Safety and Privacy are words that are key for parents and kids. Parents want their kids to be safe and know where they are without infringing on their independence and privacy. Kids, too, even though they might not want to admit it, also want to feel safe and connected to their parents as they exercise their autonomy.
Finally a new easily accessible app has appeared on the home front and social scene for parents and kids, the 99Check Family Safety Locator App. With a simple selfie, your family members let each other know they are okay with a private map and picture plus how much battery is left on your device. 99 in texting slang means "parents are not around," so kids will immediately understand what it means.
The Many Pluses of the 99Check App
• Unlike other safety apps kids don't feel their parents are checking their every move, but instead the kids and parents check in only when they feel it's necessary. Parents are responsible for their kids wherever they are and this allows for that without constant texting or calling that takes more time and is more invasive. This preserves the parent-child connection and bond with respect.
• Another plus is 99check is free to download which makes it accessible to all. In addition, is a feature that permits users to write some text on top of the photo if they wish, adding a funny or informative comment that can add to the photo shot.
• Selfies are so easy to do that even grade school kids can use them, especially if they have any concerns such as bullying, not feeling well, allergy problems, after-school activity reminders and many more. If there are high stress times at home like potential divorces, ill parents, baby sitter questions, and other worries, kids can get more clingy and be reluctant to go to school. Knowing they have this app reminds them that with the school's permission they can reach their parent and feel safe and secure and concentrate on their school work. Now it's more acceptable--even normal--to give kids smartphones at 8 or 10, so kids feel part of their social group when they have a phone.
• Tweens and teens who are searching for ways to have more independence and develop their identity won't feel like they must give lots of detail to "helicopter" parents who might want a bit too much reassurance and information than kids want to share. Yet at the same time, those very parents can know the location of their kids and know they are out of harm's way and having a good time. It works for everybody.
• Although the 99check app wasn't intended for use between adults, I've discovered it's a handy app when meeting my husband finding myself late for an appointment or lunch date. I quickly send a selfie which shows my location without wasting precious time on a text. My husband knows where I am and how soon we'lll meet up. Everyone's reassured.
It seems like a great idea to get this free app at the App Store for families who appreciate how their kids engage with smartphone technology, but want to check in with them randomly without being too interfering in their lives. Many different parents with a range of values will find this app fits into their daily lives and appreciate it's significance to close parent-child connections and a feeling of safety and love.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold.