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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Keeping an eye on the kids



By Silvia Moreno

I’ve never been one to spy on my kids. I believe that trust builds responsibility, and if you are always hovering over them worrying about what they’re up to, then they will usually conform to your lowest expectations.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they like. In my house, we have rules in place for everything from computer time to sleepovers, so they know what’s expected of them. That means less day-to-day drama and we can save the real excitement for legitimate crises like pimples and bad hair days.

However, there are times when you do need to check in with your kids and make sure they’re OK. Maybe it’s their first solo trip to the mall or a day at the beach with a friend. Or maybe they are trick or treating or riding the bus to summer camp. All you want to know is that they are where they are supposed to be, so you can stop thinking about the missing child you just read about in the newspaper and get on with your normal life.

Enter Verizon Family Locator – every parent’s lifeline to a calmer, worry-free day.

I first heard about Verizon Family Locator from a friend who had gone to pick up her son after a soccer game only to find that he had left five minutes earlier in a car that nobody recognized. After a series of frantic calls to a cell phone that was buried at the bottom of a backpack, she eventually tracked him down to friend’s house, an arrangement that he had gotten “approved” by leaving a message on the home answering machine.

After that, Family Locator became her best friend. It’s a real-time service which tells you the whereabouts of your family members’ phones (or tablets) by displaying an address and a location on a map.

With Family Locator, you can see exactly where your family members are, receive arrival and departure notices for pre-set locations, and create individual notifications, so you don’t have to keep checking-in yourself. You can even use Family Locator to send messages or directions from their current location to any other destination.

Family Locator works on a wide range of Android and BlackBerry devices and you have the option of monitoring locations on your own phone or on the Web. Once it’s installed on your kids’ phones, they can just forget about it. And the best selling point for them? No annoying calls to answer or texts to worry about. As long as they are where they said they would be, they don’t have to do a thing!

To me, spying on your kids is looking through their e-mails or reading their texts. Knowing where your kids are is different. Family Locator is one of those wonderful apps that offers parents a priceless and increasingly elusive commodity: peace of mind. I’ll sign-up for that every day of the week!

This article first appeared in Family Buzz, a VerizonInsider blog on the exciting and ever-expanding world of mobile technology.



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