I have some more Halloween tips from our partner Kelly Sterling from AT&T on how you can use your cellphone with your children.
With most people carrying smartphones today, it’s become easier than ever for parents to keep tabs on their little goblins. Cellphones provide more than just the ability to call or text your child. AT&T offers the following tips so you can be aware of other ways to use your wireless device, and your child’s, to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween:
▪ Program ICE — In Case of Emergency — numbers into your child’s speed dial on their cellphones, such as your number, a neighbor and the police station. Make sure your child knows how to use the device in case of an emergency, such as dialing 911 and providing a location, landmarks, etc., to the 911 operator.
▪ Fully charge your children’s phones before they leave the house.
▪ Use the alarm clock on your children’s device to give them periodic reminders to text or call home along their route, or to remind them when it’s time to head home. Make sure the volume on the device is at its highest so your children can hear it in a crowd.
▪ Create a wireless “Trick-or-Treat” patrol for your neighborhood. Have parents stationed along your community’s trick-or-treat route and have them text one another when the kids have reached certain points and are heading home.
▪ Consider a wearable GPS tracker for your child that shows you his/her location.
Take advantage of safety apps:
▪ A flashlight app can help your trick-or-treater navigate dark streets.
▪ The RedPanic Button app lets your child press a single button for help. The app sends your child’s coordinates via text message or email to all the numbers in the child’s panic contact list.
▪ Track your trick-or-treater with a location-based service like FamilyMap. The service lets you follow the location of your child’s device on an interactive map from your smartphone, PC or tablet.
▪ The free FBI Child ID app lets parents store their children’s photos plus other identification (height, weight, hair and eye color, age) for quick access if a child ever goes missing. The information is stored on the wireless device only until parents need to send it to authorities. Notable features include safety tips, checklists for what to do if something happens to your child, and shortcuts to dial 911 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Parents also have the ability to email info immediately to law enforcement agencies if the unthinkable occurs.
▪ The Sex Offender Search app will show you if there are any registered sex offenders living along your child’s trick-or-treat route. Just activate your smartphone’s GPS and connect to the National Sex Offender Registry to locate registered sex offenders and predators in the area. You can also search by name, address and ZIP Code. An interactive maps displays offenders. Click on an offender’s location for more details, such as pictures, names, addresses and a list of offenses. The light version of the app is free.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to email@example.com or call 305-470-1670.