I just heard about Bluelight for iPhone via email and think it’s an interesting concept because it helps moms and dads sleep more soundly knowing their kids are home and safe. The app doesn’t tell parents where kids are, unless the kids don’t check in in the time they themselves have allotted in the app to get from Point A to Point B.
From their website:
Bluelight is a super simple way to stay safe, while maintaining privacy and independence.
Tell Bluelight how much time you need to get to your destination and designate a contact (a friend or family member from your address book). When you arrive at your destination, check in with Bluelight, and your contact won’t be bothered. If you don’t check in, Bluelight will send a text message or email to your contact with your most recent location (GPS coordinates plotted on a map). Your contact will then know to reach out to you to make sure everything is okay.
The insight here is that kids and young adults (think college students) don’t always want mom and dad to know exactly where they are and don’t necessarily want to make a call, but they are smart enough to know it would be good if someone knew where they were. Moms and dads mostly want to know everything is all right and can deal with the particulars later.
From their note to me:
As caring children who do not want our parents to worry, we wanted to create a tool that would help us maintain our independence but preserve our parents’ sanity. Betsy Huigens, a 20 year-old junior at DePaul University in Chicago, created the Bluelight concept. As a college freshman, Huigens wanted to feel safe when walking home at night, but did not want to compromise her newfound privacy and independence. Huigens says, “I noticed a lot of my friends would go out alone and not tell anyone where they were. With Bluelight, they now have a safe and easy back-up plan that allows them to live their life and take responsible risks.”
We know from experience that Bluelight makes a walk to the car after a long soccer practice or a trip to the mall feel more secure. To use Bluelight, users enter their travel time, say 15 minutes for the walk home. Next, they select someone, such as a parent or roommate, to be their contact. Then they set the alert and start walking. Once they arrive home, they simply cancel the alert and their contact is not bothered. However, if they do not cancel the alert, Bluelight will let their contact know their GPS location and route home.
My kids are 6 and 10 so not quite ready for Bluelight or an iPhone, but I can see the value of the idea. The creators say Bluelight was designed not to make money but to help keep people safe. For more information, visit http://www.bluelightapp.com or search for Bluelight in the iTunes App Store. Bluelight is free.