It’s that time of year when everything seems to go bump in the night. But these geo-location apps can make Halloween a little less scary for parents as they send their little monsters out into the neighborhood in search of treats.
Trick or Tracker is an app for Android smartphones that sends updates to parents about their kids’ location. The parent selects an interval of time (15 minutes, half hour, etc.) and receives a text message as each interval passes with the kid’s location.
Parents can also set up a geo-fence and get an alert if the phone leaves a defined perimeter. This tool is only effective if the trick-or-treater keeps his phone by his side. Stashing the phone in a bush will lead to updates that continuously report that stagnant location.
The Trick or Tracker app costs $4.99 for each download and can be downloaded at www.trickortracker.com.
There are also some free apps that provide the same geo-location service for parents.
Google Latitude is a free app and service that allows users to sign up to receive the real-time locations of friends and family members, and it’s available on multiple devices, including Android, iOS, Windows phones and the BlackBerry. A child’s location can also be tracked on the Web, showing a map with a moving marker representing the door-to-door traveler.
Find My Friends is Apple’s own version of a locator app that is compatible with devices running iOS 5. It works similarly to Google Latitude.
While these apps provide an extra level of comfort for parents, they’re no replacement for a physically present chaperone. And a tech-savvy teenager can turn off the location broadcasting. But these tools, along with smart advice about safety can make this a happy Halloween for kids and parents.