What the Tech? Apps to Keep Your Children Safe on Halloween

Most kids didn’t go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood last Halloween due to the pandemic. This year they’ll be back, roaming neighborhoods with their friends, maybe walking up to houses of people you don’t know very well.

In the last two years, people may have moved in and out of the neighborhood where kids trick-or-treat, and it’s quite likely you won’t know everyone. Here’s the scary question for parents: do you know if there are any convicted sex offenders near you?

While registered sex offenders can be found in public records and on some states’ published reports, an app that pulls all of that information on a map can be quite helpful.

Offender Locator is one of those apps. Using your phone’s GPS location, Offender Locator places pins on all of the houses occupied by registered sex offenders. If it’s the first time you’re seeing that information, you may be surprised and shocked even to see them all on a map.

Each pinned address goes to a link with information of that offender’s mug shot, name, and a brief description of the crime for which they were convicted. The app says its information comes from the national sex offender registry.

Offender Locator is a free app for maps. A premium version will notify you if you and your children are approaching one of the homes. It works not only on Halloween but any day of the year.

Life 360 is one of the more popular family safety apps for its immediate notifications of where each family member is and a quick way to send emergency messages to the rest of the family.

Like Offender Locator, Life360 has its own crime report database that is also displayed on a map of the neighborhood. With both of these apps, you can swipe with your finger to zoom in on a street or even a home.

A Life360 subscription allows you to set up a “safe zone” where your kids are allowed to trick-or-treat. If they were to go outside that zone, you’ll be notified through a Life360 message.

Of course for these apps to work your child will need a smartphone loaded with the app and it must be connected to the internet. If your child does not have their own smartphone, it will be wise to loan them one to take with them.

Halloween is a scary night for most kids and it’s even scarier for parents. These apps may give those parents a little more peace of mind.

 

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