As children look forward to walking the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and telling jokes to score more candy, a cell phone is the perfect accessory to any costume to help families stay connected and keep kids safe this Halloween. With so many cutting-edge devices and free apps now available, parents are just a download away from having extra peace of mind while their kids trick or treat.
“Cell phones today go far beyond providing the ability to just call to check on your child’s location as smartphones continue to evolve with customizable features and access to numerous applications to help families keep track of their loved ones,” said Roberta Winger, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Oregon and California.“We want parents to be aware of the many ways they can use their phones to help their kids be safe on Halloween and year round. Cell phones should simplify and enhance your life, and we encourage customers to reach out to a U.S. Cellular associate if they need help setting up particular features or apps on their device.”
Specific ways a parent can use a cell phone on Halloween can depend on their child’s age. For those with small children, it could be as simple as pinning a slip of paper with their cell phone number, along with the child’s name and address, inside a pocket or onto the costume just in case the child gets separated from the group. Parents are also encouraged to consider the following free apps and ideas to help make sure their family has an “appy” Halloween.
Life 360: Ultimate Safety App: Life 360 turns your phone into the ultimate safety device and lets you know where your family is located, where they’ve been and what is nearby. It also offers family members the ability to send an alert if they need help and is available for free in Google Play.
Red Panic Button: The free version of this app allows trick-or-treaters the option to simply press a button to automatically send out a text message with their exact coordinates on Google™ Maps to family members. So when mom texts and asks,“Where are you?” a child can quickly and easily send her a map giving the exact location. The app is available in the Amazon Appstore and in Google Play.
FBI child ID: Every year, thousands of children go missing, but the FBI’s Child ID App can help. This free app provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about your children so that it’s handy in an emergency. You can share it with security or police officers on the spot or use a special tab on the app to quickly and easily e-mail the information to authorities.
Timing it just right. A cell phone’s alarm clock is a great tool for parents. When they establish a curfew on Halloween night, parents can set their kids’ cell phone alarm clocks to give them a reminder when it’s time to head home. Parents can also help their children set an alarm to ring when they’d like the kids to check in – either by calling or texting.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Taking high-quality photos is a snap with many of today’s cutting-edge smartphones, such as U.S. Cellular’s Samsung Galaxy S® III with its 8 MP camera. Children can also use their phones to take pictures and video of their friends’ costumes and share them with each other.
Winger also encourages parents to make sure their kids know how to use a cell phone in an emergency. Before sending kids out for trick-or-treating, parents should teach children how to provide their location to a 911 operator, and describe it using landmarks if an address is unknown or unavailable. I.C.E.(In Case of Emergency) contact numbers can also be pre-programmed into the phone so that children can get help quickly. The helpful associates in any local U.S. Cellular store can help input I.C.E. numbers.