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When my son went to preschool at age four, I taught him how to use a kid’s cell phone that I dropped in his backpack. I had no apps and I had four numbers: Mom, Dad, Grandma and 911. This time it was long before school shootings made headlines.
Many parents are surprised when they find out what their child is doing on their phones, tablets, or computers. Don’t be that father. He is proactive. Just like you have a conversation about sex with your kids, have a conversation about digital life. Tap or click to get my free tech deal that parents and kids can use to set limits.
A new report shows There were 193 shooting incidents on school grounds during the 2021-2022 school year. I can’t imagine the stress of dropping your son off at school now and really questioning if he will be safe.
That’s why I want to help any parent or guardian with school-age children use the right technology. For your convenience, I’ve included a link to some helpful products you can check out and order on Amazon. I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases, but I assure you that my recommendations are always independent.
4 QUICK CYBERSECURITY STEPS EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE RIGHT NOW
this is what i would do
Many schools don’t allow children to have cell phones in the classroom until they reach a certain age. Smart watches can be a better security tool than cell phones. Here is the reason why.
In an emergency, children can touch some buttons on a watch. This move is more discreet than making a phone call, especially when the watch is hidden under long sleeves.
For little kids, I like T-Mobile SyncUP KIDS watch. It makes calls and texts to approved contacts, but it also has real-time location tracking, virtual fences, and a button to push for help or 911.
An Apple Watch is great for older kids who use an iPhone. Remember, this is the size of adult dolls, so it is not suitable for small children. The Apple Watch SE it’s a good deal compared to much more expensive new models.
Take the time to teach your child how to use any smart watch. To use Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, press and hold side button until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Dragging the slider calls emergency services and sends your child’s current location to any emergency contacts. Here are the steps to set up emergency contacts.
For older kids and teens with an Android phone, the samsung galaxy watch includes an SOS function that sends a message to designated emergency contacts, along with location information. You can set the settings to be accessible by pressing the Home key three times. That is how.
Skip Fitbits as they don’t have an emergency or SOS feature.
Put a tracker on them or in your backpack too.
A tracking device is another way to keep an eye on where your child is throughout the day. In an emergency, it can also help you locate them.
If you have an iPhone, use an AirTag. I have them everywhere: in my luggage, on my dog’s collar, in my car, in my bag, you name it. Here are smarter uses for cheap trackers.
You can slip one into your child’s backpack, but they may not always carry it with them. You do what feels right for your child. I like these accessories that always keep it nice on your body:
For very young children, a collar may be more comfortable. Here’s a cute two-pack that holds an AirTag securely in place.
this keychain it’s a good option for teens and older kids, but remember it can stay in a backpack.
Apps for your child’s phone
If your child has a phone and is allowed to bring it to school, there are ways they can communicate with you quickly and quietly.
life360 offers location tracking and a way to call for help without saying a word. The free version includes the SOS help alert. If your child opens the app and taps or holds the SOS button, an alert with her location is sent to the emergency contacts she set up in advance.
Paid options start at $14.99 per month and add many more features.
midday is another solid option. Your child can press a button to silently call for help. There is an extra step, so it is best used with older children and teenagers.
With Noonlight, open the app and press and hold the button that says “Hold until safe”. If there is no emergency, release the button and enter a four-digit pin to cancel. Releasing the button without entering a pin will notify the police of an emergency.
The Safety Network feature is also excellent. You can request a check-in with your child; if they don’t respond, the app will help you track them down. Note: This works only with iPhones. The security button works with iPhone and Android.
Know your options: 9 security apps you’ll want to have on hand in an emergency
practice at home
It pains me to say this, but you should also have safety drills at home so your children know what to do if necessary. Teach them how to use your smartwatch or phone apps to contact you in an emergency.
Talk with your child about when and where it’s appropriate to take out your phone and what constitutes an emergency. This is especially important with young children.
PRIVACY TIP: 5 WAYS YOU’RE BEING TRACKED, YOU SHOULD STOP RIGHT NOW
Keep your tech savvy on the go
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PODCAST SELECTION: Smart headlights, ads on Apple Maps, find hidden trackers
Do you use navigation apps when driving? Buckle up, you may have to deal with screen cluttering ads. That’s why Ford wants to make night driving easier with its smart headlights. Also, is someone watching you with a hidden tracker? These are the signs you should be aware of.
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Just look up my last name, “Commando.”
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Get to know all the latest technology The Kim Commando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks.
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