Keeping our children safe is the paramount concern for parents but as kids develop into teens, it can be much more challenging to maintain control over their safety while also giving them the independence that comes from having their own driver’s license. Even as vehicles have become much more advanced with safety features designed to decrease the risk of a serious accident, statistically more and more teens are being involved in fatal accidents every year. Distracted driving is a large factor in this increase, with infotainment centers and smartphone use as a large contributing factor.
But before you toss your teen’s phone out the window or lock it at home when handing over the car keys, it’s possible to use that smartphone to your advantage! Many tech-savvy parents are turning to apps designed to provide them with information not only on where their young, teen driver goes but on how they are driving in order to get there. Check out these top apps to help keep your teen driver safe…
Life360 – Wildly popular with both parents of drivers and non-driving youth alike, Life360 can begin as a way to keep tabs on your youngster with real time map locations but still evolve into monitoring your young driver’s habits once they earn their driver’s license. Compatible with both Android and iPhone users, Life360 can offer information ranging from crash detection, hard braking, rapid acceleration, track speed, phone usage and in the US, crime hotspots and alerts. Users receive weekly driving reports plus the distinct advantage of unlimited place alerts so you never have to worry if your child has come or gone safely from the house, work or school. A free version offers some of these features but if you would like to enjoy them all, there is a monthly fee.
EverDrive – From their website, EverDrive boasts… “Just download EverDrive and take your mobile with you. EverDrive passively monitors driving habits and delivers diagnostics for later review. Adjust driving skills to improve your score. You could win a driving skills contest or sweepstakes, or bragging rights among friends.” EverDrive is a FREE smartphone application for both iOS and Android users that monitors acceleration, braking, cornering, phone use, time of day, and location of your young driver.
Canary – Similar to Life360 and EverDrive, Canary monitors phone activity and notifies parents immediately if teens are engaging in dangerous driving. This includes using the phone to text or make phone calls while the vehicle is traveling more than 12 mph, traveling outside of a predetermined boundary area, staying out past curfew or speeding faster than pre-set speed limit maximum. While there is a free 7 day version, there is a monthly fee after the initial trial.
Mamabear – Mamabear takes monitoring to another level. Outside of monitoring if your child is either a passenger or driving in a vehicle that goes above a preset speed limit and notifies you, Mamabear also offers other tracking and data that other apps do not. In addition to providing speed and location details, it can also monitor texts on Android phones only at this time, social media accounts and be aware when inappropriate language or any indication of bullying are posted to their profiles by building a restricted words list. Mamabear offers monthly through 6 month plans that vary in cost per month.
CellControl – Slightly different than the other apps, CellControl is a unique program that is designed to disable only the driver’s phone, leaving other passengers free to use their phones normally. CellControl prevents behaviors that have been defined ahead of time: texting, taking selfies, using social media accounts, and playing games, among others. It can also be set to simply monitor usage to determine whether or not a teenage driver is using their phone responsibly.
TextArrest – allows parents to control the ways in which a phone can be used while in a moving vehicle. It can also be set up to notify parents when the teenage driver overrides the Text Arrestfunction, travels outside a certain geographic area, or exceeds the speed limit. The app will also allow the phone to be used in the event of an emergency with parent notification.
LifeSaver – LifeSaver uses GPS to monitor and reward drivers in an effort to break dangerous habits that lead to distracted driving in young drivers. The app blocks the ability for certain features to be used while the vehicle is in motion as well as notifying parents when drivers have arrived at their location. It features a driver portal where parents can help guide teens on the journey to responsible driving habits, and where they can set up rewards for their drivers when they demonstrate safe driving behavior.
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