October 30, 2012

Monitor Trick-Or-Treaters With Smartphone Apps

Unleashing your little goblins on Halloween night can be a little scary. Enter some Android apps that can give some peace of mind by allowing you to track the location of all your small creatures.

All of the following apps work on Android devices, with some offering cross-platform compatibility with the iPhone.

Glympse: This is currently the best cross-platform tool for keeping track of others’ locations, such as if you have an Android phone but your kids have iPhones. The only caveat is that the amount of time you are allowed to track a user expires after four hours (this can be reset an unlimited number of times). However, if trick-or-treating more than four hours, you probably have larger dental issues to work out.

Trick or Tracker:  It takes a little bit of technical knowledge to make this app work, but by doing so you can track kids from any device. Each device requires a $4.99 per phone license, so this is only worth the leap if you really enjoy Trick or Treater and think you will use it beyond Halloween night.

Life 360 Family Locator: This is another good, cross-platform tool for keeping track of your family members. It also can come in handy for tracking down a lost or stolen device should your child accidently drop it inside a friend’s candy bag. Outside of Apple’s proprietary Find My Friends, I found it to be the most accurate when testing it with several devices.

For the exceptionally safety conscious, Life360 also shows the locations of registered sex offenders. Plan your trick-or-treating route accordingly.

Google Latitude: If your family is all Android, the simplest method is to use Google Latitude. It is already embedded in the Google maps app; simply enable it from within the application and then share the location with one another’s Google account. A helpful set of how-to instructions can be found here.

The Great Pumpkin Festival: OK, this won’t track anyone, but it gets an honorable mention here for being a cool, free game the kids should like. Join the characters from the Charlie Brown series in a pumpkin carving contest where you must carve, vote, and share your way to success.


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