MamaBear 4.0 Connects The Family

We recently released a new update to MamaBear in the Google Play and iTunes stores with a focus on connecting the family.
We recently released a new update to MamaBear in the Google Play and iTunes stores with a focus on connecting the family.  Prior to app version 4.0 the child’s view of the app was a separate interface with limited check in features. Our family empathy research and your feedback lead us to redesign the child view so all family members have a similar experience with a desire to find each other and share custom messages and images with their check ins.

Check out the new features of MamaBear 4.0:

A redesign for the kids in the family 

  • A news feed of their own compiles messages and check ins.
  • Kids can check in with a custom messages, a selfie or choose from a new set of emoticons.
  • Now with a map view, kids have a chance to see all family members’ location.

Optional guardian location sharing

  • Guardians in the family can turn location sharing on and off to be included on the family map view for all family members.
You may have also noticed, we’ve been adding digital parenting news and resources to your news feed to help keep you in the know. And that’s just the beginning.  Our mission to connect families is full steam ahead as we build on these features in upcoming releases. You’ll love what we have in store. Visit the Google Play and iTunes store to update or if you’re on auto-update, open the app and explore what’s new.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

national-cyber-security-awareness-monthDid you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? The month is a time for educating the community – especially families – about cyber security and internet safety.

According to StaySafeOnline.org, National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created ten years ago as a way for government and industry “to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online … Cybersecurity is the mechanism that maximizes our ability to grow commerce, communications, community and content in a connected world.”

If you have a child with a smartphone, you know how easy it is for him or her to become lost in a world of apps like Kik, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and a growing list of other social media geared toward young people. As we spend more time on the internet, online predators are sharpening their skills and internet know-how so to better take advantage of innocent victims. Not to mention, cyber bullying cases  that we hear about in the news on what seems like a weekly basis.

Related: iPhone vs. Android: MamaBear Weighs in on Smartphone Shopping for Your Kids

According to the Stop. Think. Connect. initiative of the Department of Homeland Security, “As technology advances, so do the techniques cybercriminals use to gain access to our computer networks. If each of us becomes more aware of cyber security risks and implements a few simple steps, we can all make a big difference.”

The Stop. Think. Connect. site includes resources to help you and your children learn how to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Spread the Word

The best way for families to lead safer lives online is to educate themselves and then spread the word. “The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility,” write the folks at StaySafeOnline.org. “Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone.”

It is especially important to reach our children with guidance on how to keep their information safe. Parents can help their children become smarter, savvier internet citizens by teaching them about cyber security during the month of October and year round. While teaching them about cyber security is crucial in this day and age, it is also important to use a family safety app like MamaBear to monitor their online and social media behavior to ensure that they are safe from online predators and bullies, until they are mature enough to protect themselves.

Want to help promote cyber security? Tell your workplace, your schools, your churches and your local government to promote NCSAM so all can share the responsibility of increasing awareness of cyber safety and making the internet a safer place for all. “Everyone can do something—even if you have less than one hour to devote to this effort!

Image Credit: The Tech Herald

 

Google Latitude Alternative for Android and iPhones

Google Latitude alternative Android Iphone

If you have ever shared your location on a mobile device, you may have used Google Latitude. Google Latitude allows users to find friends and family on a map as well as share where they are with friends and family. The user controls who gets to see their location and at what level of detail.

Google recently announced that they are retiring the Latitude service as of Aug. 9. According to Google, “Products being retired include Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android, Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, the public badge, the iGoogle Gadget, and the Latitude website at maps.google.com/latitude.”

If you used Google Latitude with your iPhone or Android device, the retirement means you’ll no longer be able to share your location using Latitude. Also, Latitude is no longer a feature on the latest version of Google Maps for mobile on Android and will be removed from iPhone on the App Store. That and your list of Latitude friends will be deleted.

You can read more about the change and what it means here.

Using the MamaBear App as a Google Latitude Alternative

With Google Latitude’s retirement, other location tracking apps will attempt to fill the void. While there are many choices for Latitude alternatives, for families there is no better replacement option than MamaBear. The MamaBear Family Safety App offers the best Google latitude alternative for Androids and iPhones.

Adding MamaBear to your iPhone or Android device provides you a way track your children’s locations, making sure you are aware of where they are and where they’ve been. The app also allows you to schedule alerts for location activity and it gives your kids a one-click opportunity to check-in, or send you an emergency notification. This gives your children a sense of freedom while also easing your own worries and enabling you to keep the whole family safe and secure. In addition, you can selectively share your current location with your children.

For concerned parents wanting to protect their growing children and give them the freedom they need to roam and explore, MamaBear goes a step further than Google Latitude.

MamaBear doesn’t just tell you where your kids are on a map. The app alerts you if they leave school or a scheduled activity early or they visit a restricted place you set. MamaBear monitors your kids’ social media behavior with notifications about new friends or followers, photo uploads, tagged photos or posts and restricted words you deem as signs of bullying or inappropriate on Facebook and Instagram. MamaBear can even let you know if they are in a speeding vehicle.

Without Google Latitude, parents still have options for sharing their location and tracking their children. MamaBear is one GPS tracking system for mobile devices that offers the same features at Latitude, along with so much more.

MamaBear is available for download on Android devices here and Apple devices here.

Sleepover Parties and Digital Device Use

sleepover-parties-digital-device-use

Sleepover parties generate lasting memories for our kids and lasting bonds with their peers. Some of my greatest childhood memories were while staying at a friend’s house and now my two boys beg to sleepover with a friend or have a friend stay the night just about every weekend. Today, digital media and screen time have turned sleepovers into a new environment and have become part of the parental discussion before sleepovers – should my kid bring their device, will you monitor their use, what time will you take their devices away for night, will they be behind closed doors with their devices?

Video rentals and late night board games have given way to streaming movies, social media and internet connect game consoles. Connectivity to even more people outside of the sleepover is now an option. The peer pressure and potentially skewed judgment of fun with friends mixed with available connectivity can lead to some embarrassing or reputation damaging consequences.

Adult content, chat rooms, webcam chat rooms, desired attention and bullying on the web and on social media are all very real threats that kids could face during the well intended sleepover. And then of course, there’s always the discussion of sneaking out to prank another friend or get into other mischief. Did you ever sneak out at a sleepover? Do you worry your kids will?

The MamaBear app can help minimize anxiety when you let your children stay the night out. Our location and social media monitoring can put your mind at ease and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous situations for our kids.

Give your children freedom to create some of the best memories of their lives when they aren’t with you. They can learn powerful lessons in independence, responsibility and accountability. But, you don’t have to suffer with worry and anxiety or text them every 5 minutes to check on them. Let the powerful suite of tools MamaBear app offers alert you to only the information needed to protect your kids. Parents can receive alerts if the child leaves the house or moves at preset driving speed. Social media alerts give parents an early warning about compromising photos, posts and inappropriate contacts and followers on Facebook and Instagram. The MamaBear child monitoring app gives parents the tools they need to sleep easy while the kids spend all night doing what they do best, being kids.