Location tracking apps and devices have been popping up all over the place. And they can help parents keep a virtual eye on wandering kids, teenagers who might want to bend the rules a bit, children with special needs, and offer peace of mind to parents. It’s another layer of technology that could be beneficial for you and your child(ren). Is it right for you? That is definitely a personal decision. Our goal is to provide options and information on this type of technology.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
Before we dig into the location tracking options available, there are a few things that we strongly recommend that you keep in mind:
- Location Tracking Should Not Be A Secret: If you decide to proceed with a form of location tracking, we recommend discussing this with your child(ren). Let them know your reasons for selecting an app or device, and how you plan to use it.
- Avoid Constantly Checking: Location tracking is meant to provide you with peace of mind, avoid checking it constantly. The continuous checking to know where someone is, will have the opposite effect.
- Continue To Communicate: Location tracking is not replacing communication. It is still important to have conversations with your child(ren) on where they are going, when they are coming home, and who they are going to be with.
- Location Tracking Isn’t Forever: Eventually, you’ll need to “cut the cord” and remove the app or device.
- Balance Freedom And Safety: A big part of growing up is understanding freedom and learning to make good choices. Location tracking should not get in the way of children learning to keep track of when they need to be home or knowing where they are on their own.
Location Tracking Options: Apps
TrueMotion offers a free app that provides information on where your child is, along with details on how they got there and how they were driving. The app has a Family option, enabling all family members to participate. It can track everyone. You can turn off location tracking within the app.
Google Family Link (Free)
Google Family Link is an app that can provide GPS tracking if the “location” is turned on within the app on your child’s phone. GPS tracking is real-time, depending on cell service and if the phone is on.
Find My Kids (Free)
The Find My Kids app can be installed on a GPS smartwatch or on a smartphone. The app provides real-time location tracking, the ability to set up unauthorized areas, monitoring of your child’s activity, and recording your child’s surroundings (Android only).
FamiSafe ($9.99 per month – $59.99 per year)
The FamiSafe app offers location tracking for families. The app includes real-time location tracking, setting up boundaries (geofencing), and additional features outside of location tracking. Download the app on your device, as well as your child’s device.
Location Tracking Options: Wearables
AngelSense ($79.00, plus a subscription plan ranging from $33.33 per month – $52.99 per month, depending on how you pay)
AngelSense was designed specifically for children with sensory needs. The device can attach to clothes, backpacks, pockets, etc. The device offers all-day monitoring, live location tracking maps, and detailed timelines for each day. The device also includes the ability for 2-way and 1-way voice calls and an SOS call request button.
GizmoWatch ($99.99, plus a $35 one-time activation fee)
The GizmoWatch is a kid-friendly smartwatch that includes a GPS locator, along with other smartwatch features. It also includes the ability to set up to 10 contacts that kids can call or text. Location tracking is real-time and connects to the Gizmo Hub app on the parent’s smartphone. There is also the ability to set boundaries and receive alerts if your child exceeds them.
Jiobit ($129.99, plus a subscription fee of $8.99 – $14.99 depending on the contract selected)
The Jiobit is a small device that can be clipped onto clothing, shoes, or a backpack (there are accessories allowing other ways to wear it). The GPS tracker offers live reporting and location history. The locator pairs with your phone through their app to provide real-time tracking information. You can add places you trust like home and school, and there is an option to be notified when child leaves the set trusted places.
Location Tracking Options: Driving
MOTOsafety ($69.99 – $79.99 each)
MOTOsafety is a GPS tracking device that gets installed in a vehicle and links to an app that you download to your mobile device. In addition to showing the location of the vehicle, it also monitors driving behaviors, generates alerts for speeding, and provides a driver report card. The GPS functionality provides a location in real-time, offers you the opportunity to set-up authorized hours of use, shows where the vehicle stops and for how long, and shows the location on a Google Maps interface.
MasTrack (Devices begin at $78.00. Service plans begin at $9.08 per month)
MasTrack is another GPS tracking device. They offer portable options and to install in your vehicle. Real-time tracking requires a monthly service plan and enables you to track the device through their app. Tracking history is available via the app, as long as it is active.
GPS & Track ($249 includes 1-year of GPS tracking service)
GPS & Track offers multiple GPS tracking devices, including an option for teen drivers. The device offers location tracking along with speed monitoring, details on miles driven, and other driving details.
There are a variety of location tracking options available, and each offers a slightly different set of features. Before making a selection, determine your needs and check into a few of the options outlined above. Compare the features and the price, and weigh that information against how you’ll be utilizing the device.
If you missed our last parental controls article, which featured tools to manage screen time, check it out on our blog!