Easiest way to communicate with a teenager

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by jlstewartcharte, Oct 22, 2009.

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  1. jlstewartcharte macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009

    My son has a ipod touch and no cell phone.
    I am trying to find a way to be able to communicate with him while he is at school

    Hi school has several areas with wifi.

    I'd like to send him a message (voice or text) and have him be able to receive a message alert when he moves into the wifi area.

    Anybody have any good ideas/applications?

  2. jmann macrumors 604


    Dec 8, 2007
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    Do you have an iPod touch or iPhone? If so you might be able to use something like Ping!.
  3. ckd macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2009
    Consider using AIM; the free version should suffice. If he signs on and then sets it to send push notifications when a message comes in, and to "stay signed on for 24 hours", the iPod should pop up a notification dialog when he gets into WiFi range.
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Lots of high schools ban this sort of stuff; many will not allow a phone in the classroom. Before you get into the technical side of it, find out if it is acceptable policy at the school; if it is against the rules and your teenager violates it, suspension is possible.
  5. STEVESKI07 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Why not just use email? If he creates a Yahoo mail account then it will automatically push to his account whenever he receives a message.
  6. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Yes. Either Yahoo, MobileMe, or G-Mail. (But you have to set up G-Mail like this for it to work: (http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252)

    With any of those, make sure that 'push' is turned on in the mail settings on the iPhone.

    Then make sure your son knows to look at the e-mail icon for red badges showing new e-mail. With Push on the messages will come through in less than a minute.

    There won't be a blue pop-up window like some other methods, but I think using e-mail is the most reliable method assuming he knows to look at the e-mail icon.

    Let's look at AIM, as an example. It stays logged in for 24 hours after you use it. So if you IM him every day it will always stay logged in...great!

    But on Monday morning you'll be unable to reach him sometimes if he forgets to log back into AIM every single Monday morning. Certainly that's going to happen from time to time.

    That's what I mean by saying e-mail is more 'reliable.' It just has fewer things that can go wrong.
  7. jlstewartcharte thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Thanks all that replied.
    There are some great ideas here to try.

    But before I do, I did want to make a couple comments.
    Yes, you are right that the school does not let you use a phone/ipod in certain areas. However, in his school, they do allow it in the cafe and a couple of other common areas.

    So to add to my requirements.... teenagers being teenagers... I'd like it to be as error proof as possible. That being said, I'm not sure the AIM and email route is the way to go. I am thinking of a "pop-up" message on his screen that he has to hit ok to bypass to go to any application. I have this on my AP News and it works pretty good.

    How about beejive or Palringo?
    Are there betters apps for free?

    Appreciate your help,
  8. Pika macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2008
  9. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009

    How about leaving your teenaged child alone while he's at school?

    This is a completely ridiculous thread. You're not supposed to have constant access to your child's attention when they're going to school.

    If you REALLY have to do this, you should just get him a skype account and a pair of headphones that has a mic built in. These range in price but at least you won't have to buy a cell phone plan like a normal, sane person would. With skype + iPod touch, you can place and receive phone calls over VOIP.

    Also, SMS apps are a dime a dozen on the app store.
  10. jlstewartcharte thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009

    Can you use SMS between 2 Touch's?
    I thought you could only use it with a cell phone connection?

    Thanks for your help!
  11. spazma7ik macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2009
  12. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009
    yeah i had one that did it on my touch but it got wiped one day when I upgraded to 3.0 through the developer program while it was in beta, and I never really had enough of a need to bother putting back on.

    I also have an iphone though, with plenty of texts. If I didn't, then skype and sms apps for the win. The free sms ones let you send a set number a day unless you buy it, which I don't think is expensive either way. People can reply to you and you can get the messages pushed. Pretty cool.
  13. Mr. Gates macrumors 68020

    Mr. Gates

    Jun 17, 2009
    --Redmond --------- ----------------Washington---
    +1 I totally agree, that was my thought right away, but then I scrolled down and you beat me to the punch.
  14. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    Ok I'll pose this question more politely than others, because I really am curious: What gives you a need to talk to your son during school often enough to warrant finding a reliable constant method?

    I think email makes the most sense too, in terms of reliability. The only downside is that it won't give you popup messages, as someone else said.

    What forms of communication does he already typically use? If he already uses AIM, for instance, then that one does make the most sense. He probably is already logged in constantly, and is familiar with it, and probably has it on his Touch. (Assuming he does use it already.)

  15. LaundryCzar macrumors newbie


    Aug 28, 2008
    Answer to why

    First, I am amazed at the rude attitude of some. This is supposed to be a place where someone can turn for helpful answers to a problem, not a place where they run the risk of being mocked for their problem.
    That is completely counter to the spirit of these boards.

    However, since the question was asked, I'll answer.
    I have two teenagers and I often need to speak to them during the day or get messages either to them or from them. Their schedules can change from day to day or hour to hour as game times are updated or activities rearranged. That in turn can affect who or how they are being picked up. Sometimes even where they are being picked up.
    Typical teenagers today have flexible schedules so pickup plans must be flexible.
    Further, my wife and I have schedules that fluctuate sometimes. Sometimes we are late. At our kid's high school, you pick up in different places depending on the time or the sport. If you are coordinating between families it gets even more complicated.
    And before you suggest just calling the school and telling them to leave a message, let me assure you that in our school of 700, that would be laughable. Teachers and administrators don't have time to track down every kid whose parents are running late.
    These examples just relate to pick up. There are countless other situations where parents need to communicate.
    It isn't about being controlling or stripping a child of freedom. Its the opposite. With reliable access, my child, has the freedom to change plans and be free to choose what he wants to do. If we couldn't communicate, my kid would always have to be ready to go at the time I was expected. The reverse too. If my plans get screwed up, why get the message to my kid so they can go hang out with their friends or get a different ride, rather than sit bored waiting on the front steps?
  16. Mr. Gates macrumors 68020

    Mr. Gates

    Jun 17, 2009
    --Redmond --------- ----------------Washington---
    Perhaps the people against this idea have there own valid points too, but I guess you would rather not see that point of view. At any rate, proper planning is one of the thing you are supposed to learn in school. Not anymore, Mommy will take care of everything. And if something goes wrong , I no longer have to figure it out for myself, Mommy will rescue from a simple mundane problem. Great pattern for a developing mind.
  17. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Textfree. I use it all the time for SMS send/receive. It uses Push notifications so once you move into a WiFi hotspot, the message will automatically be downloaded and appear as a little text box on the lock or home screen.

    Plus, there's a free version that limits the number of messages you can send/receive.
  18. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    Thanks for answering my question :)

    Yeah I'd definitely go with email then. Your son shouldn't have a problem remembering to check/send email if he knows it's necessary, and it's definitely the most reliable.

    Oh and I would just ignore people being rude. Some people just have a more... straightforward disposition, and some people have just had a bad day.

  19. LaundryCzar macrumors newbie


    Aug 28, 2008
    On the contrary

    Mr. Gates:
    On the contrary. I am happy to see and hear what others have to say.
    1. You are correct. Some parents micromanage the children's lives.
    2. You are correct. Some kids would resent any kind of intereference or participation in their lives by their parents.
    3. Good time management skills are important. Learning to plan is important.

    1. Not all contact between parents and children is interference. Sometimes it is the opposite.
    2. Not all kids have an antagonistic relationship with their parents. I would guess most have it at some point but that doesn't mean it lasts.
    3. Plans change. Perhaps that hasn't happened to you, but it has happened to most everyone. A change of plans does not equate to poor planning or lack of time management skills. Sometimes a change in plans is just that, a change. Plans need to be flexible. People need to be flexible. Schedules need to be flexible.
    By having contact with my kids, I am able to be flexible and allow them to change.
    Believe it or not, having contact might actually allow a teenager to solve a problem rather than need to be rescued by Mommy from a mundane problem.

    LiptonLover: I realize that by answering again I have fallen to the same level and I should ignore it, but I am having trouble. I am just amazed at how the anonymous nature of boards like this bring out the worst in people as opposed to the best. Someone posted a question looking for help, essentially extending a hand, and they were slapped for it.
    That isn't right.
    Its wrong whether it happens here on on the street.
    Furthermore, it gives this community a bad name and reputation. We are supposed to supporting each other.
  20. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2004
    I have a friend who is a HS teacher and discussed this. Please simply email the front desk of the school (all schools have email now) for this. They will pass the note to your child.

    If it truly is an emergency, they will pull your kid out of class and notify them.

    There's just no reason to have a cell phone go off in the middle of the class. All cell phones seem to have really noisy vibrators so "silent mode" is no better.

    If you absolutely do not want to tell the front desk, then tell your child to turn off the phone during the day, and then turn it on at lunch.
  21. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    @jlstewartcharte I think your best options are:

    - Email (with Push): If you want something free Gmail now supports push. There's also Yahoo Mail although I remember people complaining that it wasn't very reliable, I don't know if it's better now.

    - There's also a few iPhone to iPhone (or iPod Touch in your case) messaging apps that work well like Ping and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is free for the time being.

    - Textfree: as mentioned above

    - An IM app like AIM

    The IM apps have the disadvantage that they eventually log you out. TextFree is a good option but if you don't need to send SMS to cell phones I would just go with WhatsApp or Ping. I used Ping and it works really well but you could try WhatsApp first since it's free at the moment.

    EDIT: Apparently WhatsApp doesn't work on the iPod Touch. Ping works well though.

    Did you even read the original post? His kids don't have phones, they have an iPod Touch. He wants to know how he can send them messages that they'll receive when they enter a wi-fi area.
  22. Mr. Gates macrumors 68020

    Mr. Gates

    Jun 17, 2009
    --Redmond --------- ----------------Washington---
    Different strokes for different folks. As for me , I have a great relationship with both my parents. You shouldn't be so quick to Bash MacRumors . I have nothing personal against the thread starter, but the question was posed in a way that included a situation which I and others have an opinion about. I often give good advise an topics when I have some and after all this IS a discussion board. So if you want to get on your high horse and cry about the injustice of others having different opinions, ..well that's O.K. too! But seriously, is this Really as big of a deal as you are making it out to be?
  23. LaundryCzar macrumors newbie


    Aug 28, 2008
    Apologies all around

    Mr. Gates:
    I'll give you the last word on this, I promise. I think we can both agree that our discussion has nothing to do with the topic at hand and I'm willing to bet everyone else is getting as bored with this as you and I are.
    I think I may have proven the point I'm about to make, accidently. The problem with these bards and all forms of printed communication is that they lack any way to accurately demonstrate tone and emotion.
    Perhaps unintentionally, your response to the original post was sarcastic and demeaning. At least I thought it was and I was amazed that someone could post a legitimate question here and receive such an answer that spoke not to the problem or question but to their chosen life style or family dynamic. The question was legitimate, but the answer in my opinion was rude.
    Quite possibly accidental and for making such an assumption, I hang my head in shame. Perhaps you meant the remarks as a light hearted jest.
    Furthermore, you must have accidently misunderstood my tone. I never intended to bash macrumors' forums. Quite the opposite. I have seen and learned quite a bit here, despite using apple computers since before there were macs. (Yes, even Lisa..yes, I'm old) It was that spirit of collegial support and commraderie that has kept me coming back again and again. Your post was the first I had ever seen that violated that spirit and I was actually speaking in defense of these esteemed boards.
    Please also note that I never intended to suggest that this was not the place for different opinions to be discussed. If that was the way it came across, then I have further need to hang my head in shame. Oh, no. This is the ideal place to debate all mac related issues. I just don't think that your post was related to a mac issue. To me it seemed more like a slam at a person's choice in life management for their family. Yes, we all have different opinions about such things and such diversity is to be celebrated. However, your tone was not one of interest or gentle curiosity as LiptonLover's was. It was the opposite and that made me think the opposite of you: that you were not open to debate or the discussion of differing ideas. Clearly, I was mistaken and for that I apologize.

    Now, is this a big deal? No. What sparked my reaction was the tone I perceived, which you have clearly shown to me was not one of sarcasm.

    I apologize to you Mr. Gates for misunderstanding your spirit or kindness. I apologize to everyone else for bashing macrumors.

    Now, Mr. Gates, lets show everyone that we can agree that we are lucky to have access to such a group, that we agree that differences of opinion are what make the board helpful, and that we are both interested foremost in being supportive of everyone who looks to these boards for help.

    Please consider my hand extended to you in friendship.
  24. jlstewartcharte thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Thanks to all that provided applications to try.
    I appreciate your help.

    We have installed Ping and will be giving that a try.

    Sorry to the rest.
    My intention was not to get into an ethical debate.
    (Sometimes parents need to "ping" kids to let them know they will be a little late)
  25. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Laundryczar: I just want to say that threads involving parenting choices here on MR are always a bad dream. Why people think that your question is an open invitation to discuss that aspect I dunno. There have been a number that get cleaned up and locked even because of it. Let parents parent, we need more of that these days it appears. Especially sharing the, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all" message.

    To everyone: how about you pretend it was an "adult" with random wifi the OP needed to contact? Had he not used the dreaded teenager word you would have given suggestions without parenting advice.

    To the OP: I'm happy you found something to try. I hope it works out great and please let us know. I myself have random wifi during the day.

    For myself: I made it multiple days without saying anything about the typical MR posters and their inability to not parent long distance.
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