Apps for a safer generation

Laguna Niguel-based company builds smartphone apps to prevent bullying, help parents and children keep track of each other.

October 27, 2011|By Alisha Gomez, Special to the Coastline Pilot
  • Laguna Niguel-based Iconosys Inc. developed apps called Trick or Tracker and Word Bully.
Laguna Niguel-based Iconosys Inc. developed apps called… (Coastline Pilot )

The man behind Laguna Niguel-based Iconosys Inc. is a big proponent of safety.

So much so that when Chief Executive Wayne Irving II's daughter turned 15 a few years ago and asked about a driver's permit, Irving freaked out at the idea of his daughter texting and driving.

"I called my buddy, a technology guy, and I said, 'Can we build an app that auto answers the phone while somebody's driving?'" he said. "... And he was like, 'Yeah, we could do that.'"

The two started poking around to see if such an app already existed; they found nothing. So Irving decided they should build it.

About 60 shareholders and $1 million in capital later, Drive Reply, Iconosys' first smartphone app, launched in late 2009.

That led to the development of Trick or Tracker, the company's biggest and most popular app.

"It tethers [parent] and child together," Irving said. "Not just so parents can find their kid, but so the kid can find [his or her] parents."


Giving a child that sense of security was important to Irving, especially with the anxiety kids can have in such situations.

Plus, most kids have cell phones these days, he said.

Once downloaded to a phone, Trick or Tracker uses Guards Up, Latchkey Kid and Tether Together apps, which are installed on both the parent's and child's phones. Parents can find their kids whenever they want or set up intervals to check in on them, using a GPS service to track them.

There's the "where's my child?" button for parents to find their kid, or children can use the "where am I?," "send location" or "where's my parent?" buttons if they are lost.

The Latchkey Kid technology informs parents when their child returns home, which the company calls a handy tool for Halloween. Guards Up lets a parent know if the child is outside a specific geographical area.

Trick or Tracker has been featured on major shows like "Good Morning America" and the "Today" show.

Safety apps are the focus of Iconosys, which in September launched another app, Word Bully, to help stop cyberbullying by filtering for some 3,600 keywords, phrases and emoticons in text messages on a smartphone.

Bullying messages can be forwarded and used as proof in a case of bullying. The bully or messages from the bully can also be blocked, and parents can monitor or be alerted when a message contains bullying language.

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