10 Tech Tools to Track Your Kids
As our kids get older, their sphere of exploration begins to grow. When they’re babies, usually we’re within ten feet of them or less at all times, then it’s within the same house, after that it’s the backyard, followed by playing at the neighbors, riding bikes around the block … and before you know it, driving the car to a concert or football game! Expanding out is only natural, but as parents, we’re aware of the potential dangers and temptations out there (admit it, we know from experience!). Along with the real physical world, now our kids are exposed more and more to the wonderful, amazing, fantastic, but increasingly scary online world. So in order to relax, get some sleep, and save some sanity, there are tools out there to keep track of where your kids are at any given time, or what websites they are visiting. We’ve scoured the Internet and come up with 10 companies with some great options for you.
Smartphone and GPS Tracking
- Verizon Family Locator, Sprint Family Locator, and AT&T Family Map – Ok, we know these are three different programs, but they’re all fairly similar and you’ll use the one whose carrier you already subscribe to. They all come with an additional monthly fee, however, with AT&T coming in the highest and Sprint the lowest.
- Family Tracker – This is a very easy to use app that can be installed on your iPhone or Android device for $3.99, along with the phone you want to track. You can check the status either on a web browser or via the app installed on your own phone.
- Whereoscope – Similar to Family Tracker, Whereoscope is a smart phone app that can be added to multiple phones, and predetermined locations can be loaded in so that you know when junior enters the school building, or when they are close to home.
- DriveOK – If you’ve got a teen behind the wheel, you may want to look into DriveOK, a GPS car tracking service that alerts you when the car goes above the speed limit or goes outside of boundaries you have set. Prices vary depending on the service and number of alerts you request.
- Zoombak – A personal GPS device for the littler ones in your life who don’t yet have smart phones (at least in some families). It is a small box that your child can carry in his or her backpack, or attached to a jacket or belt loop. Real-time locations can be checked on your cell phone or computer.
- littleye – A downloadable parental control software program that keeps it simple to monitor your kids from anywhere, filter sites and content, and set controls on Internet usage time. Parents can manage their kids from any computer or the iPhone app; which puts control of your kids time online in the palm of your hand. You can also set up unfiltered monitoring to allow your older kids the freedom to browse, but still be protected.
- Norton Online Family - Rather than simply blocking sites, it encourages communication between you and your kids. You’ll gain a better understanding of what they do online, so you can better protect and guide them. You still get the requisite video monitoring, chat monitoring and time limits, among many other features.
There are plenty of online resources that offer advice, so do your homework and choose what's right for your family. There can be a fine line between “monitoring” and “spying,” and it is easy to lose the trust of your child. We suggest reading some articles to get a sense of your options. Here are some great choices on Tracking Teen Drivers from SheKnows.com and 7 Ways to Protect Your Kid on the Internet from iVillage.
For more parenting tips and advice, please be sure to check out our Top 20 Parenting sites.