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New “I’mOK” app encourages kids to stay in touch

One of the main reasons we give expensive cell phones to our children is so we can keep in touch and be more informed about what’s going on in their lives. But unfortunately, that’s not always how it works out. Parents can still find themselves left in the dark, with phone calls going unanswered and communication limited to the occasional cryptic text.

Although there are plenty of GPS tracking apps on the market, many kids – and parents – think that’s going a little too far. After all, we just want to know what they’re up to, not track them like Fedex packages!

But now there is a new mobile application, which has just been launched for the iPhone. It’s called I’mOK and it promises to change the nature of family communication by turning the check-in process into a game.

Every time your kids check-in using I’mOK, they are rewarded with points; the more they check-in and the more information they provide, the more points they earn. A quick message might get them 5 points, but if they add a photo or tag the friends they are with, then those points can quickly mount up.

And points mean privileges. Whether it’s a trip to the movies, a gift certificate, or a little more computer time, your kids will know that the more they check-in, the more they will get rewarded. And I’mOK gives you complete flexibility to set your own goals and create a reward system that’s just right for your family.

I was able to give the beta version of I’mOK a trial run with my 12-year-old daughter using her iPod touch and it’s easy to see how the app completely changes the dynamic of checking-in and finding out what your child is up to. With a simple points-based incentive in place – a promised sleepover with her best friend – she happily sent regular messages letting me know how her playdate was going and when she needed to be picked up. She even used the camera function to send fun and imaginative pictures.

With I’mOK, each family sets up their own private group, so it’s completely secure. Everything is location-based so you have the added comfort of knowing exactly where your kids are whenever they check in.

So no more nagging, and no more spying; instead of you constantly chasing your kids, let them chase you!

The free I’mOK app is now available on iTunes and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It requires iOS 4 or later.

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