3 Vigilent Apps to Help Keep Your Family Safe

Here are some digital tools to protect your brood.

By David Isaac

Back in the day (assuming the day was in 1776), all you needed to protect your loved ones was a flintlock musket. But nowadays, you're not just guarding the front door—you're fighting a multifront war in which anything could happen anywhere. Digital tools can help in your daily struggle by keeping tabs on your loved ones, alerting you when they're in trouble, and monitoring their behavior to keep them from endangering themselves. By employing the right combination of apps, you can spread a protective cocoon over your family. Here are three apps that should ensure that your flintlock stays mounted over the fireplace.


The great thing about bSafe is that it's proactive system designed to build safety into normal situations, so that they don't turn abnormal. And if things go awry, someone will know about it right away. Are you on a date that's going south? Activate the Fake Call feature to ring in an hour with a fake emergency: "Your cat's stuck up a tree? I'll be right there!"

Are you walking home late at night and feeling nervous? The Follow Me feature asks selected friends to virtually walk you home via a live GPS tracking feature.

The app also provides an SOS button that you can click to alert your friends when you are in danger. It can trigger an alarm, record voice and video, and broadcast your location; in addition, it notifies a Guardian, a primary contact that you select in advance in case of emergency. That person will receive both a text and a call. The app is free, so why not download it to all the phones in your family and use all its features to protect yourself, your spouse, and your children? Actress Jada Pinkett Smith liked the app so much that she invested in  it—though in her role on the TV show Gotham, she's more a character you'd need the app to protect against!

Versions of bSafe for both Android and iOS devices are available.

TrueMotion Family

TrueMotion Family is a driver safety app that's particularly useful if you have a teenager who has just gotten behind the wheel. With this app, you can see where everyone is and how well they're driving. Every driver in the family gets a driving grade on a scale where a perfect score is 100. If your teen texts, speeds, or tailgates, TrueMotion will know and subtract points. The app even measures hard braking and harsh acceleration.

But the idea isn't to hand out failing grades. The goal is to help drivers (including, maybe, you) learn from their mistakes, understand what they've been doing poorly and improve their performance.  As their TrueMotion grade goes up, they'll have a concrete way to measure their improvement.

TrueMotion Family is free and is availbale for Android and iOS devices. The app was formerly known as Canary.


Sometimes kids are their own worst enemy. They've got their ears and eyes glued to their smartphones most of the day. What are they doing? Who are they talking to? For some families, the most satisfactory way to answer those questions is by means of detailed digital surveillance. That's where mSpy comes in. This app offers numerous features for monitoring your family's online activities. It keeps track of emails, text messages, social network activity, WhatsApp, Skype, even keystrokes. You can also view photos and images on a tracked phone. And if the phone gets lost, you can remotely block or erase it.

Currently, mSpy is offering its premium package (normally $70/month) for a special price of $16.67/month if you sign on for a 12-month subscription.

Photo credits: bSafe, TrueMotion, mSpy.