Parents: Halloween Safety Tips for Teens

October 23rd, 2015

That oh so scary time of year is here again with Halloween right around the corner! Costumes, haunted houses, parades, tricks and treats, course, parties are awaiting us and our loved ones. Let’s face it. Of all the age groups, teenagers probably love Halloween more than most. They especially love spending Halloween night out and about the town with their friends and peers – leaving parents worried about what dangers they may face on the most frightful night of the year. So parents, how do you better ensure your teens Halloween safety when you’re not around?

Fortunately for you, parents, there are discussions you can have with your teen and technologies you can invest in for your teen that can help keep them safety, track their whereabouts, and give you greater peace of mind throughout the night. Here are just a few tips to help ensure a fun and safe Halloween night:

Set a curfew – Give your teens a curfew and call-in times when they need to check in with you and give you an update. Making your teen accountable for where they are and what they are doing. Oh and be sure they carry a fully-charged smartphone!

Get friends contact information – Be sure to ask your teen who they are going out with – and get first and last name, phone number and parent’s phone number in case curfew rules are broken. Halloween can be chaotic holiday – so arm yourself with as much information as possible to protect your teen.

Establish boundaries – Set limits (city or town limits, zip codes, county lines, etc) to where your teens can and cannot go. Some neighborhoods may have high crime and/or trafficking rates, and should be avoided especially on a holiday like Halloween night.

Download personal security app – To ensure they abide by curfews and boundaries without being a nag, we recommend to parents to download a personal security app to their teen’s smartphone. With a SmartTek app such as that offered though LifeFone Family Guard™ , once downloaded to your phone and your teen’s phone, you are not only able track your teen’s location right from your cell phone, but also have added security knowing that a 24-7 professionally monitored call center is ready to assist you or your teen in case of an emergency or cause for concern.

LifeFone’s Family Guard™ not only allows you to monitor real-time locations of family members, but also comes equipped with a personal panic button. With one press of the button, your teen is connected to the LifeFone call center which staffed 24/7 by professional monitoring personnel, who are able to quickly pinpoint their location and respond accordingly – often more quickly and accurately than calling 9-1-1.

Family Guard™ is a subscription app that is easy to use, intuitive and offers immediate access to assistance if needed. Download LifeFone’s Family Guard™ App for FREE on iTunes and Google Play.

Wishing you and your teens a safe and happy Halloween!

Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents

October 6th, 2015

Believe it or not, real estate agents face many dangers in their profession. Private showings, listing appointments, hosting open houses, among others, are routine duties for a real estate agent and often involve one-on-one interaction with complete strangers. Crimes against realtors are referred to by a 2011 Realtor.org article as “crimes of opportunity”. They are targeted not only because of the valuable items they carry such as a cell phone, purse or wallet, but also because they drive up in a car and often show up alone.

Since you can’t assume that every client you meet with has the best intentions, real estate agents, especially women, need to be prepared to encounter the worst of the worst. Safety is key. Check out and share these safety tips for real estate agents that could help save a life:

BE INFORMED

Make sure to have all new clients or prospects complete an information form that includes the essentials like name, copy of driver’s license, vehicle information, etc. before scheduling a private showing. This way, you have all the information you need to file a complaint should that be needed.

BE AWARE

Before you meet your client for a private showing, take a drive through the neighborhood and look out for any potential hazards and/or people lurking around. Also, be sure to inspect the home prior to showing and identify the exits.

BE READY

Download a personal safety app to your smartphone that has a personal assistance button and GPS tracking. We recommend Mobile Alert™ and/or Family Guard™ by LifeFone, both of which are affordable, come with 24/7 professional monitoring, personalized user profiling and GPS tracking. Oh, and always keep your cell phone in your hand during a showing.

BE PREPARED

In the event that something bad does happen, you want to be prepared for the worst. Beef up your own protection with self defense classes and keep pepper spray on hand – best on a key chain.

BE AN UNATTRACTIVE TARGET

Leave your purse, jewelry – everything – but your cell phone and your car keys – in the trunk of your car. Place it in the trunk before you arrive to a showing or open house. Also, feel free to bring a friend, your dog, grandmother, and/or neighbor – with you. Criminals are less likely to attack if there are witnesses – or your dog is snarling.

Although these safety tips may seem a bit extreme, it is far better to be safe than sorry.

Why All College Students Need the Personal Protection Afforded by LifeFone Mobile Apps NOW

October 2nd, 2015

Not sure if you’ve heard but, there are two new apps on the block – LifeFone’s mobile personal security aka mPERS apps – that can come in EXTREMELY handy for any college student. Mobile Alert™ and Family Guard™ by LifeFone – once downloaded onto your smartphone, may look tiny and insignificant in comparison to sophisticated Facebook, sexy SnapChat, and thousands of other apps, but they pack serious power – the power of a 24/7 professionally monitored response center. That’s right. These apps act as a personal security system similar to a home alarm system but do so when you aren’t at home – they accompany you wherever your smartphone goes which we all know is everywhere YOU go. Bathroom, grocery store, blind date…you get the picture.

So, obviously, we could all use a security guard with us 24 hours a day, but certain age groups – like college students – really need to arm themselves with this added layer of protection and emergency response. College students face a plethora of stress points including, but not limited to, academia, financials, unfamiliar environments, shared living spaces, communal areas, new and old friends, new and old love interests, etc., and can find themselves susceptible to illness, depression, crime related incidents, safety-risks and more once they embark on their collegiate journey.

With the push of a single panic button on your smartphone, LifeFone Mobile Alert™ and Family Guard™ are able to bring help to a student’s exact GPS location – all without saying a word. Family Guard has an added feature that includes the ability to monitor, in real-time, locations for family members. Both apps have a 24/7 monitoring center and are equipped with unique profiles on users, that are able to not only ensure that a student’s needs and/or issues are met, but also help ensure their safety if faced with the following potentially harmful and life-threatening issues and/or situations:

Physical and/or Mental Illness: Illness, whether physical or mental, can be debilitating and downright difficult to manage. With LifeFone, for those suffering from pain and/or depression, help is just a button press away. Having profiles on file enables us to send the right help – fast – to prevent further injury and/or self harm.

Physical and/or Sexual Attack: Physical and sexual attacks can happen anywhere – especially on college campuses and at off-site houses and parties, and when drinking is involved. With one press of a personal assistance button, the victim can call for help – and the closest emergency response team can be deployed to their location.

Disappearance and/or Kidnapping: Unfortunately, abductions can also occur anywhere – and at anytime. Family Guard’s personal assistance button combined with the ability for family members to monitor real-time GPS locations can mean the difference between your loved one returning or not.

Stalking: If you have ever had that feeling of being watched, you know how unnerving and downright scary it can be. LifeFone’s 24/7 professionally monitored call center is on hand to help. That’s right. A Mobile Alert operator can stay on the line as a virtual escort, notify friends or family members if requested, and if necessary notify authorities to make the user is protected.

Have other reasons to add to the list?

6 Must-Have Apps for People with Disabilities

September 18th, 2015

If you have a family member who is disabled, you know how difficult life can be for both of you. The frustration of not always being able to help them, understand what they want, and protect them when you’re not around is immense. Luckily, there are technology tools in the form of apps out there that can help make life easier, safer and better for them and you. Here are a few of the more helpful must-have apps for people with disabilities and their family members.

Communication

Talkitt assists those who have speech disorders, such as individuals with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke victims. The app helps translate words that sound incomprehensible into something that can be understood. The people communicating will be able to use their own voice as well – the app recognizes the individual’s speech vocal patterns and thus translates it. Talkitt works in every language.

Avaz allows those who cannot speak to use pictures to depict what they want. For instance, a nonverbal autistic child can use symbols and voice synthesis to tell parents they are hungry. There is even a keyboard to help the child to eventually use text to communicate.

Assisting deaf and hearing impaired individuals, RogerVoice converts voice to text for phone calls. In other words, subtitles are created on the receiving end of the hearing impaired so they can respond accordingly.

Safety, Security and Independence

With the push of a personal assistance button, the Mobile Alert™ by LifeFone app powered by SmartTek is able to bring help to a disabled user’s exact GPS location – all without saying a word. The app is connected to a 24/7 monitoring center where the user’s individualized profile with medical and emergency contact information is on file to ensure that their unique needs are met– the FIRST time. This is particularly helpful for those who have difficulty communicating due to a mental, physical or medical condition. The monitoring center uses the individual’s profile and contacts care givers or First Responders as the situation dictates.

Helping those that are blind as well as visually impaired, Be My Eyes helps make the connection with sighted volunteers. These volunteers help via a direct video connection with tasks such as reading certain things or navigating around an area. Volunteers are notified after the afflicted person enters a request for assistance and are on hand to ensure the task or action is done correctly and without harm to the user.

Also provided by LifeFone and powered by SmartTek, FamilyGuard™ provides all the benefits of Mobile Alert™ – a personal assistance button that you can assign to you or a family member’s smartphone plus the ability to monitor in real-time locations for family members. The tracking feature is particularly helpful in extending the independence of family members who may have memory or communications issues.

School Safety Tips

September 8th, 2015

Let’s face it – school is terrifying in more ways than one. As you drop your child off day after day, nervous thoughts race through your mind, aside from whether or not your kid will make friends. These thoughts are normal as it seems as though violence has only increased throughout schools as well as the country. Here are a few school safety tips to keep your child safe and give you more piece of mind.

TEST SCHOOL SECURITY MEASURES

It sounds extreme and a bit silly, but ensuring that your child will be safe at school is a must. The establishment does not need metal detectors per se, but are there guards around? Is just about anyone allowed to walk in the building or through the halls? Do a test and see if you are stopped when you walk in, or asked to verify your identity. This will help ensure your child and others are safe from strangers and potential threats during their time on premises.

ESTABLISH A KNOWN MEETING SPOT

Even if your child does or does not have a cell phone, its good practice to establish a known meeting spot to pick them up on a regular basis. When you drop your child off back to school, show them a nearby location to meet you if there is trouble and they cannot go back to the school. Granted, be sure to tell them that they can’t just leave during class, but at least if things are chaotic during an emergency situation, you know where to find them and they know where to find you.

MEMORIZE, MEMORIZE, MEMORIZE

In addition to memorizing a meeting spot, be sure your child memorizes your cell phone number, address and a ‘safety word” now – regardless of if they are in school or not…have a cell phone or don’t have a cell phone. This way, they will always have a way to reach you, tell a teacher or police officer where they live, and in the case that they have to be picked up by someone else, they will only go with parent-approved adults that know the “safety word”. Also be sure the school has your number as well as a backup number, just in case. Times tables aren’t the only thing you child must learn to memorize!

GET SECURITY ON THEIR PHONE (IF THEY HAVE ONE)

If your child has a cell phone, download a personal security app like Mobile Alert™ and Family Guard™ by LifeFone that can get them help at the touch of a button. With sometimes thousands of kids at a school on any given day, it’s tough for administrators and teachers to pay attention to everyone. This is especially crucial if you’re child say has a peanut allergy or suffers from asthma attacks or seizures. Ensuring they can get the medical help they need regardless of if an adult is present or not – could mean the difference between life and death for your child. These apps can send help to your child at the touch of a button – with access to exact medical information that you provide to ensure they receive the right help – the first time.

Trusted mobile personal security technology will help ensure the safety of individuals and their most precious belongings. Learn more on LifeFone’s app website at http://www.lifefone.com/apps.

What is Mobile Personal Security? And Why Do I Need It?

August 31st, 2015

So, maybe you’ve heard the term mobile personal security, aka mPERS, flying around, but what does it mean and why should you have it? Well, it means exactly what it says – personal security that extends outside the home – and accompanies you on the go! New technology such as LifeFone Mobile Alert™ is making it possible for anyone to carry their own personal security system via an application (app) on their smartphone. Yes! You heard, right! Mobile personal security applications are growing in popularity as more smartphone users, and there are 250 million of us out there, are installing and arming themselves with this valuable tool to use in any emergency.

The overall number of crimes, accidents and situations that risk personal safety in the U.S. is staggering. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes committed nationwide in 2013 and of that an estimated 345,031 were robbery-related. Obtaining rapid response times to these situations can be the difference between life or death.

So how can your smartphone combined with this type of application help save your life?

While it may sometimes be difficult to call 911 with your phone in a precarious situation or extreme circumstance, a user of a mobile personal security app can, with one touch of a button, send out GPS detailed coordinates of their location to a professionally monitored call center. This “help or panic” button has proven to be a faster route to medics, firefighters and police officers than calling 911! Some apps even have the ability to send out notifications to emergency contacts registered by the user, provide call center professionals with additional and secure personal and medical information and provide two-way communications if necessary.

LifeFone Mobile Alert™ app comes with a user-defined panic plan that is initiated with one touch of a virtual button on a smartphone. With Mobile Alert, if a user presses the button and the user is in distress or even senses danger, can’t speak or needs medical attention, a signal will be sent to trained professional monitors who will send the closest available response team to that user according to the Google enabled GPS coordinates on their smartphone.

This is a revolutionary development in personal security and because the system uses Google maps, it is often far more accurate than calling 911. Until now, we have only looked to protect ourselves in our homes by installing security systems or in our cars with On Star and other systems – because there was no cost-effective and reliable option for security outside the home. Mobile personal security apps like ours have changed that for the better and provide a personal “On Star” system anywhere there is cell service.

As a mobile society constantly on the move and with security concerns rising, it’s important to be armed with added protection and fast avenues to assistance when faced with scary or life-threatening situations. Especially in times of crisis, our smartphone is usually the closest thing we can reach to for help, making it the perfect tool for security. And, what’s better than your personal security reliant on the one item you have with you virtually all the time – your smartphone. It’s not only smart – it could save your life.

For more information on LifeFone’s mPERS app features and how to get reliable personal security right on your smartphone, visit http://www.lifefone.com/apps.