Parental monitoring solutions are essential in this day and age. Computers, smartphones, satellites and massive data networks have made this process easier and more convenient (and some cases more challenging) than we could have ever imagined.
As our children grow up and begin socializing online and in real life, we begin to realize the value of parental monitoring tools like Mamabear—an iOS app that creates a streamlined connection between a parent and their child. Traditional parenting techniques, like having an open dialogue with your children, meeting their friends’ parents and knowing who their teachers and coaches are should never fall by the wayside, but as parents in the 21st century we also have a responsibility to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology. Mamabear attempts to make this adaptation just a little bit easier for you and your children.
You can download the app by searching for Mamabear in the App Store, or by clicking this link. The initial download and set up needs to take place on your iPhone (or iPad), not your child’s. The application will require you to set up a parent account and username/password for your child’s account. Next, you’ll want to download the app again, but this time on your child’s iPhone. As soon as you input their username and password, a link is created between the app on your iPhone and the app on theirs.
If you’ve disabled location tracking on their iPhone for geotagging purposes (kudos to you), know that you will need to turn it back on in order for Mamabear to work properly. That being said, however, you can still leave the Camera’s location services turned off. See the image below.
GPS Tracking –
The monitoring feature of Mamabear allows you to see where your child is at any given time by using the GPS tracker on their iPhone—the same technology that gives you turn-by-turn navigation on your typical smartphone. What’s really neat is you can set up alerts that let you know when your child has reached a specific location, or if they leave a specific location before a predetermined time. Aside from the tremendous safety advantages of this feature, setting alerts can be a great way to make sure your older teens aren’t playing hooky from school or soccer practice.
Though this feature worked really well during our testing, delivering real-time, accurate location alerts, we found ourselves wanting a way to set a radius around the designated address as a way to limit the number of alerts we were getting. As it stands, Mamabear sends you an alert every time your child ventures out of the exact designated address.
Facebook and Speeding Alerts (teens) –
If your teen uses Facebook, Mamabear can track their activity. Just like the GPS locator, you can set alerts for when they add new friends, use inappropriate language, and when their account shows signs of them being the target of bullying. This tool worked very well during our testing, making it one of the more impressive features of Mamabear.
As an added bonus, Mamabear utilizes the iPhone’s accelerometer to let you know if your teen is in a speeding car, which, by all means and purposes is a very useful feature, but kind of makes me question the intended audience of the app itself. Everything from design to functionality makes Mamabear seem like it’s targeted toward parents with younger children, making this feature seem like something they shoehorned in to attract a wider audience.
Emergency Contact Shortcuts –
The emergency features of Mamabear are less robust but no less functional. Mamabear displays three buttons on the child’s phone: “Come Get Me”, “Call for Help”, which sends an emergency alert to all guardians, and “Call Mama”, a phone call shortcut to mom. These three buttons are really the only thing your child has access to on their version of the Mamabear application; the rest of the features work quietly in the background on the parent’s side.
Configuring and using this part of the application is very easy, allowing even a panicked child to easily get the help and assistance they need as fast as possible. The phone numbers that are assigned to the buttons are setup when the application is initially downloaded on the parent’s phone, so no extra work is needed.
You can try Mamabear free for 30 days, so test it out for yourself to see if it’s right for your family!