3 new parenting apps you will want to make room for on your home screen: A better way to hire a better babysitter; A savvier way to monitor kids’ online activity; and a new way to digitize kids’ artwork.
Bark is a savvier (and more respectful) way to monitor your kids’ digital lives
Keeping young people safe online is a top parenting challenge today. How much time online is too much? How frequently should you monitor what your kids do?
“Once you hand that phone to your child, that is the beginning of a million micro-decisions for you as a parent, and for the child,” says Ms. Dennedy, chief privacy officer at Cisco Systems
Even with young ones, I employ internet safety tools to help create a walled experience for my children. Norton Family helps with time limits and safe browsing. As tech evolves, however, parents need tools to stay on the cutting edge of trends and where teens are spending time. The Bark app offers an easy and effective solution to keep children of all ages safe on social media, in chat rooms and other virtual places they visit.
Bark avoids putting the burden on the parents to monitor every single online action while respecting the privacy of the child. The National Parenting Center award-winning app believes teens appreciate this approach because they are free to continue their daily digital lives without their parents constantly peering over their shoulders. Bark does not give their parents the ability to read everything they’re doing.
Instead, Bark uses “advanced machine learning and statistical analysis techniques to recognize potential problems” rather than searching for common keywords. It alerts you about risky apps installed. It can analyze both images and videos your child receives for nudity, violence and other inappropriate content. It is smart enough to detect new app installs, accounts, and changes in activity over time. All data analyzed is stored within an encrypted database, including backups.
Pricing details: Bark is $9 ($99 paid annually) per family (unlimited children and connections)
Get it here: https://www.bark.us
2. Trusted gives you a better way to get a better babysitter
Like many parents, I have had ample experience with the standard fare of babysitting sites. By the end of a search, I am exhausted, frustrated and praying that the sitter is a keeper. I have explored finding caregivers through nanny agencies, as well, but the exorbitant fee for a part-time hire was hard to justify.
The Trusted app bridges the gap and creates a better way to get a babysitter, employing services that a high-end nanny agency would without the sticker shock. Raved about by friends in San Francisco and New York, Trusted is different because:
- Trusted providers that are experienced and trained — the company recruits experienced caretakers and provides them with training
- Background and references checked – All candidates are background checked, referenced checked, CPR certified, immunized and personally interviewed by Trusted’s corporate office
- All bookings are made online – you can find care and book our providers in just a few minutes
- Live streaming check ins – Check in with your caregiver via the app to see how things are going at home. You can also see where your provider is on a map (geolocate them) at any given point in time
- Pay through the app, reap tax benefits — All sitters can be paid through the app and eligible parents can claim up to $6000 in tax deductions when they get a receipt for child care
Pricing details: Rates range from $15 per hour to $25 per hour for the first child, with 20% added per hour for each additional child up to three (3) children total plus a booking fee
Get it here: Currently available in San Francisco and NYC https://usetrusted.com
3. Combine your child’s artwork with photos, video clips and everything else you treasure
Think time will magically materialize so you can scrapbook years of your child’s artwork? Hate to break it to you, it won’t. Instead of taking up space in storage boxes, free the artwork and save it for years to come. The Keepy app says calls itself a guilt-free way to reduce the piles of your kids’ artwork.
Simply upload photos of your child’s art into the Keepy app. You can save artwork, crafts, video clips of soccer games, reports cards and even letters to Santa in one tidy place – all online. Add in video clips of Kindergarten graduation, photos from Halloween and other keepsake memories off your phone into Keepy, as well. Share those files with friends and loved ones. A huge benefit of this app is the ability to auto-sync to a Dropbox account to ensure it is saved for decades to come and after you cancel your membership.
Want to turn those memories into something more? The Keepy store is where you can turn your favorite Keepy memories into print magic. Magnets, coasters, framed photos, photobooks are just a few of the great creative treasures waiting for you.
Keepy is a totally private platform and only you and your invited fans can view the memories you save and organize with it. User reviews are generally positive, though one complained about uploading a maximum of 5 images at a time.
Pricing details: App is free, pricing varies based on number of uploads. Unlimited uploads start at $30/year
Get it here: https://keepy.me