11 Best Apps for Parents to Monitor Their Kids

bark app 2
Courtesy of Bark.us
These apps for parents can monitor phone use, location, and more to give you some peace of mind when it come's to your child's safety. So if you consider yourself a paranoid parent, read on.

Footprints

Ever wish you could know where your child is, all the time? Using GPS in real time, the "Find My Kids" Footprint app helps you keep track of and automatically locate where your child goes with his phone. If he's traveling alone, you can confirm that he arrived at a specific destination, or if he's meeting up with friends, they can confirm each other's locations. Location info is never shared with anyone else beyond those who have permission to see it, and data is saved for later review. (Free to download, service requires a monthly fee; IOS)

Courtesy Bark.us
Courtesy Bark.us

Bark

This incredible digital safety app has saved lives. Really. Bark monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 24 different social networks for potential safety concerns, so parents can save time and gain peace of mind. It can even proactively alert you to issues like sexting, cyberbulling and depression thanks to algorithms that constantly analyze words showing up on your child's phone. But in addition to alerting parents, Bark also provides recommended actions on how to deal with it and has in turn saved 33 lives by alerting parents of their child's potential suicide intentions. (Free trial available but requires a monthly fee; IOS, Android, Amazon)

FBI Child ID

Created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this app lets parents store their children's photos plus other identification (height, weight, hair and eye color, age) for quick access if a child ever goes missing. The information is stored on the iPhone only until parents need to send it to authorities. Notable features include safety tips, checklists for what to do if something happens to your child, and shortcuts to dial 911 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Parents also have the ability to email info immediately to law enforcement agencies if the unthinkable occurs. (Free; IOS)

iEmergency ICE Family PRO

ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency," and this app allows parents to store important health data – allergies, prescriptions, and medical conditions such as diabetes – for an unlimited amount of family and friends. You can enter information about each person's doctor and hospital affiliation, health insurance, and even attorney contacts. The idea is to put all the data you need access to in one easy-to-find place. ($2.99; IOS)

Family Tracker

Don't just track the kids; track the whereabouts of the entire family! This app keeps tabs on anyone you like, but only if the other person accepts the one-time tracking request. The app uses a built-in messaging system, separate from standard text messaging, that allows you to contact family members and receive notifications that they read your messages. You even have the capability to get your kid's attention by setting the device to "play a loud, annoying siren." For each device you wish to track, you'll need to buy the app separately. ($5.99; IOS and Android)

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Sex Offenders Search

If you just moved to a new neighborhood, or are planning to, you can research any neighborhood with this app. Simply activate your smartphone's GPS and connect to the National Sex Offender Registry to locate registered sex offenders and predators in the area. You can search by name, address, and zip code, and results will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on a location for more details, such as pictures, names, addresses, and a list of offenses. ($1.99; IOS and Android)

Food Additives

Whether or not your little one has a known food allergy, this app allows you to search for various unhealthy food additives. The free version contains information about 50 nasty additives, but a full app version with a list of 450-plus additives is available for $3.99. The list of additives can be sorted by name, risk level, symptoms, and diet (for example, gluten-free). The database is stored on your phone for easy access, even when you can't go online. (Free; IOS)

Baby Monitor HD

Touted as the "next generation baby monitor" from Engadget, this camera/video app allows you to keep tabs on your baby's crib. Other features include password-protected audio and video, audio alerts, and infrared night mode, but only specific cameras (mostly Y-Cam and WiFi Baby) are compatible with this app. Check WiFiBaby.com and SunshineApps.com before purchasing Baby Monitor HD to make sure you have the correct combination of hardware and software. After purchase, Engadget.com has detailed setup instructions. ($9.99; available on IOS only with specific cameras)

iCam

This app, which has been featured on Today, CNN, and Good Morning America, allows you to watch live video feeds from any room in your home with a mobile device. To be monitored, each room needs to have constantly running computers with webcams and the app's compatible software installed. The app developer's website has full instructions (skjm.com/icam/support.php) and a very short list of cameras that are not supported. You can make a donation via in-app purchasing to help reduce the company's server costs. ($4.99; IOS, Android)

Alarm.com

Get real security with a complete system that includes mobile monitoring. Arm/disarm the system remotely, turn light sources on/off, and watch live and recorded video through installed cameras. Parents can get alerts about a variety of household happenings – when the children get home from school, when someone is poking around the medicine or liquor cabinet, or when someone has changed the thermostat or left the garage door open. A subscription is required for a specific Alarm.com home monitoring service and the app works only with certain hardware. (Free to download, services requires subscription; IOS, Android)

SecuraFone

There are apps that locate your children, but how about one that tells you how fast they're driving? This app can do so by using the smartphone's built-in GPS. Plus, the SecuraFences feature sends notifications if your child goes beyond a designated geographic area. Parents can view 90 days' worth of map data using what the company website calls a "breadcrumb trail" and access reports that include addresses and a history of all the alerts sent by the app. All this is done in the background of your smartphone via GPS. (Free to download, services requires subscription; IOS, Android)

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