One of the most common requests that I get from clients has to do with being able to keep an eye on their kids, without invading their privacy…too much.
This is one of those areas where the security professional in me, is at odds with the dad that I am. At odds, but not against…
As a security professional, one of the cornerstones that we rely on is confidentiality. It’s important, for security reasons, that your information be held private. As a dad, I value my kids privacy as well.
In the security world we have the phrase “need to know” that governs the level of security access anyone has, to any given piece of information. You’re only allow access to that in which you need to know, in order to conduct your job.
This applies to us as parents too. As my kids grow, there is less that I need to know about their every move. As they develop their various life skills, and demonstrate competence in managing those skills, we are able to delegate those responsibilities to them. That alleviates our need to know.
I say all of that, to say that you don’t need to feel bad about keeping an eye on your kids. It’s your job, and it’s for their safety. But, you also can do this at varying degree’s so that you can continue to help them develop into responsible adults with sound judgement.
So, where does smart home automation come into all of this? Well, there are a lot of various smart phone apps and gadgets, out there that will help you keep tabs on your kids, and your home has a huge role in this.
Apps like Life360 will not only allow you to track where every member in your family is, but it also allows you to monitor and restrict things that your kids do on their phones and tablets. Meanwhile Google Maps has the ability to just give you live information on the location only, of each member. So, if all you need to know is where they are at, Google Maps is a good choice.
With each of these apps comes a feature called “geofencing” in which you can set up locations on the map, that will notify you when somebody enters or leaves (or both), that area. Geofencing also is a powerful tool in triggering home automations as well. Opening your garage door for you, as you approach your house, for example. Or, turning on the front camera when the school bus enters the neighborhood.
There are also a lot of GPS fobs out there that you can attach to a bookbag or a belt loop, or drop in their pocket.
Inside the house, a parent can use very in expensive contact sensors to place on kids windows. You’ll be notified anytime that window is opened. It’s also easy to pair that with a siren.
Worried that your toddler might let himself out of his bedroom at night? Slap a sensor on their door that only turn on after bedtime. Or, say you want them to get up and use the potty but not wander around the house. This is where an inexpensive motion sensor comes into play.
What about that baby gate? Did you leave it open? Did you close it? It’s all the way up stairs and you’re tired. A simple contact sensor on the gate will tell you all that you need to know.
A lot of camera systems out there now come with facial recognition and these will tell you when child A is home, and when child B gets home.
Keeping track of your kids at every age, is the responsibility of every parent. As a dad, I know the sickening feeling when your teenager is not reachable. I also know that moment of pride when I can check in on my kid and see that he’s a better kid than I ever was!
Smart Home Automation can be a huge asset to parents both when you’re home and when you’re not. As one of our former Presidents so famously put it, “Trust, but verify.” Your kids safety depends on it.