. This app features an SOS call, allowing the user to immediately contact up to five emergency contacts when necessary and provide a GPS location. It also features real-time tracking and location logs, so parents can see where their child is or has been. The Child Safety App also features a high noise alert, so you can receive a notification if your child is more sensitive to noises. Other alerts include a high-danger, fall, and inactivity alerts. All of these will help keep your child safe while providing you peace of mind. The best features are not free, in fact, the free app only comes with the SOS, emergency contact, and emergency health info. features. If you’re interested in the other features, upgrade to PRO for $45.00 a year or $4.50 a month.
The Find My Kids App
The Find My Kids App is available for Android and iOS phones, but can also be downloaded for kids’ watches. Some of the features are not available for iPhones though, so keep that in mind. Features included for both phones are the location tracking for current and recently visited locations. Parents can set a notification for when their child has arrived at school, work, home, extra-curricular activities, etc. This feature is convenient and will help keep your child safe. The Find My Kids app also has the SOS feature that will signal parents or guardians when the child is in danger. The app also starts recording any sound to help better track the child. The Android-only features include a listening button for when the child doesn’t answer phone calls or messages. It will then start listening to ensure the child is safe. The other Android-only feature is a screen monitoring feature that shows what the child was doing on the phone and how much screen time was spent. The Find My Kids App is a free app; however, the extra features are included when a monthly, yearly, or unlimited plan is purchased. Parents can purchase a monthly subscription for $2.99, yearly for $16.99, or unlimited with up to three devices for $42.99. If you’re interested in purchasing the Live Listening feature, you can do so by buying minutes at 30, 180, and unlimited varying prices for $1.00 up to $14.99. Once again, this feature is not for iPhones.
Life 360 is a safety and family tracking app that offers similar benefits as the previous apps but is also designed so every family member can use it, not just children. Life 360 was created after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and includes location tracking, digital safety and protection, emergency assistance, and driving safety. With Life 360, all plans include the same features, but as the cost increases, the features increase in their abilities. For example, location safety has a two-day limitation on the free plan but increases to 30 days on the gold plan for $14.99 a month and 30 days on the platinum plan for $24.99 a month. You can place alerts for your children and family members to make sure they’ve arrived at whatever location they are supposed to be including school, work, babysitters, library, etc. The location feature is accurate within 50 feet. Life 360 has plenty of safety features to keep your children and teenagers safe.
As a parent, the biggest concern is if your child will notice you have a tracking app on their phone and if they will disable it. These three apps help open the communication channel for parents, as these apps are not just tracking and location-sharing apps. The designers created these apps to help keep kids safe with added features for check-ins, SOS, and more. The best way you as a parent can explain these apps to your children is to inform them as to why these are now necessary. It’s not a trust issue for you or your children, but more of a way to keep them safe from those predators around them. We’re always advocates of real communication between you and your family. The world has evolved and so has the ability to protect our children. We’ve discussed other apps for protecting kids from spamming, hacking, bad websites, and more. You can take a look at a few of those apps to keep your children safe.
Nowadays, you can never be too safe or too prepared. We all know our world is much more different than it used to be and a bit scarier, too. Thanks to social media, we’ve seen a huge increase in scams and hackers trying out new ways to fool and scam people of all ages. As we’ve discussed before, predators are using the newest technology to follow their victims to work or their homes using Bluetooth Tracking Devices. Although social media may share some horror stories, it is also sharing ways to prevent predators and avoid their tricks.
For example, TikTok has people sharing “what to do if you see this on your car” or “what to do if you feel like you’re being followed” etc. There are a ton of educational videos geared toward women, parents, and young adults about personal safety. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where women are more often assaulted, raped, kidnapped, and attacked. Here’s where social media and apps can actually be of use: Personal Safety Apps and Alerts.
Listen ladies, if you’ve ever needed to text your mom, sister, friend, or anyone else your location when you’ve gone out by yourself, then this is for you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with friends or even gone out to the grocery store, and if I don’t let my mother know I arrived safely, she’ll send the brigade out to find me. I’m definitely the type of friend that makes sure my friends get home safely, which I’m sure I got from my mother. To be honest, I learned about these personal safety apps from a friend. These apps are-game changers!
Watch Over Me
Watch Over Me is a security app for both Android and iOS systems. Xin-Ci Chin created this app after she survived a kidnapping and rape attempt in 2012. She realized that although there were plenty of GPS apps, there wasn’t the right app that would alert the police or authorities. Watch Over Me is an app that you share your location with, when you want to be “watched over,” and when you’re safe. Those are the basics, but you can shake your phone when you need the authorities alerted. The original app is free, but you can get increased text message alerts, etc. for $4.99 a year.
bSafe is a safety and security app featuring Voice Activation, Live Streaming, Automatic Recording, Fake Call, Timer Alarm, or the Follow Me function. Creator Charlen was raped and after, she and her father discussed ways they could have prevented the attack. They started the creation process for bSafe. To me, the coolest feature is the guardian feature which allows users to have a select list of people who the app will alert for their location or in an emergency situation. It looks like bSafe is still working with investors and partners.
Noonlight is another safety and security app that even works with other apps like Tinder to share details that are important in an emergency. This app uses a Safety Network similar to the bSafe guardians, where users can select a number of emergency contacts in the event they need help. Noonlight is available on both Android and iOS systems and offers a three-tier pricing system. Basic is a free service and includes the safety button, timeline feature, safety network, and advanced profile. Some of these features are limited depending on your phone system. Instant Access is $5.00 per month and only works with iOS platforms. It adds in a phone widget, Apple Watch app access, and syncs to Uber and Lyft apps. The Total Protection plan for iOS platforms is $10.00 per month and includes crash response, Alexa skill, Google Home Service, and you can sync IFTTT applets.
WanderSafe app is a free safety travel app available for both Android and iOS platforms. It includes a Jeni buddy, who is a digital safety companion, is available to listen when or if the user feels unsafe or safe. This app has a built-in silent SOS feature, that can be discreetly activated and let your emergency contact list and emergency responders know your location. The app also has a crisis mode that allows a voice activation SOS feature for when you may not have your phone in your hands, but it’s near you. WanderSafe is the first app to create a safety Beacon device which is a flashlight, strobe, silent, and loud alarm. It retails for $79.99. WanderSafe Shakti is a mini Beacon version that offers the same features in a more travel-friendly version. It retails for $39.99.
One Scream is another safety app with a unique system as it’s a voice or scream-activated safety system. Just like many of the other apps, this is a woman-created app designed to keep us ladies safe. It’s available on both Android and iOS platforms for $2.99 a month or $26.99 a year. It does have an Android-only feature of an open line when it hears the scream or panic phrase. Once activated, it sends an alert to your emergency contacts and first responders.
There are more apps available for personal safety and security, too. As always, be open with your children and loved ones about safety and security on apps, the internet, and traveling. If you’re interested in other nifty tech gadgets while traveling, take a look at our suggestions.