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#1 of 24 Old 11-27-2014, 02:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mobile app perfect for mothers and parents

Hi, I'm a developer and I was thinking of creating a mobile app intended to help parents. My sister has a teenage daughter who has a habit of not answering her calls. She does this on purpose, but it's not good because my sister won't know whether she's just doing it intentionally, or she's not answering because something bad has really happened.

So I thought of creating an app that, if installed in your phone, will automatically call the mom's (or parents number if the owner of the phone (in this case, the daughter) doesn't answer her parents' call OR text and there would be no way for her to stop the call. This way, the parent would be able to connect with the child regardless of the situation. I also thought of a tracking app that will automatically send the child's location every 15 minutes or so to the parent. However, the disadvantage of this app is that it has to be connected to the internet.

And both apps' slight fallback is that it has to be installed first in the child's mobile phone. This is easy when your child is still young, but with teenagers today, you won't even be able to touch their phones.

Anyway, would like some input from you on possible apps that would be great for parents. Thanks!
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#2 of 24 Old 11-27-2014, 02:57 AM
 
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My first thought with the call back app is that it can't make a child talk to it's parents so the parent still won't know if the child is just not talking or if they can't talk for some sinister reason.

Tracking apps make me uncomfortable in general. I don't want my child to be in the right place because they know I'm checking up on them. I want them to be in the right place because we have a trusting, connected relationship and I am helping them to grow and develop their own judgement and autonomy. I understand the desire but I don't think it's healthy to act on it in most circumstances.


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#3 of 24 Old 11-27-2014, 08:12 AM
 
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I don't know whether something like that would have a market, but I think that the approach is misguided from a parenting perspective. If your relationship with your teen is so troubled that your phone calls and texts are being ignored, the way to fix that is not to add control and surveillance. I think that would stand a pretty good chance of destroying whatever is left of the relationship.

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#4 of 24 Old 11-27-2014, 01:40 PM
 
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There's already an app called IgnoreNoMore that will lock a cell phone (except for emergency calls) until your child calls you back.

Your app sounds like privacy destroying spyware marketed to parents instead of to abusive spouses.

If I call my child and my child doesn't call back, I am open to the possibility that there's a good reason. Perhaps my child is underground, on the subway system that our whole family uses all the time, and the call isn't going through. Perhaps my child is driving, and following my instructions to NEVER EVER use the phone while doing so. Perhaps my kid is in school, or in a therapy session, or at a job interview. Those are all things teens do.

And a location message every fifteen minutes? I want to know generally where my kids are (I want them to keep me posted), but that level of tracking is insane.

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#5 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 01:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My first thought with the call back app is that it can't make a child talk to it's parents so the parent still won't know if the child is just not talking or if they can't talk for some sinister reason.

Tracking apps make me uncomfortable in general. I don't want my child to be in the right place because they know I'm checking up on them. I want them to be in the right place because we have a trusting, connected relationship and I am helping them to grow and develop their own judgement and autonomy. I understand the desire but I don't think it's healthy to act on it in most circumstances.


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Hello, my point in creating such a feature is that when the app calls back the parent, the parent will be able to hear whatever's happening in the background. The child doesn't necessarily need to talk to the parent. The parent would be able to hear if the child is just in class, with friends, or hear cars in the background (suggesting the child is probably traveling). In the same way, the parent would be able to hear the child screaming for help if he or she's been abducted or something. The key is that the app would "silently" call the parent's number. You know, like a silent alarm. The child or whoever is holding the phone is unaware that a call is being made.
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#6 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know whether something like that would have a market, but I think that the approach is misguided from a parenting perspective. If your relationship with your teen is so troubled that your phone calls and texts are being ignored, the way to fix that is not to add control and surveillance. I think that would stand a pretty good chance of destroying whatever is left of the relationship.

Miranda
It's not my teen. My child is a two-year-old boy.
Also, my sister's daughter does not have a bad relationship with her. She simply doesn't like to answer all the time because she says her friends tease her saying "you need to go home, it's past your curfew"

And the surveillance app is for security purposes, not privacy invasion. I personally would want to know where my son was or who he was with last if something bad happens or if he suddenly goes missing. Otherwise, where do I start looking for him?
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#7 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There's already an app called IgnoreNoMore that will lock a cell phone (except for emergency calls) until your child calls you back.

Your app sounds like privacy destroying spyware marketed to parents instead of to abusive spouses.

If I call my child and my child doesn't call back, I am open to the possibility that there's a good reason. Perhaps my child is underground, on the subway system that our whole family uses all the time, and the call isn't going through. Perhaps my child is driving, and following my instructions to NEVER EVER use the phone while doing so. Perhaps my kid is in school, or in a therapy session, or at a job interview. Those are all things teens do.

And a location message every fifteen minutes? I want to know generally where my kids are (I want them to keep me posted), but that level of tracking is insane.
Exactly. This app could encourage children, especially teens, to keep their parents informed. If a teenager tells his or her mom, for instance, "hey mom I'm gonna drive to the mall.", at least the mom would know and thus, won't need to call her teen. Then the teen should again inform the mom once she's at the mall. It's about staying informed. That's how my husband and I are with each other. We've been married for 7 years and we were like that since we were dating.

As for the location message every 15 minutes, I think this is a great idea. Because if it's any longer than that, then the location might not be updated anymore. It's just receiving messages. Parents do not need to do anything with them. It's just for their information. I know some parents are lenient, but some aren't so. My mom was mugged (and bag and jewelry stolen) in the past, and my younger sister was once mugged (phone and wallet stolen) too plus harassed and she even had to borrow the phone of the security guard of a convenience store to call us, so for people like me who have such experiences, these are very useful and almost necessary. You have no idea how helpless you can possibly feel if something happens to a loved one and you have no clue as to where he or she is, and cannot get in touch with him or her.
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#8 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyway, if you additional ideas for a mobile app designed for parents, I would love to hear them. I'll be starting the development early January 2015. I've decided to use Xamarin for it, and I expect to be done in 2 or 3 months.
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#9 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 02:01 AM
 
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I see your intentions but I don't think it's a good idea to build a mobile app like that. It's much easier to have a tracker placed on your child to know exactly where he or she is at any given time.
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#10 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 02:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carla Halter View Post
Hello, my point in creating such a feature is that when the app calls back the parent, the parent will be able to hear whatever's happening in the background. The child doesn't necessarily need to talk to the parent. The parent would be able to hear if the child is just in class, with friends, or hear cars in the background (suggesting the child is probably traveling). In the same way, the parent would be able to hear the child screaming for help if he or she's been abducted or something. The key is that the app would "silently" call the parent's number. You know, like a silent alarm. The child or whoever is holding the phone is unaware that a call is being made.


I don't think, from your responses, that you do actually want feedback but I'm going to respond again anyway :-)

The problem with this is that, when the parent gets the callback and hears nothing they won't know if their child is gagged in a deserted warehouse miles from anywhere or if the phone is simply buried under a jumper at the bottom of their bag or if they've said to their friends "quick, shoosh, my phone is ringing my parents so they can eavesdrop on me." Even if I wanted this level of surveillance, which I don't, there are too many variables for it to be useful.

Have you ever had a phone call or voicemail message from someone who's accidentally dialled their phone? I have and most of the time it's completely indecipherable.


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#11 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 05:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carla Halter View Post
Hello, my point in creating such a feature is that when the app calls back the parent, the parent will be able to hear whatever's happening in the background. The child doesn't necessarily need to talk to the parent. The parent would be able to hear if the child is just in class, with friends, or hear cars in the background (suggesting the child is probably traveling). In the same way, the parent would be able to hear the child screaming for help if he or she's been abducted or something. You know, like a silent alarm. The child or whoever is holding the phone is unaware that a call is being made.
Carla, this feature exists on spyware, and is used by abusers to eavesdrop on, and thereby control, their victims. Imagine if you knew when your kid was scheduled for a therapy session, and wanted to listen in. This is the feature you'd use.

The market for the app you are contemplating isn't concerned parents. The surveillance you seem to think would be reassuring is anything but - a location ping every fifteen minutes is not reassurance, it's obsession.

So what if my kids' friends tease them because their mom calls? When I was a teen, my parents publicly fronted as super strict. Privately, they were very reasonable (my curfew was waived anytime I asked for an extension, for example), but anytime I was getting into things that made me uncomfortable, I had the readymade excuse that if I (stayed out too late, drank, smoked, skipped school) my parents would flip.
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#12 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 05:15 AM
 
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I didn't have a cell phone until I'd been out on my own for nearly three years. When I grew up, no one had them, and when networks get overwhelmed, you still can't get through. I know exactly how helpless it can feel to not be able to get in touch - it took my husband three hours to get through to me after the marathon bombing, because networks were too busy and we couldn't call each other. Spyware is not the answer.
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#13 of 24 Old 11-28-2014, 07:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carla Halter View Post
It's not my teen. My child is a two-year-old boy.
Also, my sister's daughter does not have a bad relationship with her. She simply doesn't like to answer all the time because she says her friends tease her saying "you need to go home, it's past your curfew"

And the surveillance app is for security purposes, not privacy invasion. I personally would want to know where my son was or who he was with last if something bad happens or if he suddenly goes missing. Otherwise, where do I start looking for him?
When your son reaches the age where he has a cellphone and is going places on his own, you will need to reach the stage where you are comfortable not being able to ping his exact whereabouts every few minutes, and not receiving phone calls from him all the time. Not because it's not possible to get that level of surveillance, but because that type of parental behaviour is untrusting, oppressive and simply creepy.

When I mentioned the parent-teen relationship what I meant was that if the teen is feeling harassed and burdened by the need to be in constant touch with the parent, there's either too much parental control (and not enough trust) being exerted, or not enough empathy on the part of the teen to want to relieve reasonable parental worry. Those things should be discussed and addressed. The solution isn't to replace relationship work with an app that imposes the parents' will.

I too use my behaviour with my husband as a sort of litmus test for respectful interpersonal behaviour, but I do not text him to say I'm going to the mall and then again once I arrive there. I might text him to say "I'm going to the mall. Need anything? Expect to be home around 5:15." Then I would only text him again if I was going to be late, or if I had a really significant change of plans. And I certainly would not want him pinging my phone every 15 minutes or able to listen in on ambient surroundings where I am. Do I have anything to hide? No, of course not, but that level of surveillance/contact would imply a pathological need for control in our marital relationship and would just feel wrong.

I realize you're excited by the idea of writing this app and are looking more for confirmation of your ideas than contrary opinions. I just wanted to encourage you to extend the "what I do with my husband" consideration to this sort of application: would it be appropriate approach for a husband to use with his wife? If not, maybe it's not appropriate approach for a parent to use with a teen.

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#14 of 24 Old 11-29-2014, 08:27 AM
 
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There are already aps that let you know the location of a phone that is part of your plan. Our cell provider offered to set it up for me. I could, if I wanted to, check the location of my teens cell phones when they are out. I don't have that ap.

The notion that this is SILENT call that the teen doesn't know is being made is very creepy. I don't need to listen to my 16 year old talk to or kiss her boyfriend. It's sick. Likewise, I don't listen at their doors when they talk to a friend or read their journals.

I'm not a crazy, controlling, sh*tty parent. My parents were, even though they did it in the days before cell phones, and I know exactly how it felt and how it effected my relationship with them.

I've raised good kids, and I trust them (knowing that from time to time they will most likely do a stupid thing or two, because that seems to be the nature of being a human being). At this stage, I'm far more concerned with building a solid relationship with them that will take us into adult hood than micro managing their lives now.

As far as a teen (or abused adult) being summoned by your ap, why wouldn't they just leave the phone in their car, far away from the real action of where ever they are going? Also, far away from them in case they need to make an emergency call. One of the reasons I feel safer with my teens having phones is so that, if, god forbid, something goes wrong, they can make a call. I want their phones on them, not so I track them down, but so they can call me, or 911. I don't see how my teens could really use the phone as a safety device if I were using it as a tracking device.

Also, as far as seeing if your kid is in class, my kid's school takes attendance every period, and any unexcused periods are reported to the parents at the end of the school day in an email.

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The notion that this is SILENT call that the teen doesn't know is being made is very creepy. I don't need to listen to my 16 year old talk to or kiss her boyfriend. It's sick. Likewise, I don't listen at their doors when they talk to a friend or read their journals.
In case it wasn't obvious enough from my prior posts, I strongly agree with Linda here.

Everyone should have both a right and a reasonable expectation of privacy. We're a fairly open family about some things (the way you are when your kids are small and you have only one bathroom), but everyone has some space that is theirs alone, to do what they please, within reason. We don't spy on people.

It does not please me that, in making something to "help"parents, you would be adding to the catalog of products that are mostly of interest to stalkers and abusers.
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#16 of 24 Old 11-29-2014, 02:40 PM
 
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Yes to everything MeepyCat and Linda on the Move have said.


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#17 of 24 Old 11-30-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Carla Halter View Post
Hi, I'm a developer and I was thinking of creating a mobile app intended to help parents. My sister has a teenage daughter who has a habit of not answering her calls. She does this on purpose, but it's not good because my sister won't know whether she's just doing it intentionally, or she's not answering because something bad has really happened.

So I thought of creating an app that, if installed in your phone, will automatically call the mom's (or parents number if the owner of the phone (in this case, the daughter) doesn't answer her parents' call OR text and there would be no way for her to stop the call. This way, the parent would be able to connect with the child regardless of the situation. I also thought of a tracking app that will automatically send the child's location every 15 minutes or so to the parent. However, the disadvantage of this app is that it has to be connected to the internet.

And both apps' slight fallback is that it has to be installed first in the child's mobile phone. This is easy when your child is still young, but with teenagers today, you won't even be able to touch their phones.

Anyway, would like some input from you on possible apps that would be great for parents. Thanks!
Hi, I understand your point about an application that you would like to pursue. Anyway, I'm also new to this kind of thing and need more views about an application to use. I want to know if the one Karla's referring is similar to a salesperson tracker which views sales performance and activity? Well if this is so its like tracking your children's location am I right? I think, there are applications as such nowadays, the only thing we should do is to find the best parental tracking apps that will provide a complete system of mobile monitoring.
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#18 of 24 Old 11-30-2014, 08:32 PM
 
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A salesperson "tracker" doesn't track a salesperson's physical location, or listen in on them. It's a database where the sales team enters client data (like who talked to the client or potential client, when, what they said, what they bought, what their account balance is, and how to get in touch with them). A sales tracker works by soliciting the contributions of the people involved. It has nothing in common with the spyware that the OP in this thread is contemplating.

I assure you, however, that there is spyware on the market that does everything the OP has discussed. That's why you can't bring a cell phone to a domestic violence shelter these days.
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#19 of 24 Old 12-03-2014, 12:45 PM
 
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I personally would want to know where my son was or who he was with last if something bad happens or if he suddenly goes missing. Otherwise, where do I start looking for him?
In the place where he told you he was going to be, the last time you spoke with him.

I have never had a cell phone
, so I have been watching the cultural shifts related to cell phones from the outside. It is ridiculous how adults who did not have cell phones when they were teens act completely clueless about how they could possibly manage any aspect of their lives without everyone having a cell phone. Look, it's very simple: Make a plan. Stick to it. Cut each other some slack for the possibility that the bus was late, etc. Catch up when you're together, and accept that when you're apart you can't talk to one another all the time.

My son is almost 10. Every school day, I walk him to the corner of our block, then he goes one way to school and I go the other way taking the baby to childcare on my way to work. School lets out at 2:50, and he's allowed to stay and play with his friends outside as long as he walks home by 4:00. This means that from 7:50am until 4:00pm he might have no contact with either parent. So far we've all survived. There have been a few times when he called home (his father works at home) asking to go to a friend's house after school; he's done this by borrowing the friend's parent's cell phone, but if instead he went to the friend's house and called from the land line there, that would be fine as long as he called before 4:00. I believe there's been just one time that he did not make it home by 4:00 so his dad went looking for him--and met him along the way between school and home, no problem, and he apologized for running late because he forgot to check his watch. Yes, he has a wristwatch--it's this nifty device that enables you to know what time it is without having to have a phone.

I agree with other posters that if a parent can't get a teen to keep in touch as much as the parent would like, either the teen is not ready for the level of freedom she has and needs to be better supervised, or the parent is being too clingy.

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#20 of 24 Old 12-03-2014, 01:12 PM
 
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In the place where he told you he was going to be, the last time you spoke with him.

I have never had a cell phone
, It is ridiculous how adults who did not have cell phones when they were teens act completely clueless about how they could possibly manage any aspect of their lives without everyone having a cell phone.
Bravo Rebecca! We are currently a family of six, five cellphones, but we've come to it recently as our area had no cell service until five years ago. So it's only gradually become part of the culture here. We've only got phones as our kids have moved away (none of them have land lines). My tween who lives at home does not have a cellphone and won't for the foreseeable future. My older three kids lived their entire teen lives at home without cellphones. They walked to school, hiked, hung out with friends, went to parties, kept track of time, communicated with me as needed. Shocking I know.

So I agree: life is possible without everyone being trackable at every moment. Cellphones or not, teens who are mature enough for a bit of independence (i.e. all of them, barring serious conduct or mental disorders) can stay safe without being in contact with their parents every 15 minutes. The last time I was in touch with my newly-16-year-old was two days ago. I trust her, and I know how to put risk in perspective.

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#21 of 24 Old 12-03-2014, 01:42 PM
 
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It is ridiculous how adults who did not have cell phones when they were teens act completely clueless about how they could possibly manage any aspect of their lives without everyone having a cell phone.

I agree, but there are far fewer pay phones around than when I was a teen. It's one of the reasons I like my kids to have their own phone when they are out -- they use them they way I used a pay phone to let my parents know when the plan had changed.

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#22 of 24 Old 12-03-2014, 02:51 PM
 
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It's true that pay phones are less common, but there's also a "herd immunity" kind of thing going on in that the majority of adults now carry cell phones, so it's usually possible to find a phone to use unless you are alone in an isolated place. I have generally been able to borrow a phone when I need one and can't find a pay phone. Many businesses will let you use the phone. However, a male friend who is tall and muscular and thus somewhat more scary-looking than I am tells me he is usually unable to borrow a stranger's cell phone because they think he might steal it--so if my son gets to be imposing as he gets bigger, I might get him a cell phone for that reason.

But I still wouldn't use it to spy on him.

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#23 of 24 Old 12-04-2014, 06:38 PM
 
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I come at this from a different angle - we live in a city, and unless I quit my job to move to the suburbs, we're staying, but there is a lot of both random and gang-related after school street crime. I want my children to have cell phones when they are old enough to take the subway alone, because I think they will be safer if they have a way of calling an adult. (I don't lend my phone to anyone I don't know. If I did hand my phone over for a stranger to use, I would expect never to see it again. If I want my kids to be able to call, they need phones of their own. If we lived somewhere else, it might be different.)

When I get a new email, voice mail or text, my phone blinks an indicator light at me. Right now, I pay attention to that indicator light, because there's a solid chance it might be something important - it might be from the school or the babysitter or DH or the kids, and it might be something I urgently need to know. But if I'm getting a message every 15 minutes with my children's phone's locations, now I absolutely have to ignore the indicator light, because otherwise I'm playing with my phone all the time when I need to be working. So now my response time to an actual urgent message goes from probably within a few minutes to several hours. I'd check my phone at lunch, unless I was doing lunch meetings, in which case, possibly not till the end of the day. It would be a serious reduction in safety.
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The application should not only be for the benefit of the parents as the kids would never get it installed in their phones. You should consider adding things which are for the benefit of kids too.

Boys & Girls Clubs Of Central Texas
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