Posted: Aug 22, 2013 11:00 AM
 
Although 58 percent of American teens between the ages 13 and 17 now have smartphones, it doesn't mean your teenager should have free reign with these digital gadgets. From safety and monitoring apps to apps that ban the ability to text while driving, discover cell phone-restricting apps every teen should have.

Teen monitoring app

Try^ ZoeMob Family Locator/Call Tracker

ZoeMob Family Locator appFor those looking for an app that lets you easily monitor your family's activities via phone or PC, the ZoeMob Family Locator family tracker app (free) lets you know where your teen is at all times and more. Although setting up initially through your phone isn't as easy as others, adding users and adjusting settings from your computer make it more appealing than some of the other phone-only monitoring apps. You can set up alerts to be notified when your teen exceeds a certain speed limit, goes beyond the "geofence" you've designated and even wipe the phone remotely if it's lost or stolen. This app also lets you monitor your teen's call log and messages now, with photo and video monitoring promised soon. Although some alerts were sent to me inaccurately, overall it's seems like a good app for parents to install on their teenager's phone.

Auto check-in app

Try^Life360

Life360 appOne of my favorite family check-in apps by far, the Life360 Family Locator app (free) makes family communication a piece of cake while giving you the ability to restrict your teen from deleting it. You can set up alerts for auto check-in — up to two locations included in the free version — such as when your teen arrives at school without the need to rely on your child to check in on her own. However, your teen can "check in" with you, too, sending out a time and a location that includes a map, or you can send out requests for her to check in. But, you can always peek in on your teenager, too, when this app is installed on your young adult's phone, but most importantly, the same technology will help you track your teenager's phone when it's lost or stolen as well — a win-win for every parent and teen! However, the only downside I can find is that you must monitor via your own phone and can't access through a desktop dashboard.

Hands-free iPhone app

Try^Vokul

Vokul appWhile it's not hard to love Siri, the Vokul app ($3) does all Siri does and more with this hands-free voice control app for your teen's iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Although apps that restrict texting while driving are ideal, sometimes the need to send a text, email or make a call without letting go of the wheel are essential. But, it's also the ability to DJ music and listen to social media posts without losing focus on the road thanks to the easy-to-use "always listening" technology that make this a favorite on my list, making accidents resulting from teens messing with the radio a thing of the past.

No texting while driving app

Try^AT&T DriveMode

AT&T DriveMode appAT&T DriveMode (free) for any AT&T Android or BlackBerry phone lets your teen customize an auto-reply message for calls, texts and emails when traveling at more than 25 miles per hour. Relatively easy to set up and use, the app is part of AT&T's campaign for teens and adults to stay focused on the road. However, what I love most about this app is that unlike most other "no texting while driving" apps, AT&T's DriveMode app lets you select up to five contact numbers that you can send and receive calls to and from, such as roadside assistance or Mom and Dad. It also limits your teen's phone usage to one navigation app and one music app while the safe driving app is running.

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