Once children reach a certain age, it’s inevitable that they’ll want to spend more time out of the house and hanging with friends. As parents it’s simply in our nature, and the child’s best interest, to be well informed about our kids’ whereabouts. Of course no method or app replace talking to your kids and explaining the need to know about their location. But sometimes the kids themselves may be lost.
So, the question arises…With the ever-expanding technology available via the iPhone, what are the options to keep tabs on my child via their mobile device, what are the GPS tracking apps?
Friend Locator is meant to be a fun app for friends and family to help keep track of one another. After creating a profile, users accept friends who are the only ones able to view their current location. Then, once a user is logged into the app, their participating friends will be notified of updated locations. Users are also able to post their current location to Facebook and remove locations as desired. Although locations can be deleted, or the app can be turned off altogether, apps like Friend Locator are a great tool for families with open communication to keep tabs on one another in a manner that perhaps makes your child feel like they’re not distrusted. If Mom & Dad are checking in on Friend Locator while they’re out to dinner, then it becomes a part of the family culture for the kids to check in, too!
AT&T Family Map
Price: Free w/ $9.99-$14.99/month service fee on your AT&T Cellular bill
This nifty service offered to AT&T customers, allows users to track 2 family members for $9.95 per month, or up to five family members for $14.95 per month. After the initial set-up, users can request the location of the family members included within their family map at any time, or create timers for updates to be sent at a certain time each day. Family map tracks users via GPS on phones that are GPS-enabled, and otherwise uses local cellular towers to help triangulate the location of the phone. Although the service is not so specific that it can tell you an exact address of the phone’s location, it is capable of provided accuracy up to a one mile radius, which provides the necessary peace of mind for most parents keeping track of their busy kids!
Family Tracker is much like AT&T’s Family Map, with a few less features. However, the nice part here is that the app only requires a one-time purchase price of $3.99 to provide tracking services. Family Tracker is able to provide GPS data on the location of any family member with an iPhone. This is important: in order for the app to work, the children that you are trying to track must also have an iPhone. To operate, the app sends a ping to the iPhone you are trying to locate. Once the message has been acknowledged by the other iPhone holder, the GPS coordinates of the pinged phone are automatically generated and sent to your phone. Family Tracker is perhaps a great option for families with older iPhone-toting kids.
Price: $99.97 annual subscription fee
First and foremost, it’s important to note that Mobile Spy is software used in conjunction with a computer and iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows OS mobile devices, rather than an app that is simply downloaded via iTunes. Secondly, the extent of the tracking provided by MobileSpy is probably one of the “last resort” tracking options for parents who are in need of some information from very deceiving kids. That said, the service works by logging the activity taking place on the monitored phone including texts, calls, internet access and GPS locations. To view the logged information, subscribers are given a password to the Mobile Spy website, where they are able to review all of the cell phone user’s activities.
We want to know: would you ever use a software like Mobile Spy? If so, would you tell your children about it and what would prompt you to use this kind of tracking device?