High-tech Halloween tips to help keep your trick-or-treaters safe

With almost everyone carrying smartphones today, it’s become easier than ever for parents to keep tabs on their little goblins.

Smartphones now provide more than just the ability to call and check in on your child’s location. Kelly Sterling of Crime Watch partner AT&T wants parents to be aware of other ways they can use their wireless devices — and their kids’— to have a safe and fun Halloween.


Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

▪ Pre-program ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers into your child’s speed dial on their cellphone, such as your number, a neighbor and the police station. Make sure your child knows how to use their device in case of an emergency, such as how to call 911 and provide their location, landmarks, etc. to the 911 operator.

▪ Make sure your children’s cellphones are fully charged before they leave the house.

▪ Use the alarm clock on your child’s device to give them periodic reminders to text or call home along their route, or to remind them when it’s time to head home. Make sure the volume on the device is at its highest so the child can hear it in a crowd.

▪ Create a wireless “Trick-or-Treat” patrol for your neighborhood. Have various parents stationed along your community’s trick-or-treat route and have them text one another when they kids have reached certain points and are heading home. The patrol is a great way for adults to monitor Halloween activities in their neighborhood, as well.

With all the safety apps available at your fingertips today, peace-of-mind is just a download or click away. For example:

▪ Download a free flashlight app so your child’s device can be used for easy navigation along dark streets.

▪ Download the RedPanic Button app to your child’s device for extra peace-of-mind. The free version of this app allows trick-or-treaters the option to press the Red Panic Button to automatically send out a text message with their exact coordinates on Google Maps to family members. Panic can also be shared on Facebook or Twitter.

▪ Track your trick-or-treater with a location-based service, like AT&T FamilyMap, which lets you track the location of your child’s device on an interactive map from your smartphone, PC or tablet.

▪ Use a Sex Offender Search app to see if there are any registered sex offenders living along your child’s trick-or-treat route. Simply activate your smartphone’s GPS and connect to the National Sex Offender Registry to locate registered sex offenders and predators in the area. You can search by name, address, and zip code, and results will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on a location for more details, such as pictures, names, addresses, and a list of offenses. The app is free.