If you have a teenager in your home then you probably can’t remember the last time you saw them without a smartphone glued to their hand. Here’s an opportunity to show you’re “down with the kids”, and really do care, by suggesting 10 of the Best Free Apps to make your Teen’s life easier. You might even get a smile and if you’re really lucky, a thank you!
While mobile phones are often seen as a “negative limb appendage” for teens, a recent survey in The Telegraph suggests that 50% of teenagers are more confident expressing themselves over text or social media than in traditional face-to-face conversation, and 75% feel that having a mobile phone helps them feel closer to their mums and dads. Almost all of the teenagers also said they felt safer leaving the house with their mobile.
So, there are positives to this smartphone addiction! But why not make sure the apps they are using are worthwhile, and can also save you and them money?
Let’s face it, teenagers are messy. There’s going to come a time when they’re going to lose that phone in that excuse of a bedroom or leave it a party. These apps can help them keep tabs on their Phone at all times, be they iPhones or Android phones.
If they do happen to misplace their phone, the Find My iPhone app will let them use another iOS device to locate it on a map, play a sound to retrieve, remotely lock it or erase all data.
If they do happen to break it altogether, remember there are companies, such as LoveFone, that can help with repairs!
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Ideal for teenagers who are travelling, staying with friends or starting university, AroundMe highlights the nearest services and businesses around your local area such as restaurants, supermarkets, cash machines and hotels. Once you’ve found something you like, this handy app will also give you directions to get there.
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According to This is Money, 42% of parents with children between the ages of 16 and 24 pay for their mobile bills. Every parent will be looking for ways to save costs on their phone bill where possible.
Get your teen to download Whatsapp, which works using Wi-Fi and offers a free alternative to SMS. You can also send photo messages for free and chat as part of a group message, which is perfect for planning a group night out or staying in touch with family back home.
NB: There this a recommended 16+ age limit for Whatsapp.
Viber is another similar option to Whatsapp, with recommended age of 13+yrs. As with Whatsapp, the risk is being able to talk to strangers.
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4. Mobile banking
The majority of banks now have a mobile banking app available on app stores, so no matter which bank your teen has an account with, they’ll always be able to check their money on the go. With mobile banking, they can keep tabs on their balance, transfer money and pay bills, so you don’t have to worry about it (until you get a phone call to say they’ve run out of money anyway)!
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The All Recipes app allows you to find the best tips, recipes and reviews, all in one place, so it’s the perfect app if your teen is away from home at university, or if you are just trying to get them to develop their cookery skills, before they fly the coop. Let them show off their new found love of cooking while you put your feet up!
It’s expensive enough for a phone contract nowadays, and you don’t want them going over their monthly data allowance or using up their credit unnecessarily, because they can’t find any internet. Free wi-fi is everywhere now, you just have to know how to look for it and that’s where this app comes in, as it looks for you.
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Although there is usually a map feature pre-installed on most smart phones, I think Google maps is by far the best way to find your way around new places. The street view and voice guided navigation makes it difficult for even the clumsiest teenager to get lost.
Drop box is the best way for you to transfer data from a mobile device to a computer/laptop. It could be anything from lecture notes, to a film or phone pictures. To make it even better, Dropbox is completely free and really easy to use. All you have to do is dump the files you want in a folder on your computer and you can access them on a phone and even download them for offline viewing.
We all know how difficult it is to remember passwords and how much of a nightmare it is if you do forget a password. It’s even worse for teenagers, as they have thousands more apps and passwords to remember! So why not put them all in one place behind a safe wall that only they can enter – 1Password keeps everything safe.
Teeneragers do love their music, especially when it’s free! This internet radio app is great for discovering new music/artists. Your teen can create their own personalised music stations that will only play music they love, with an option to create up to 100 personalised stations on free version.
Over to you! Tell us any apps you would recommend for teens in comments below.