House Keys for the Kids…When Your Children are Ready reports that according to the U.S. census, one third of all school-age children in the United States are, for some part of the week, latchkey kids—that is, they go home to an empty house or apartment. The total number may be between five and seven million children between five and 13 years old. (I say five is just way too young.) Anyway, the Census Bureau found that 15 percent were home alone before school, 76 percent after school.

Whether due to necessity or because providing a 12-year-old house keys frees up a parent to run errands, the day will come when the decision to hand over the keys arises.

Parents are (mostly) the best judge of their child’s character and can disseminate when their kids are ready to be on their own and hand over the house keys. My parents, like many others, worked when I was a young teen and didn’t have many options for child care, so I got the keys at 14. And, like many kids, I promptly abused that privilege by having boatloads of kids over to the house.

Today, with technology at our fingertips, it has become much easier for a parent to monitor their child’s comings and goings with various mobile applications, security cameras and GPS devices.

Another advancement in technology is keyless door locks with a programmable touch pad. So latchkey kids become “touch-pad” kids! Ha!

Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt is also enabled to work with Nexia Home Intelligence, a home automation system that allows you to control locks, thermostats, lights, cameras and more from wherever you and the internet happen to be. Lock or unlock your door from anywhere with your cell phone, or schedule lock codes to be active only on certain days at specific times. You can also receive text alerts when an alarm triggers or when specific codes provided to your kids are entered at the lock.

Once a parent comes to the conclusion it is necessary to provide keys to a kid, it might now be a good time to consider ditching the keys and handing over the passcode!

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussinghome security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.