MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — School lets out and students hit the road. A moment of freedom for the kids — and a moment of panic for parents.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever done as a parent is give them the keys to the car and let them drive,” said Ericka Heid. “Honestly, the hardest thing.”
That’s why she’s glad she has a new iPhone app that lets her track her son’s driving, through his own phone.
“This just seems to work,” she said, “because he’s always got his phone with him anyway.”
It’s the brainchild of Nathan Ooley, president of the iPhone Group. He has a 16-year-old driver of his own — and a bright idea.
It’s called SIPS, for Safety and Information Protection System.
If the child has a smart phone, and they’re paying a data plan, he says, “for $10, the parent can have piece of mind.”
Here’s how it works. The parent downloads an app for free and a different app on the kid’s phone for $9.99. Then it’s time to set up boundaries for how far and fast the kid can drive. And if the kid breaks them, the parent’s phone is notified.
“What happens is once they go outside the boundary or are speeding, the parent keeps getting alerts,” he said. “So it’s not just one alert, it’s multiple alerts until the child has come back into the area.”
Unlike other trackers, there’s nothing attached to the car. This app tracks the phone instead, and parents get instant notifications, instead of checking a website.
“What difference does it make if they did it an hour ago?” he said. “As a parent, I want to know if my child is speeding right now. I can actually see that, give her a call, and ask her what is the reason?”
And what about kids who complain about being tracked by big brother? Or in this case, big mother and father?
“If I give her the car keys and I give her a $500 device,” he said, “why wouldn’t she respect me and give me that piece of mind as a parent?”
Right now, the app only works from iPhone to iPhone or Android to Android. But they’ll introduce an upgrade in about a month that lets it work between types of smart phones.
To learn more about the apps, visit http://itrackmychild.com/