It can be unsettling for a parent or guardian when a child is late coming home from school or misses an after-school activity. TSprint launches a location-based service, Sprint Family Locator by WaveMarket Inc., that can help give parents peace of mind. Sprint is the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer a consumer-focused LBS application that enables a parent to use a phone or PC to pinpoint the location of a child on a map along with the address, surrounding landmarks, and accuracy of the information within a specified radius.
"Sprint Family Locator is a valuable tool that can help parents and guardians have a better sense of their children's whereabouts when they're apart," said Danny Bowman, vice president of product marketing for Sprint. "This is the latest Sprint innovation that uses GPS technology to improve the way families connect, communicate and locate one another."
Sprint Family Locator has a host of privacy and security features:
* Permissions: To activate the service, parents and guardians can list up to four phone numbers they want to locate. For additional security, the parent creates a safety word that the parent and child both use only during the registration process to ensure permissions have been granted by both parties. Parents can also give permission to others, such as a grandparent or nanny, to locate a child.
* Locate: When a parent or guardian requests the child's location, Sprint Family Locator uses GPS technology to pinpoint the location and display it on an interactive map, along with the street address and surrounding landmarks, on the parent's or guardian's phone or PC. The child is notified by a text message each time his or her location is provided to the parent or guardian, ensuring open communication.
* Contact: Once the child is located, the parent or guardian can immediately call or send a text message to the child's phone.
* Safety check: The parents or guardian can set alerts to notify them when the child arrives at a specified location, such as a school, home or a relative's house at a designated time. For example, a parent or guardian can be notified whether a child has arrived at school by 8:15 a.m. each day.
* Reports: Information on recent location requests is provided in text and map form.
Following are a few tips adapted from NCMEC's Knowing My Rules for Safety to help parents and guardians practice safety measures every day:
* Always check with your parents or guardians before going anywhere, getting into a vehicle, or leaving with anyone
* Take a friend when going places or playing outside
* Say "no" and get away from any situation that makes you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, and remember to tell your parents or a trusted adult if something like this happens
Sprint Family Locator is available for download on 17 phone models and can be used to locate 30 GPS-enabled phone models on the Nationwide Sprint PCS Network and the Nextel National Network. For $9.99/month, subscribers can register up to four phones to locate, get unlimited location requests and send 100 text messages to each child phone.