Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Keeping An Eye On Your Kid

Recently, my son took a week long trip to Florida with his Orchestra classmates as part of a program arranged by his Orchestra Directors.  While my wife and I have often chosen to chaperone such events, this time we sat it out and gave our son some space.

That doesn't mean we weren't able to keep an "eye" on him.  We were able to follow his journey by using technology enabled on his smart phone.  You see, he recently bought a smart phone, an iPhone.  We had him enable Find My iPhone on the iPhone.  Doing so allowed us to log in to iCloud.com and trace his steps using the web based app Find My iPhone.

This app will look for a wireless signal from his phone and show the location of the device on a map. You can see an example of a map showing his location below.

Several asked if our son knew we were "spying" on him. Yes, he was aware were watching his progress. Not spying, but staying involved with the trip from a distance.  We are quite familiar with the Disney Parks and it was fun to "see" where he was and be able to talk or text with him about the particular ride or attraction he was going to ride.  The first time we "saw" where he was in a park, we texted him and asked if he was on a boat.  He responded with a yes as he was on a riverboat in the Magic Kingdom.  The Find My iPhone app had him smack dab in the middle of a lake.  Wow!

While this was a nice way to keep in touch with him and follow his journey, the Find My iPhone feature has some other nice benefits.  If you take a look at the the bottom of the image above, you can actually do three things to the phone once you have found the phone's signal.

Play Sound
Let's say you have misplaced your iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch, you can choose Play Sound to have the device play a signal to help you locate it.

Lost Mode
If you have lost your device, you can enable a lock code on the device that a user must enter to be able to use it.  You can also send a message to the device stating that it has been lost and if found, please call a posted number.

Erase iPhone (iPad, iPod Touch)
In the worst case scenario, you can remotely erase all the content from the device. I hope you never have to hit this button!

Enable Find My iPhone
Enabling Find My iPhone on your device is easy.  Simply go to Settings / iCloud and scroll down to Find My iPhone. Tap to switch to On.  That's it! You can now track your iPhone online.

Tracking Your iPhone
To track your phone online, simply go to the website: www.icloud.com. When prompted, enter your Apple ID and Password.

Then, click on Find My iPhone.

In the upper left corner of the screen, click on Devices to see a list of devices registered to that Apple ID.  The software does the rest.  When you see a green dot next to a device, it indicates that the device has been found.

Click on the device to see a map of its location.

I encourage you to enable this feature on all of your devices.  The benefits can be quite satisfying.

Dave Tchozewski
Director of Information Technology
Jenison Public Schools

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