Wednesday, July 20, 2011

aWareAbouts - Keeps Kids Safe While Preserving Trust


Do you have teen or tween children?  Could you use some extra peace of mind?  For a one time fee of $1.99 you can pick up a little bit at the Apple iTunes store.   It goes by the name of  aWareAbouts.

Parenthood has changed me in ways I never expected.  I had no idea how intensely I would love these little people entrusted to my care.  I was completely unprepared for the ferocious instinct I have to protect my sons.  words can't accurately describe it, yet most parents know exactly what I mean.

Motherhood has also helped me to understand my own parents a little bit better.  Now, it's quite clear to me why the color would drain from my mother's face when I would excitedly announce my latest plans to go to all the corners of the earth with new friends-  on a moments notice.  Keep in mind, this was in the dark ages - before cell phones.  Even a toll call was a luxury.   The whole house would have to be quiet if anyone ever called long distance, and we could only call out on Sunday evenings.  (with a timer running!)  Once I was out of our area code, I could just as well have been in Beijing.

Now that I am an enlightened member of the parenthood ranks, I would like very much to wrap my children in bubble wrap, place a GPS chip under their skin, and only allow them to have contact with people cleared through the FBI, the CIA, and my own Mother's Intuition.

Obviously, that's not going to happen, but I'm all for accepting help in the peace of mind department.  aWareAbouts is exactly that.  It allows parents to give their kids a little bit of independence, with accountability.   First, take a quick look at this video, and then I'll explain it.

Amazingly, this brilliant app is only $1.99 from iTunes.  It's currently available for iPhones.  The Droid and Blackberry versions are scheduled to be released soon.

Once the app is purchased and installed, there is a quick user set up.  Add the name of the person who will be checking in.   You will also decide if you'd like an email address assigned to keep track of check ins, and if you'd like 911 to be called automatically in case of emergency.

Contacts are added next.  These are trusted adults and family members who would be getting the check in calls or texts.  As you can see in the screen shot below, it's easy to navigate.  Add a new contact by touching that text on the screen, delete contacts or change the information by touching edit in the upper right corner.   You can also see that there is an ability to use a phone call, text, or email to check in.

aWareAbouts contacts

Once the contact list is established, whenever your child goes out, you will program the check in times.  Touch the text above the clock to bring you to the proper area.   Once the times are set, the program is closed, so it won't drain battery life.


When the designated time arrives, a reminder message pops up, just like a text message would.  It gives the option to check in, or delay check in.    The dutiful child will  then open the program, and select to call or text using one of the blue buttons you see on the screen.


The designated contact person (or people) will get a message like this one.


You'll be able to click the hyperlink to see the location.


It is an easy, discreet way to keep parents at ease with just a few screen touches.  It's not a trust killer like the spy programs that track a child's every move, and it will not announce your child's location to the world like some of the social "check -in" apps do.   It's also nice to know that the developers do NOT track or store this location information.  There is no Big Brother at work.

Some other nice features are the emergency button.  If your child is ever in danger, they can press that button, and you'll get an immediate message with their location.  As I mentioned earlier, this can also be set so that the call goes out to a 911 operator, too.  There is also the "just checking in" button - for unscheduled times, when a child might want to let a parent know where he is, just because.

Once the app is purchased, there is no subscription fee.  As long as your cell provider bill is paid, the app will work forever.

Peace of Mind??  There's an app for that! ;)

**id-comm  provided me with this app so that I could write an informed review.  I was not paid to write this review, and my opinions are genuine.