An app for peace of mind

When you’re a parent — and you’re away from your kid a lot — it’s not easy to turn off your phone. What if there’s an emergency and your child really needs you?

On the other hand, research shows that an always-on mentality isn’t healthy.

Will you really gain all the benefits of that massage, yoga class or date night if you’ve got one eye turned toward your lock-screen notifications? 

And what about business meetings in which you need to be 100 percent focused or when you’re at the doctor’s office?

Well, a Minnesota mother of four — Susie Melnick of Edina — has created a new app designed to allow parents, caregivers and employees to put down their phones and be more present in their lives — without neglecting their responsibilities.

Susan Melnick

The StatusNow app allows users to customize real-time information about their availability for family, friends, coworkers, teachers or anyone who might need to reach them during the day. 

Users first set up private preferred contacts. They then create customized statuses, made easy with seamless calendar integration. 

When connections check the app, they can see the messages assigned for that time frame, such as: “I’m in a meeting until 5 p.m. If this is urgent, please call the front desk at 123-456-7890,” or “Please contact my child’s grandparents at 123-456-7890 if there’s an emergency.”

The only tricky part of StatusNow is that preferred contacts must also download
the app and create their own profiles before they can use it to check statuses (and vice versa). Fortunately, StatusNow provides templated introductory explainer text, plus downloadable introductory forms for schools and employers.

“I felt an obligation to be available via phone 24/7,” Melnick said on “There was a constant worry, if my phone’s ringer wasn’t on or if it wasn’t in my hand, that I’d miss a critical call. I look at my son who will soon be getting his first phone. I don’t want him living with his phone in his face. This is my desire — that StatusNow helps you stay connected when you disconnect.”

The app is free for a limited time via Google Play and the Apple Store.