Five Free Apps That Parents Of Teens Should Know About…
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Let’s face it, it’s a CRAZY world out there…
And trying to stay on top of it all can be daunting. Between what is seen on the news to what happens to your teen behind a computer, smartphone, or steering wheel, no elixir in the world can alleviate ALL that stress.
Even though technology is often blamed for attributing to the problem, there are some incredible tools that put tech on your side in battling these worries. From family management to enforcing safe driving habits, these FREE smartphone apps put you back in control of your household!
You can’t go wrong with this 3-time Mom’s Choice Award winning app! Have your family’s busy lifestyle simplified by viewing each member’s activities, appointments, shopping lists, chores, and more – all in ONE place in REAL time! Get the basic version for free or upgrade to Cozi Gold for extra features.
What it does:
- Coordinates and communicates each family member’s schedule
- Creates and shares lists for chores, shopping, to-do, and more
- Stores recipes and adds ingredients to grocery lists for easy meal planning
- Keeps a family journal to share photos and updates with family and friends
- Allows members to access and update from any mobile device or computer
Making sure your kids aren’t on their phone 24/7 is a full-time job in itself! OurPact makes it easy to set limits on screen time, block certain apps and content, and view what apps are on your teen’s phone. The free download of the app is limited but extra features can be added when you upgrade to their Plus or Premium versions.
What it does:
- Sets scheduled time for phone use and blocks access once the limit is reached – great for helping put a stop to data overages!
- Blocks specific content and monitors which apps are installed on their phone
- Locates family members using their geolocation
- Allows you to extend or block screen time access as you see fit
This app truly gives you a 360º view of where your family members are. By simply downloading the app and sending an invite code, members become linked as a family unit and can see where everyone is located on a map in real time, along with alerts as individuals arrive and depart their location. As with many other apps, in-app purchases are available to add features such a crash detection, nearby crime alerts, and weekly driving reports for family’s with newly licensed teens.
What it does:
- Shows your private “Circle” on a map in real time
- Sends messages to your whole Circle or directly to specific members
- Automatically sends alerts as members arrive or depart designated “Places”
- Promotes safe driving habits with driving reports, crash detection, Live Driver Support
iOS download available after free trial signup
One of the more insightful smartphone monitoring apps, KidBridge (formerly TeenSafe) allows parents to view texts and online behavior of their teens, along with their physical location. The app was designed BY parents, FOR parents, and has been downloaded by more than one million users to keep teens safe. The app can be downloaded for free after signup, but will incur a monthly fee following the trial period.
What it does:
- Shows sent and received texts and photos, even ones that have been deleted
- Allows access to messages on 3rd party apps like WhatsApp and KikMessenger
- Lists call logs of incoming and outgoing calls
- Outlines web browsing history
- Shows teen’s location on a map
Not only does this easy setup app give you the ability to request your teen’s location, but they’ll find it useful when meeting up with friends or giving an ETA of when they’ll arrive back home. Best part – the app is completely free!
What it does:
- Sends and requests location updates
- Sets duration of Glympse to expire when location sharing is no longer necessary
- Allows teens to use the app with friends to coordinate social gatherings
- No signup or setup required, and app not required to view shared location
On another note, watch out for these Apps on your teen’s phone…
We couldn’t go without warning you of these apps that aren’t quite as innocent as they seem!
You would think this app is for managing music or volume levels. Unfortunately, WRONG. This is one of the more commonly used hiding apps, able to conceal messages, photos, videos, and even other apps only to be revealed when app icon is pressed and held.
Very similar to Audio Manager – it seems like just a calculator app, though when a button is pressed within the app, hidden photos will appear.
Again, another hiding app to store photos and videos from plain sight. Though this one comes with a catch – when the password to the app is entered incorrectly, a photo is snapped of the person (a.k.a. concerned moms) trying to gain access.
How you can you find out if these apps are on your teen’s phone without checking first-hand?
Smartphone monitoring apps like TeenSafe or OurPact will show any 3rd party apps installed on your teen’s device, though you could also simply talk to your teens about the apps they use and what they use them for. As another way to monitor apps, add your teen to your iCloud account – any apps they download will automatically be installed on your device as well.
Not sure if the apps on your teen’s phone are appropriate? Check out Common Sense Media, a website dedicated to digital media safety through reviews and expert ratings on app that teens are using.
What are your thoughts on monitoring apps? Helpful or invasive?
Let us know what you think in the comments. Please remember – start a conversation, not a war 😊