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Best Apps & Devices for Back-to-School Safety

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As students prepare to head back to school, safety is a top priority. This time of year, parents must now juggle sports and carpooling and maybe even teen drivers heading to school and various activities. Add to that homework, which can include screen time. How can parents keep their kids safe?

Thankfully, advancements in technology have led to the development of numerous apps and devices that can enhance safety measures in educational settings and at home. From communication tools to tracking devices, these innovations provide peace of mind.

Here are our top apps and devices for back-to-school safety:

1. Digital Safety Tools

In the digital age, online safety is just as important as physical safety. These apps help monitor students' online activities and communications for signs of cyberbullying, self-harm, or other potentially harmful behavior.

  • Bark. This app monitors texts, social media, and other apps. It sends parents alerts when there is a potential issue. Parents can also set filters and screen time limits.
  • Gaggle. Geared towards school districts, this online monitoring service notifies users of potential issues, such as cyberbullying, mental health indicators, and more.
  • Net Nanny. This app helps parents to protect kids from inappropriate content through filtering and monitoring, and parents can also set limits.
  • Canopy. Parents can filter out inappropriate content on their kid’s smartphone, schedule breaks from screen time, and know if their kid has left home or school.
  • MMGuardian. This parental control app watches texts, allows parents to lock their child’s phone, and a lot more.
  • Screen Time. Supervises all of a kid’s devices by managing screen time, blocking apps, and more.
  • Qustodio. This parental monitoring app helps parents protect their kids’ wellbeing through filtering, monitoring, locating, etc.
A young woman driving a car.

2. Teen Drivers

  • Life360. This app tracks a teen’s driving habits, including driving speeds as well as location notifications. For example, parents can set a location to be “school,” and the app will let you know when they arrive or leave campus.
Yellow school bus parked near trees.

3. School Bus Tracking Apps

These student tracking apps give real-time updates on a student’s school bus location. This gives parents peace of mind knowing that their child is accounted for, and it also helps them make sure they’re ready for pick-up and drop-off times.

  • SafeStop. Parents should contact their child’s school to ensure they use this service. If so, they can connect via the app, which is a real-time map bus monitor.
  • Here Comes the Bus. Parents should contact their child’s school to ensure they use this service. This app connects with GPS-enabled school buses to track their location.
Apple AirTag wearable device to help track kids during the school year.

4. Wearable Safety Devices

Wearable devices equipped with GPS and other tracking capabilities have become increasingly popular for ensuring student safety.

  • AngelSense. The wearable GPS tracker or GPS watch are aimed at helping parents of children with special needs keep them safe.
  • GizmoWatch. Children can wear this Verizon device on their wrist like a watch, but it acts like a phone (call and text limited numbers) and GPS tracker. It allows parents to monitor their child's location, set safe zones, and even listen in on their surroundings.
  • AirTag. This key-chain type device from Apple is a location tracker.
woman unboxing cove system with kids

5. Home Security Devices

  • Cove. Even with all the hours students spend at school, the majority of their time is spent at home. Parents can make it safe with a home security system from Cove. Take the quiz to customize it depending on your home. A typical system includes outdoor cameras, doorbell camera, window and door sensors, glass break detector, and a touchscreen alarm panel. Parents can give their kids their own code for arming and disarming the system. Another home safety device from Cove is the Key Fob, which your child can carry with them and use to arm or disarm the system with the press of a button.
School teacher communicating with students sitting at desks.

6. School Communication Apps

Effective communication between parents, teachers, and school administrators is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of students. Check which apps your child’s school, teacher, and/or coach uses the communicate.

  • Remind. Many schools around the country use this app to communicate with parents. It’s like a group text, but better.
  • ClassDojo. Schools use this to send the latest on school events or even emergencies to parents' smartphones.
  • Bloomz. This all-in-one app combines messaging with attendance management, forms and permission slips, appointments and calendars.
  • Parentvue/Studentvue. These apps help parents and students keep track of schedules, assignments, attendance, and more.
Young school student using a device with apps for homework.

7. Mental Health Apps

There is a lot that parents can do to focus on their child’s physical safety; however, they should also be sure to watch for emotional safety. These mental health apps can help bring balance and peace to students who may be feeling anxious and stressed.

  • Calm. This app guides users through meditation and other techniques for better sleep and overall calm.
  • Headspace. Learn to be more mindful with thoughts and feelings with this app.

Parents can’t be everywhere. Thankfully, there is technology out there to help them keep children safe at school, at home, and anywhere in between. Using these apps and/or devices can help keep more eyes and ears on what’s going on so children can stay safe. Parents, be sure to check with your child’s school to see which apps they use, then follow their instructions so you can connect with them on the app.

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