Karen Cantwell, founder of TicTocTrack, with sons Hunter, 11, and Chase, 6
Karen Cantwell, founder of TicTocTrack, with sons Hunter, 11, and Chase, 6

App keeps track of where the kids really are

A BRISBANE mum has developed technology to make it easy for concerned parents to track their kids through a smart watch and an app.

The program is popular with parents of special needs and disabled kids, but is also being taken up by mums and dads concerned about the antics of their teenagers.

TicTocTrack uses a GPS and mobile phone technology to track kids, using a special smartwatch, which parents can monitor on an app. Parents can ring or text the smartwatch and are alerted when their child leaves a certain area.

Karen Cantwell started working on the technology in 2012, when her son started school. A $1 million Queensland Government grant in 2018 helped the mum-of-two launch the app, which now has 1500 subscribers.

Pullenvale mother Christina Penrose has been using the app to monitor her two sons, aged 11 and 12, for the past 16 months.

Isabella Mudford, 10, wears a TicTocTrack child tracker watch.
Isabella Mudford, 10, wears a TicTocTrack child tracker watch.

She said the technology gave her children more freedom, not less.

"My relationship with my children has improved," she said.

"I much prefer it to the option of providing my children with phones, as I know who can contact them and it doesn't provide a distraction."

The smartwatch software prevents kids from calling numbers not authorised by parents.

The Lutton family of the north Brisbane suburb of Kallangur, recently adopted the technology, which has been NDIS accredited, for daughter Bethany. Her mum, Jannine, said the SOS feature gave her peace of mind.

"Bethany has SWAN, syndrome without a name, which has elements of epilepsy and autism, so she often suffers seizures," she said.

"If she was to have a seizure and an ambulance was called, it gives them the opportunity to call me on the watch."

Ms Cantwell said the technology was potentially game-changing for disability care.

"To have the Queensland Government as an investor carries a lot of weight," she said.

Ms Cantwell, who hoped to use the grant money to push the invention into the US, said she founded the business with help from loved ones.

"I raised $150,000 from friends, family and colleagues who all took a punt on my idea in the early stages," she said.

"The idea came to me when my eldest son started school and I wanted him to be safe.

"Data security is something we take very seriously and we are currently undertaking a full third party audit of all our applications," Ms Cantwell said.