Let's talk about your project. Contact Our Team!

Using Tech to Track Your Kids Going Back to School

School has started back in most parts of the U.S. and with that comes some understandable anxiety on the part of parents about how to best keep tabs on their children when they aren’t with them. In this week’s installment, we’ll discuss some tech that can help you keep tabs on your children.

Apple Watch
Along with some of the newer devices in the Apple Watch family, some cool new features have been added. Parents (and other caregivers, such as those that take care of older parents) can now use Apple Watch Family Set Up to control and monitor multiple Apple devices from a single iPhone. Users can not only monitor locations, but also vital signs, school work, and other important information. Apple Watch Family Setup works with series 4 and later devices and requires LTE availability.

During our discussions for this article, someone brought up the possibility of using Apple AirTags (a type of location keytag) to accomplish the same thing as the Apple Watch at a much lower price point (a four-pack is $99). While technically possible to use for tracking, there are some serious drawbacks to their use. AIrTags use Bluetooth versus GPS for tracking, meaning that you would need to be in fairly close proximity (around 30 feet) for the tags to work properly. If you were to use the tags, you’d want to use them in a smaller area, such as a store or at a small park.

Find My
The Find My app makes it easy to keep track of your Apple devices and those that might be holding or wearing one of them. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods, and AirTag. All of your devices will appear on a map and will show you important information, such as low battery status. If you can determine that your device is near you, you can have it play a sound to help you find it. You can even put some devices into lost mode, meaning they will display a message for the person that finds the device. Even if your device is offline, it’s possible for the Find My app to help track it down using the Find My network. Other Find My devices that might be near to your device can detect and securely send the device’s location to you via iCloud.

Gizmo Watch
GizmoWatch is a kid-friendly smartwatch designed mainly as a tool for parents to keep track of their child, but it does offer quite a few features that kids and parents will enjoy. Of course, it’s main feature is the GPS locator, but it also allows kids to set reminders, create a to-do list, and track steps. The device can be set up for 10 trusted contacts that kids can send voice notes to, call, or text, all directly from the watch. Another wonderful kid-friendly feature is that the device is waterproof and durable. Currently the watch is only available via Verizon.

Google Family Link
Google Family Link is designed for parents to help monitor their child’s online world, from younger child to older teen. Its purpose is to set ground rules for the proper use of online technology. Along with showing GPS location, parents can view online activity, manage apps, and suggest apps for them to download and use. One key feature is the ability of parents to track app usage and lock the phone during certain hours of the day. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Life360 is an app aimed at parents of teenage children, especially those that have just started driving on their own. The app provides location information via connection to the driver’s phone. It allows parents to set up geo-fences so that they know when the driver arrives at a particular location, such as school, work, or back at home. The app can even tell you the average travel speed, if any hard braking or rapid acceleration occurred, and even if the phone was being used in the car when it wasn’t supposed to be. Crash detection is included in all versions of the app, and a 24/7 emergency dispatcher will reach out to the driver if a crash is detected.

The world we live in is crazy and unpredictable. We hope some of the apps and devices described in this article can help alleviate some of the anxiety parents feel about releasing their children into the world.