As I mentioned in a previous post, my sister will be purchasing cell phones for two of her kids this coming Christmas. Hopefully they don’t read this blog, or the secret will be blown. I’ve been researching for my sister the best apps to install on their new devices, when they get them, so that we can make sure they are safe! I came across Life360, and we will definitely be installing this one on their phones.
First, the app is free, which is fantastic. Second, it’s got great features on it, that you would have to pay a monthly fee for on some of the cell phone carriers.
I installed the app on both mine and my husband’s phone (not that he was super thrilled about it to begin with), since our kids are too young for cell phones still. I tested out a few of the features, and was quite impressed. Not only did it locate me at my house, but the little arrow actually pointed to exactly where I was sitting inside my house. VERY accurate!
Basically Life360 enables families to see where their loved ones are located, when they need help and what the threats might be around them. It creates a private family “channel” that allows real-time “Check Ins” with the tap of a button from any family member.
You don’t need to keep calling your kids to make sure they are ok. You can request a check-in right from the app, and then can click a button and let you know exactly where they are at.
I also thought the group messaging was great. If I had a family of older kids I could send out a message that we are all going to Grandma’s at 6, so you need to be home by 5:45. All family members would get the message and I only had to send it once.
My absolute favorite part of the app, though, is the map that has your location (and the location of your family members with the app installed). Inside the map you can see the registered sex offenders in the area, and also where the fire and police stations are. If you click on one of the emergency stations it has a phone number for them as well! I love trying not to call 911, but when you have to call the police and it’s not an emergency, it would always take me forever to find the number (like the night my smoke detector kept beeping and beeping, and it turned out it was just the battery).
My only gripe is that it’s not totally clear from the app what the top buttons will do. You can take the “tour” in the help menu to find out though. I just like to click around, so I quickly learned that the ! will send an alert via phone, email and text to everyone on your family list (a list you set up within the app). The blue messenger button can send very quick pre-programmed messages to the rest of the family, and the green check mark will quickly send your location to the rest of your family, which is a very fast way to “check-in” and let your family know you arrived safely.
Since you know I’m all about the widgets, there is a great widget for android that has those main 3 buttons right there. You wouldn’t even have to open the app to check in!
For families with teenagers, this is a great app to have and use. I also like how transparent it is. Your kids will know you are using it, and they can use it to put your mind at ease, that they are where they are supposed to be, and they are OK.
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