You know what they say about parenting: It's the hardest job you'll ever love. Of course, you might love it a little more if it weren't so flippin' hard all the time. So let's hear it for all the iPhone apps designed to make parents' lives a little easier.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such apps in the Store, but I've rounded up five that I consider essential--starting with one that can make injuries and illnesses a little less scary (for you, anyway):
1. Kid Care Your toddler is running a fever of 103. Should you call your pediatrician? Head for the hospital? Wait it out? Kid Care offers medical advice for dozens of common symptoms--everything from bee stings to headaches to wheezing. Based on proven clinical protocols, the app provides symptom definitions and images, care advice, medicine dosage information, and helpful reading material such as "Fever--Myth Vs. Facts." There's also a handy dial-your-doctor button and a location-aware emergency-services finder. My only wish is that I'd had this incredible app at my fingertips when my kids were younger. Amazingly, it's free.
2. Tales2Go A new favorite in our house--make that our car--Tales2Go streams on-demand audiobooks for kids. The collection now exceeds 1,000 titles, including such well-known series as "American Girl," "The Boxcar Children," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and "Junie B. Jones." The app is free, as is a 30-day trial of the service. After that, you pay $24.99 for a year of unlimited listening. As someone who's spent that much on a single audiobook CD, I consider that the bargain of the century.… Read more
Make sure there are no kids in the room if you plan on trying out the Chatroulette video chat service. While I was able to have a couple of very nice conversations with fully clothed polite individuals, I saw some things I would rather have avoided as I tested this relatively new service.
When you first enter the site you'll see two large black boxes and a blank area for text chat. As soon as you click "play," you'll see a stranger's picture in the top box and--at least on my machine--a notice asking if … Read more
YouTube has been coming under fire from parents who think some of the content on the popular Web site is unsuitable for their kids.
So, CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports exclusively, starting today, YouTube is adding parental controls, enabling parents to block kids from viewing videos flagged as inappropriate for young teens.
Type in the word "sex" on YouTube, and you'll get millions of hits, Wallace points out, including countless provocative and violent videos.
Read more of "YouTube adding parental controls" at CBSNews.com.
Security suite vendor McAfee debuts its 2010 product line today, introducing an overhauled interface and new features in a bid to remain competitive. The change to its interface is as dramatic a shift as the one that Avast introduced in its 2010 suites, although McAfee's look is drastically different from any major security program currently on the market. Most of the features in McAfee AntiVirus Plus, McAfee Internet Security, and McAfee Total Protection are not new, but the presentation is so radical that the improvements are likely to be glossed over. Users of older McAfee should note that VirusScan … Read more
Some of you might remember Harry Chapin's delightful ditty to parent/child relationships, titled "Cat's in the Cradle." It was all about a child being neglected by his father. He then grows up and neglects him.
Might I bring you, therefore, a modern day tale of a Chapin? This Chapin--Tess is her name--has parents who don't seem to neglect her. However, she has decided to offer a potty-mouthed pout at their discipline in the world's largest whining arena: Facebook.According to The New York Times, 15-year-old Tess Chapin was grounded by her parents for … Read more
Taser International, the company that makes Taser guns to help law enforcement subdue unruly suspects, now has a product aimed at children. At CES, the company announced the Protector Family Safety Program--a series of products designed to help parents monitor and control what their kids are doing with their phones.
Lets parents listen in Protector goes further than most parental control products in that it doesn't just provide a summary of activity--such as the incoming and outgoing numbers of people the kids call or text--but allows parents to listen to actual calls and read text messages.
Depending on … Read more
Created in the Uchiyama Lab at Japan's University of Tsukuba, Yotaro is meant to be a baby simulator for teaching new parents and about-to-be-older-siblings the ways of babyhood. As crying is obviously a big part of infancy, warm water comes out of a small opening in the interactive screen that doubles as Yotaro's touch-sensitive face.
Yotaro, just a concept for now, is not a standalone robot, as a rather extensive set of devices must be … Read more
Parents' jobs are extremely difficult. From time to time, it's nice to get a little help from technology to make the job just a little easier. That's why I decided to sift through Apple's App Store to find applications that help parents monitor and ensure the safety and well-being of their kids. Some of the apps listed below are for young children, while others are designed for teenagers. But in the end, this roundup is for any parent with an iPhone.Get parenting help from the iPhone Baby Monitor Since some baby monitors don't have the kind of range parents hope for, the Baby Monitor iPhone app will deliver.
Baby Monitor provides a relatively simple experience. You can place the iPhone next to the baby while the application is open. You'll also need to input a phone number. When the baby starts making noise, the Baby Monitor places a call to the number you input into the application, so you can listen from another phone. It's a great way to monitor what your baby is doing, but beware that it costs $4.99.Baby Soothe Sometimes getting your child to go to sleep can be a difficult task. That's where Baby Soothe comes in.
Like Baby Monitor, you'll need to put the iPhone next to the baby for it to work properly. When you do so, you can pick from several different sounds that, according to the app's developer, will help your baby go to sleep. You can choose from relaxing water sounds, like a waterfall or rain. You can also choose a heartbeat option, which mimics the sound babies will hear in the womb. The app also features white noise, like fans and static. All the app's audio features high-quality sound that should appeal to most babies. Even better, it's affordable at just $0.99.… Read more
Straight from the No-Brainer Department comes a list of games that parents should not buy their children this holiday season. The New York Times has republished a collection of 10 titles deemed totally uncool for kids to play by the media watchdog group Common Sense Media.
While we're all for educating parents about the naughty video games their children want to play, we can't help but slap our foreheads at how obvious some of them are. Besides, all a responsible parent needs to do is stray away from the big fat "Rated M for Mature" logo on the box art of such titles.
We wouldn't disagree with any title on the list, but some of the suggested alternatives for these titles are a bit suspect. For example, replacing Modern Warfare 2 with Battlefield: Bad Company only brings the blood level down a bit--the war combat and violence are still present in Bad Company. We absolutely loved Uncharted 2, but there's plenty of gunplay and headshots in the T-rated blockbuster as well.
Ideally, we'd love to see parents become more involved in their child's gaming habits. The only way to make sure a game is right for the younger ones is to have Mom or Dad sit in on a few sessions.Click over for the full Common Sense Media list of unfriendly titles along with their alternatives.… Read more