Technology can be used in the home to optimize many things, and at the top of the list can be the management of children. It’s hard for some parents to adopt technology and use it for this purpose, but when push comes to shove the world is looking at adopting technological solutions to things that used to be done without technology, and now there are so many great products on the market today that help manage the home and children let’s take a look at the top five that help manage kids.
1 – Connected Door Locks
Latchkey kids are children who come home from school and have no parental supervision. Parents who might be forced to work to make ends meet, or are just working and are not home at the time of their children’s arrival can still be notified when they enter the home. Lockitron is a device that can fit on existing deadbolts, and as a child uses a phone or even a traditional key to unlock and open the door the parent will instantly be notified on their phone. There are many other features this device can do, but this one simple feature of an instant notification of a door being unlocked brings peace of mind to working parents.
2 – Motion Activated Surveillance Cameras
Okay so now that the children are inside what’s next? Questions like, who they are with, what room are they in, or what exactly are they doing can all be answered with motion activated security cameras. Security cameras connected to motion sensors can be installed in every room of the home. When those cameras sense motion they automatically switch on. Camera send a live feed to the program that can be accessed by a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Simply flip on the stream and watch the action go down live. Push notifications are also possible, so if something moves in the room you can get an instant notification on your phone and then tune into the live video stream to see what’s going on. There are a number of out-of-the-box solutions for this type of security camera technology. Logitech, Hammacher, and dozens of other companies make similar products, so the price will vary depending on the features and the number of cameras needed. Plan on spending anywhere from $150 to 500+ dollars on this type of setup.
3 – Intercom Communication
Home intercom systems have been around for decades, but with recent technological advancements in Bluetooth and wireless technology they are easier than ever to install and use. Intercoms are a great way to get the family together to sit down for a meal, see who is at the door, or even monitor a baby. For families who have mobility issues, home intercom systems can be something that you can’t imagine living without once you have the technology in use. The technology can be plugged into the home’s electrical system, or it can transfer the communication through wireless technology. Prices on these products can be vastly different because some are very simple and others are come with features like hands-free voice activation or even video capability. Whichever way you’re leaning, simple or complex, intercom communication is a must for a modern family.
4 – Pool Safety
Every parent who owns a home with a pool has good reason to worry about an accidental drowning occurring. According to the CDC about 4000 people every year die from drowning in the United States many of whom are children. 30% of accidental deaths in children ages 1 – 4 years old accidentally drowned in a swimming pool. Many of these children were only out of sight for less than five minutes when the accident occurred. Pool owners take precautions to avoid any incidents like installing fences around the pool, alarmed pool gates, and installing safety covers. Those are all great safeguards, but you can take it one step further and attach a motion alarm in the water that will wirelessly communicate with a receiver in the home. If movement is sensed in the pool an alarm will sound. There are several reputable companies making wireless pool alarms, but we recommend checking out the Poolguard PGRM-2 In-Ground Pool Alarm. It’s priced at $200 and comes with a three year warranty. You cannot turn off or temper with the device unless you have the fob, so sneaky kids trying to take a dip without your knowledge will be caught. Safeguards are built into the device so false alarms are avoided, like getting movement from wind or rain. Not only will a device like this provide you with peace of mind, but it is easy to install and you don’t need to drill any holes in the pool deck. It should be noted that parents and caregivers who own a pool should not substitute a product like this for constant supervision when children are at risk.
5 – Mobile Device Monitoring
In January 2013, MobileKids, a parent/child surveillance and security company launched an app for Android and iOS. If you have ever wanted to gift your children with a mobile device but have been apprehensive about how exactly they might use or abuse it then this solution might be for you. It allows parents to monitor their child’s device usage. Parents can check the location of the child’s phone, set time controls and thresholds for phone/app usage, and even give your child GPS coordinates to follow if they are lost through the app to their phone. The app gives you alerts when your child starts communicating to new people via their device so you will stay in “the know”, or when they download new apps. Unfortunately all these wonderful features are not going to be available to iPhone users. That’s because Apple has strict limits on how a device can control another device, thats too bad but there are still features that an Apple parent/child will enjoy. Android platforms will not have to worry about that problem. This is a subscription-based service with prices from $5.90 per month or $59.90 per year per family. There’s also a basic version, which is free, that will allow you to get the look and feel of how this app functions before you buy.