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An App to Curb Distracted Driving

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Teens overwhelmingly disapprove of this app, which makes parents like it all the more. Canary is an app designed to keep teens and young adults safer by discouraging talking or texting while driving, providing a a digital fence of approved travel areas, and other precautions to give parents peace of mind.

Here’s how the app works:  Parents and their children both download the app to their smart phones, and parents set social parameters. Then, the app uses acceleration and GPS technology to monitor the teen’s behavior and transmit the information back to the parent. For example, Canary will let parents know:

  • Is the phone being used to make a call while your teen is driving (or even in a moving car)?
  • Is the phone being used to read or answer a text while your teen is driving?
  • Is your teen traveling places you’ve told him/her not to go?
  • Is your teen out past curfew?
  • Is your teen in a car driving faster than the speed limit?

The app does NOT disable the phone, but it does log the date, time, and location where the above actions take place. Parents can receive messages via the app on their own phone and by email, with complete details of their teen’s activities (including a list of call volumes, locations, and driving speeds). Canary also informs the parent if the teen disabled the app. So basically, the app gives teens no privacy for activities that could be dangerous, or which go against a parent’s rules.

The cost is relatively inexpensive:  The app is free for a 7-day trial. After that time, there is a 1-time charge of $14.99 for a Lifetime Subscription, which covers up to 10 phones.

With distracted driving being cited as the cause of more and more accidents–especially among teens and young adults–Canary has the potential to be a lifesaver. It has only been available for about 7 months, so its actual benefit cannot yet be measured, but for parents who want to keep digital eyes on what their teens are doing, Canary may be worth a look.

To learn more–including information about which phones are compatible with the app–click here: The Canary Project

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