App helps parents track children

Life360 app shows real-time locations, emergencies, more

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With students heading back to school, schedules can get hectic and make it difficult for parents to manage day-to-day activities.

If parents want to keep track of their children and make sure they're safe -- there's an app for that.

It's called Life360. It's been available for several years now, but new upgrades have made it a popular app for more than 50 million users.

The app is free, but users can access premium features for about $8 a month.

When the app opens, it shows a map locating all of the people in the user's circle. Users have to add members of their family who also have the app, using a private code, and can set up home, work and school locations on the map.

After a few simple setup steps, users will be able to locate everyone in their circle in real time.

The display is very detailed, showing the exact location, keeping a record of how long the user was there and logging the user's last location.

Users can also request a check-in from a family member.

If a user is in a car or driving, Life360 has a great feature that will show when the user is in a moving vehicle and what the top speed is.

What many parents love is that the app will also show any phone activity while the vehicle is moving, to let them know if their children are talking or maybe texting while driving.

Life360 made an agreement in 2013 with BMW, integrating location services with navigation in BMW vehicles.

There's a new feature that allows phones to detect when people are involved in a crash and automatically contacts 911 or people on the user's emergency contact list.

The app also shows the battery life of each device.

The No. 1 question parents ask is whether it's safe.

Life360 uses bank-level encryption and military-grade security protocols verified by VeriSign, which is an independent internet security company.

Life360 is available on iOS, Android and Windows devices, and it's free.

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