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Use tech for child safety

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The festive season is finally here, as are the school holidays. As everyone is preparing to go away, it is important to prepare and take some precautions to ensure your children’s safety during this time. One way of ensuring your child’s safety is to use location based services such as Cellfind.

According to Missing Children SA (MCSA) they definitely see an increase in cases of missing children reported to their organisation over the festive season. There are a few tips parents can follow during the festive season to monitor their children and ensure their safety at all times.

If your child has a cellphone you can use technology services from Cellfind on this device as lifeline in an emergency.

Location Based Services (LBS) available through the cellular networks allow parents to track their children’s location in real time. Such services use cellular towers to locate a person’s position using their cellphones. Finding out where someone is, is as simple as sending a query from your own cellphone by SMS, USSD, WAP or visiting a Website from any Internet-enabled device. Depending on which service you are using and which handset you are carrying, you will receive a text message with your child’s location or a visual map sent by MMS. Such services need no additional software and can be accessed from any phone and are available for an affordable monthly fee. Privacy is guaranteed and you cannot be located without providing your explicit consent. Used in this manner, LBS can allow older children and teenagers to enjoy some independence while parents can rest easy knowing that they can find their sons and daughters. Examples of these services include Vodacom look 4 me and MTN WhereRU from Cellfind.

An alternative service such as Vodacom look 4 help and MTN 2MyAid can allow the child to send a preselected distress SMS to four emergency contacts alerting them that he or she is in trouble. The SMS will contain information about the child’s location. Guardme is another service linked to the panic button allowing you to set-up an alert that triggers after a certain amount of time. Such an alert can be used to watch over yourself while you in a potential dangerous area. This service can be activated or deactivated by dialling a simple USSD dialstring (example *120*888*.444#).

More basic child safety tips for parents during the festive season include:

* Decide on a pre-arranged meeting place in a busy shopping mall or beach

Let your child know that this is where you will meet them should you lose them in a crowd or busy shopping mall.

* Always keep a recent photo of your child on you

In case of an emergency when your child goes missing, you’ll have the photograph readily available.

* Teach your children their own names and addresses

They also need to know your name and address details.

* Teach your children to never trust strangers

Children should never receive gifts from strangers or agree to go anywhere with them.

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