Instead of collecting dust, you could turn your old smartphone into a security camera or a baby monitor. You could even use it to check on your pets.

Ellie Hirsch, a Tampa parenting expert and founder of, agreed to help us test it out for her family.

The first step is to connect your old phone to Wi-Fi. Then on both phones download one of the free home security apps. We chose Presence. Next, place the old phone where you want it to record. It works whether you’re home or away. You could choose the settings to alert you when there’s motion. You could also just peek in.

“If you could use something that's old and actually create a camera connection with your new phone. I think that's really cool,” Hirsch said.

Another cool feature of using your phone is that there's audio. So you could talk to your pets or you could tell a burglar to get out of your house.

Hirsch said it would also be great to use while her boys are in another room to check-in on them doing homework or playing.

“It's not just a security system. It's a mommy must have,” Hirsch said.

Ian Robinson from Privacy Electronics said you need to keep your old phone plugged in. If it has a bad battery it might not work and he said the app will use up some of your data plan.

“It's an option but there are certain setbacks, and as long as you're willing to accept those setbacks you're good to go,” Robinson said.

Robinson said they offer many different kinds of hidden surveillance cameras. They start at around $300. For a look at these options, click here.

Here are some other free home security apps:

For iPhone: Alfred, Presence, WardenCam, AtHome Camera
For Android: Presence, Alfred, Video Monitor, iSecurity, Nest, Ivideon, WardenCam