There is no love like that of a parent for their child. As parents, we will give anything to keep our children safe and protected. We build homes in the right neighborhoods, buy phones so we’re always in touch, get GPS watches for our little ones and regularly monitor their social network. There is an innate responsibility we feel to ensure their safety.
However, most of us only get one chance to be a parent and therefore are often learning “under fire” as to the right and wrong things we can do to care for our children. As with most parenting activities, the rules are not the same now as in day’s past.
At the core level, there are certain things we can do to ensure our families stay safe. Below are five products or actions you can use to improve the safety of your family.
- Lock The Doors: I know this sounds cliche, but before bed each night ensure your doors are locked and your garage doors are closed. Little ones may unlock a door to check on the dog before bed and forget to re-lock it. Remember when closing the garage doors to watch them until they fully close to ensure they don’t encounter an obstruction, leaving you exposed all night long.
- Link the Lights: Study after study has proven that keeping lights on in and outside your home significantly decreases the likelihood of a break-in. Whether you are home, leverage light and motion sensors to automatically turn on your outside lights at night or when someone is walking around your home. This can also make it easier to know when your teenager comes home late and tries to sneak in the side door.
- Add a Security System: You should add a security system to your home, but not for the reason you may think: break-in prevention. In the Treasure Valley, home break-ins are few and far between, especially if you take simple precautions (see previous two bullets). The real value of a security system is in the information it can provide when you are home, not just when you are away. Even the least expensive systems can notify you when a door is left open, when a door is open or closed outside of certain hours, or give you a reminder about an open window before leaving for vacation. The more advanced security systems can automatically trigger events such as turning lights on or off, and advise you before entering the home if the alarm was triggered while you were away.
- Add ‘Smarts’: There are numerous options on the market right now to add intelligence to your home. However, there are products that can be added in just a few minutes that bring simplicity to your home. Motorized locks automatically lock the door after a certain amount of time, ensuring your home is always secure. The more advanced locks are controlled from your phone and give you history and battery information. Liftmaster’s MyQ garage door openers easily link to your WiFi network, giving you full control and tracking of your garage doors. These can make it easy to open or close your garage door even when you are not home. The more advanced systems have a feature called ‘Mockupancy’ that can trigger lights and music while you’re away, giving any suspecting eyes the impression you never left.
- Add a Nanny: No, I am not referring to the physical one. With the growth of technology in the hands of our children, it is important to protect them from not only physical threats but electronic ones. Software such as NetNanny allows you to quickly filter the electronic content your children can see on a computer, phone or tablet, and send you a weekly report of websites visited and blocked. With integrated filtering based on age, today’s Nanny software can easily adapt as the children in your home grow.
Remember that the items you focus on are the ones that are likely to succeed. Spend a few minutes to evaluate and update your home, ensuring it is a safe place for your family.
Eric Crawford is the President and Owner of The Loop Technologies located in Boise, ID. He is a certified technology instructor, Control4 level III certified programmer, and carries more than 15 years of experience in technology, installation, and programming. He also is a nationwide guest speaker on business and technology and its impact in your home. He can be reached at Eric@TheLoopBoise.com.