With more smartphones in the hands of teens and parents, the ability to find peace of mind that your teen is safe has never been easier and costs virtually nothing. Magnify Apps, a Sioux Falls app development company, highlighted some of those free apps that are effective at keeping your teen, or you, safe.

Zach Bauer, President of Magnify Apps and a father himself, highlighted free apps like Life360, a free family locator app that allows the user to see, in real time, where their family is. The app also allows save emergency contacts in case of emergencies such as the police, fire fighters or mom and dad. He also highlighted other free apps like Rave Guardian and SafeTrek; SafeTrek is an app that the user creates a profile as well as a 4 digit pin then simply holds an area down until they are safe. If their thumb breaks the connection or the pin entered is invalid, police are immediately notified. The first month of SafeTrek is free, then a small free of $2.99 is charged.

However, whether it's a small fee or free, Zach Bauer, a father and President of Magnify Apps, an app development company in Sioux Falls, says that, in addition to teaching kids and teens stranger danger, running from strangers, etc., teaching them to use their phones as a safety device too is important..

"Communicate that same things that we grew up on, who you talk to, where you go... stranger danger... all those things. But also now knowing that, the day and age we live in, we have to implement technology as a part of that and using it, in a way, to really bring safety," Bauer says. He also says that, since the apps are either free or cost very little, it gives him a peace of mind.

"As a parent, as a father, something that's comforting and easy. To know I can download a free app that's there when it's needed, whether I use it everyday or never, knowing the peace of mind that it's available... easily to grab, easy to use."

While not an app, Samsung Galaxy S5, S6 and S7 all come with their own, built in, safety feature called Safety Assistance. By either going to Privacy and Safety or Quick Safety, phone owners can turn on SOS Messaging.

Once enabled, and in case of emergency contacts are created, all the owner has to do is click the power button 3 times. Once that happens, the contacts are sent a proximate GPS location, a brief voice recording as well as a photo from both the front and the back camera.

If you are ever in an emergency, you're first line of defense should always be to call 9-1-1. The apps highlighted below by Zach Bauer are not designed to replace police or first responders but offer another way to stay safe.

  1. SafeTrek, the safety app in which the user holds a button until they are safe. Once safe, they put in their 4 digit pin. If incorrect or contact with the phone is broken, police are notified. Cost to download is free for both Apple and Android users for the first month, a $2.99 charge a month is then added to continue service.
  2. Life360, a safety app that allows the user to create "circles" of either friends or family where they can chat, see in real time where other users are as well as get alerts if users have left a pre-created zone. The app is free to download for both Apple and Android users however, there are in app subscriptions users can opt to buy for more features.
  3. Rave Guardian, a safety app that allows the users to create a profile either their personal as well as medical information to share to others they determine as "Guardians". Other Guardians can view where the user is and the user can have the option to not only call 9-1-1 but also, if on a participating campus, real time chat with campus safety officials. The app is free for both Apple and Android users.
  4. bSafe, a safety app in which the user creates a profile as well as contacts that can view their personal information like where they are in real time. The app also allows the user to create a timer for how long it should take to get from one place to another. It also allows the users to ask others to watch them, via GPS tracking, get from one point to another. It's free for both Apple and Android users.

In addition to the listed apps, Zach Bauer, President of Magnify Apps, created a blog highlighting a few more safety apps available to download. You can find that blog post and more about Magnify Apps here.