As back-to-school season approaches, parents are not only focused on getting their children the necessary supplies and new shoes, but also on ensuring their safety in emergency situations such as school shootings. To address this concern, some parents have started using tracking devices like AirTags to keep tabs on their children. While Apple states that AirTags are not intended for people, they can still be used effectively to track kids by placing them in their pockets or backpacks. Additionally, parents are advised to consider placing a tracker in their child's car if they are old enough to drive.
However, tracking devices are just one aspect of ensuring a child's safety. The FBI Child ID app is a crucial tool for parents, allowing them to store detailed information about their children, including physical descriptions, photos, names, and any nicknames. In the event of a child going missing, this app can save precious time by providing authorities with all the necessary information right away. Furthermore, parents can easily send this information to police, security, or other officials who are searching for missing children. The app also offers tips on keeping children safe and outlines the actions to take in the first few critical hours after a child's disappearance. It should be noted that the FBI does not collect or store any photos or information entered into the app, ensuring the data remains on the user's phone until it is sent to authorities.
In addition to using tracking devices and the FBI Child ID app, parents are encouraged to set up a secret communication method with their children. While most kids carry phones, there may be situations where they cannot make a phone call or send a text, especially if someone is monitoring them. To overcome this, parents can establish a secret emoji that their children can use to discreetly communicate an emergency. Choosing an emoji that is not commonly used in daily conversations, such as exotic animals, is recommended. Once the secret emoji is determined, parents should sit down with their children and discuss the plan, including the actions to take if the emoji is sent.
Moreover, parents should familiarize themselves and their children with the emergency features on their smartphones. Apple's Emergency SOS feature automatically calls the local emergency number and alerts chosen emergency contacts via text message, including the phone's location. For iPhones 8 or later, users can press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons to access the Emergency SOS slider. On older models like the iPhone 7, quickly pressing the side or top button five times enables the emergency slider. Android phones also offer similar emergency features, though they need to be set up in advance. Users can customize what happens when Emergency SOS is used, such as sounding an alarm, calling a specific emergency number, sharing updates and location information with emergency contacts, and even recording a video. The method to initiate Emergency SOS on Android phones varies depending on the device, but generally involves pressing the power button multiple times.
While these safety measures may seem overwhelming, ensuring the well-being of one's family is worth the effort. In addition to the aforementioned tools, renowned tech expert Kim Komando offers additional tech advice through her newsletters, podcasts, and radio show. Her resources provide useful tech tips and advice accessible to all, regardless of expertise. By staying informed and prepared, parents can have peace of mind knowing they are taking the necessary steps to protect their children.