5 Smartphone Apps to Keep You and Your Family Safe


Many families consider their mobile phones to be their lifelines. The ability to get in touch with each other at any time of day is invaluable. In fact, we often wonder how we ever coped without them!

The increased popularity of smart-phones offers even more functionality. We can load maps to help us find the best route home; send an email to say we'll be home late; tweet traffic news...

But what better way to put our smart-phones to good use than maintaining the personal safety of ourselves and our loved ones?

In this post, I present five excellent smartphone applications which can help keep you and your family safe. All of these offer a free basic version, and are compatible with both iPhone and Android devices.

Stay Safe App

StaySafe provides a service which enables you to "check in" when working, travelling or relaxing alone, offering peace of mind to your loved ones.

A panic button is offered for times of emergency, and your GPS location is provided to your emergency contact(s) if you don't check in on time.

The Lite (free) app will update your contacts by email only, and is compatible with both Android and Apple devices. The Premium option costs £4.99 per month; this offers advanced GPS tracking and SMS notifications in addition to all the features of the Lite version.

Visit the StaySafe App Website | Download for your Android or Apple device

Circle of 6

Circle of Six is an app aimed at college students which is also invaluable for anyone who is dating, or could find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
With Circle of 6, you can connect with your friends to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens.
This app is completely free and available for both Android and Apple devices. You can set up six contacts to notify if you find yourself in a bad situation. Icons determine the type of help you need, including the Car (come and get me) icon, which sends a message containing your exact location; Phone (call me), which is useful for when you need an interruption, and a less urgent Chat icon, for when you're seeking advice about healthy relationships.


Circle of 6 Anti-Violence App (Android release Sept 2012!) from Nancy Schwartzman on Vimeo.


Visit the Circle of 6 Website | Download for your Android or Apple device

bSafe

bSafe combines call, text, video and GPS tracking information to transform your phone into the ultimate safety device!

Using a simple SOS button, the app instantly notifies selected people and emergency services to your problem, and begins to gather evidence.
Let’s hope you never have to use it, but if you do it’s the most advanced personal safety alarm in the world.
The app includes services to help keep you safe every day, including Follow Me which allows friends to "walk you home" via a GPS trace; Fake Call to fake an incoming call and help you get out of an uncomfortable situation, and I'm Here, to let selected people know where you are.

The basic version is free, while premium (fully featured) versions cost $19.95 for one year or $29.95 for two. Currently bSafe is offering a free 90 day trial of the premium version.

Visit the bSafe website | Get the bSafe app for your Android, Apple or Blackberry device

Life360

Life360 is particularly aimed at families, with the aim of enabling communication between family members so they can keep each other safe.
Part location, part communication, all awesome. Life360 keeps millions of families connected, no matter what chaos life throws their way.
Available for Android, Apple and Blackberry devices, Life360 allows you to add up to six family members. All family members will be able to see each others' location on a map, send messages to each other and post updates so everyone can check that everyone else is safe, at any time. There's even the option to see locations of recent crimes in some areas!

The app was designed to function best in the United States, though a great many features are available for those of us resident in the UK.

Best of all though, this app is completely free for smartphone users. There is an option for those who do not have a smartphone to use the app for a premium of $4.99 per month, though my children tell me that almost all of their peers now have "the latest phones"!

Visit the Life360 website | Download the app for Android, Apple or Blackberry


MobileKids
As the name suggests, MobileKids is an app specifically developed for our kids safety. The app not only enables parents to keep track of their children's location, but offers an overview of how their mobile phone is used (with the option to restrict phone use if upgrading to the Premium version).
Our mission is to give you the same information and ability to control phone usage as your parents had when you grew up. It is not about spying on your child’s private communication. It´s about getting insight into what they are doing and being able to define limits, while still respecting their privacy and right to share secrets with their friends only.
Developed by the creators of bSafe, the app offers useful safety services such as an SOS button and Follow Me function.



Visit the MobileKids Website | Download app for Android, Apple or Symbian devices 

What do you think?


Do you use any of these smartphone apps for family safety? Are there any I've missed out which you'd heartily recommend?

Please feel free to leave your comments on this post by using the form below.

Image credit: apdk, via Flickr