Parents worry about their kids; mom and dad are always scared for them… And this fear doesn’t end, even when the kids grow from naughty children to independent teenagers. They get their first motorbike, go camping for the first time, and start hanging out with some dangerous people. Sometimes you just really want to watch them and check whether your son or daughter is risking their health. Some time ago, we described special devices which track people, cars and pets. Today, we are interested in peculiarities of kid trackers. How do they work? What type of information is tracked? Will your kid be safe from trouble? Which specific trackers are recommended to buy? What are they praised or found fault with for? We’ll answer these questions in our review and will pick the best tracking devices for kids.
Are Kid Trackers Legal?
Before spying on anyone, any normal person should make sure this is legal - especially since many countries actively fight against any spy gadgets. There are three things to take into consideration when making this decision. On the one hand, EACH AND EVERY constitution in the world confirms human rights of liberty of movements. On the other hand, you have to mind the expedience of spying and precedents.
Spying on an adult with whom you are not related is a valid cause for filing a lawsuit. There have been precedents when individuals were fined substantially for installing GPS trackers on their acquaintances’ vehicles.
But what happens when it comes to controlling the kids? Geolocation data is relevant when the government controls deviant individuals. A law portal IBLS lists an interesting lawsuit. A 16 year-old teenager in one of the US states was obligated to wear a GPS tracker, as he was trouble. The police obliged him to wear it to school. The teenager filed a lawsuit for human rights infringement and… lost the case. The judge ruled that both the community and the boy benefit from him wearing the device.
The second case of justified spying deals with tracking aimed at ensuring the safety of an underage person. Parents are responsible for their kids’ health, safety and actions until they come of age. This means that the court will have a hard time proving the parents’ guilt in spying on their own daughter or son. Why so? Well, they decided for them, and so the parents have such a right!
A verbal consent of the kid or some serious arguments concerning the life danger will be enough to justify your actions. In any case, no legal precedents refuting this exist. Even if you imagine some smart boy or girl filing a lawsuit against their parents, it’ll be too hard to have them sentenced.
Although here we need to put a disclaimer and warn you to check whether a camera or a sound recorder are built in the kid tracking device you’re buying, because if they are, then the device is considered to be a prohibited spy device - such as one of those described in our Spy Gadgets Review. There are tons of such products on Chinese online markets, so be on the lookout.
Types of Tracking Devices for Kids: How Do They Work?
The majority of spying devices work with the help of GPS. As a rule, this technology is supported by GSM antennae, but their availability is not a must.
This doesn’t mean that there are no alternative options. Gadget universe has seen using GSM-frequencies and radio waves for spying. Today, we’ll tell you about a couple of such devices. The satellite technologies, nevertheless, will be in the center of our attention today.
All of the GPS locators for kids have distinguishable features: They are portable, have an autonomous and quite advanced power supply, and are provided with the manufacturer-designed software.
All of the kid tracking devices can:
- Detect the kid’s current location online or by query (you get the coordinates with the minimum time lag);
- Control the kid’s movement in permitted or prohibited areas which are determined by the parents.
What are these areas? Here’s an example to explain to you. You literally zone the whole town: you’ve got your “backyard,” “school,” “your neighbor’s backyard,” a “dangerous park,” etc. As soon as your kid is in one of these designated areas, you get a corresponding notification on your PC or smart phone.
What Is the Difference Between Different Kid Trackers Models?
Kid trackers are different by their type, software and functions. We’ll describe some of the additional features of such devices below, and now let’s turn to the most distinguishable features.
- A bracelet, a watch or a pendant for girls. These are usually colorful, cool models made of simple materials, such as plastic and rubber. This device will always be near the child (as the kid would literally wear it).
- Tiny GPS beacons are small boxes or purses which can be put into the kid’s backpack or jacket pocket. The idea is that these devices are miniature. They can be hidden easily so that no one knows about them…They are pretty much a true spy gadget. They break down, scratch or get lost less often, though your kid might leave his or her jacket or backpack somewhere.
- Smart phones may serve as a GPS beacon (if geo-locating is turned on), you only have to run a special app. Your kid won’t get bored of this toy and will be afraid to lose it. If you want you can even hide the spying app and install it without knowledge of the little owner of the phone which would function in a “secret mode.” We’ll leave this up to you and your conscience.
Accuracy. The most advanced trackers detect the child’s location with a 10-15 ft. - error less effective ones are not so accurate and their error may be of 30, 100, and even 300 ft.
Pay attention to how well it receives the satellite signal. Everyone knows about the “shield” effect, when tall buildings and even the trees block and reflect the satellite signal. That’s when the parents simply lose contact with the gadget, and therefore, with the kid. That’s why we recommend you to read some feedback of the real users of a model you’re about to buy. As a rule, any issues with the signal are the first to be mentioned by the dissatisfied customers.
The Child’s Age. For 4-5 year old kids the manufacturers offer colorful and bright wearable devices with high detection accuracy. It’s possible to set an “alarm area” of several square feet. Suppose the kid simply went from one room to another (to the kitchen, for example, where there are lots of sharp objects and the stove is on), and at that very moment the parents receive a notification.
Schoolchildren can be trusted with a smart phone with a GPS app, a wearable gadget, or with regular “spy boxes.” The manufacturers often add other social and interactive features - such as chat or “a family monitor,” which enables the kid to see on the map where their parents are.
College students and high school seniors are a whole different story. They ride motorbikes and even drive cars. GPS gadgets with speed detection were designed especially for these “kids.” You’ll find out about your kid speeding the moment it happens! And obviously, older kids won’t wear a plastic Mickey Mouse watch, so you’ll have to invest in a GPS band or a smart watch.
Alarm Button and Other Useful Features Of Child Tracking Devices
Besides regular functions, kid trackers have some nice perks. One of the most popular options that child trackers have is an “alarm button.” The owner of the gadget can ask their parents for help when in danger and send a message with exact coordinates of their location or make a call.
A movement registry is also a very popular service. It lets you see all the routes taken up by the tracker’s owner during the day on the map. With the help of this registry the parents can check whether their kid did anything dangerous during the day and whether the kid was always doing what he or she was supposed to. The memory usually stores a couple of weeks of history, and some better models can even store up to 2-3 months of such history.
The detection of speed is another popular feature. An electronic speedometer will help you find out not only whether your young cyclist is following the rules, but also whether the school bus driver (or your neighbor whom you asked to give your kid a ride) is actually a good driver.
Some of the most advanced devices can track sexual predators on the map. There are online databases of pedophiles and child molesters in the US and some other countries. These databases store information about the criminals’ residence, their workplace and area of living. For a certain fee any US or UK citizen may install an “alarm notification” on the tracker. This notification will appear on the parents’ phone even if their son or daughter will simply pass by the predator’s house.
And of course, in the interactive era of the 21st century, kid trackers users cannot be left without socializing. Their software can sync geolocation data with that of other social networks. Kids love checking in on Facebook and Twitter! Why not do this with a special app? The kids keep their cool, and the parents aren’t worried. For the most sociable families, there are chat, call, and messenger options in the kid trackers.
Child Tracking Devices
Kid Tracker without GPS
We promised to introduce to you the models which do not use GPS standard, didn’t we? Here we go! The manufacturers of kid trackers often turn to help to the good old radio wave technology.
The newborns’ parents are best familiar with this. Obviously, radio waves are useless when tracking long distance movements, but they are pretty good for tracking a kid in a house or in the backyard. Here’s one of the best devices of this type.
Guardian Angel for 2 Kid's Tracker Child Children Locator Alarm Family Protection Security Babysitter
This is a true best seller and a real favorite of all the caring mothers. Its manufacturers have long studied the statistics of accidents and kids going missing, and found out that very often kids get into trouble right under their parents’ nose. According to them, either the parents’ full attention or Guardian Angel can prevent kidnappings.
Guardian Angels can monitor the area of 30 to 160 (up to 500 ft. for new editions) ft. away from the parents, who have a remote control. The toddler can crawl around with this “toy,” but the moment he or she gets somewhere prohibited, the parents will get a signal. If they don’t see the kid, a light signal will direct them.
You can buy a remote for 1, 2, 3 or 4 trackers, depending on the how many kids you have: The more you’ve got, the less money per capita you’ll have to spend. If you have two toddlers, for example, a set of two trackers will cost ~$54.99.
This is another type of kid tracker without GPS. This app works pretty much like a well-known to apple users “Find My iPhone” service. This app is compatible with any smart phone and costs very little (~$8). The phone might not even have the said GPS tracker; the app will still be able to detect the location of your kid given that the kid will actually have the smart phone with them.
The second condition of the app’s proper performance is that you have it installed as well. You’ll have to get online in order to find your daughter or son. Everything seems pretty simple, but there is one serious drawback: Unlike classic sensors, LociLoci will be completely useless if you have a zero balance and can’t get online.
Best GPS Tracking Device for Kids under $100
Lemonbest® Portable Mini GMS GPS GPRS Tracker
This is a very simple sensor available for only ~$24. This is one of the numerous attempts to create a decent made-in-China kid tracker. It only works with cellular connection, which is necessary for giving feedback to the parents. The device cannot continuously transmit the location data - it only sends them when you call it. After you dial the number, Lemonbest will send you a message with the child’s location.
The device looks like a simple black box (not the tiniest one, but it would fit in your palm definitely). You have to put in your kid’s pocket or backpack, and the device will transmit the signal from there. The only issue here is that Lemonbest is using a mediocre UBLOX Chip sensor, and anything thick in its way can completely muffle its signal. That’s why the manufacturers recommend only using the device outdoors, when taking a walk, for example.
This gadget is not the most functional one, but Lemonbest tracker has an alarm button and it can detect “home” and “hostile” areas. It’s also waterproof. Its accuracy is also quite fine, as it is 5 meters accurate. However, it takes up to 45 seconds to locate the owner, which is rather long.
Among other Chinese analogs, you can find models which are 5, 10 or 15 bucks more expensive. They all have got similar characteristics, but it’s too risky to buy them since they might break any time.
ATian GPS Tracker Mini Tracker Tracking for Kids, Pets and Cars
This model is a bit more expensive, as it costs ~$46.99. This is clearly a more modern device which is compatible with Android OS and Google Maps. It is waterproof, has got an S.O.S. button and an emergency call button. Its dimensions are small: Its diameter is 4 centimeters and its height is only a few millimeters. What’s interesting is that these dimensions seem attractive not only to young parents, but also to car, drone and quadro-copter owners who are full of gratitude to ATian and leave comments along these lines: “Thank you for making it light, compact and well-functioning.”
It is also quite compatible with other software for parents. All in all, this is good value for money. So far there are few customers’ reviews on Amazon.com, but we strongly recommend you to read all of the feedback to understand whether you need ATian Tracker.
Best Kid GPS Trackers over $100
If you’re not impressed by the previous models, let’s take a look at another price segment: Trackers from $100 and higher. Here, we find one of the most popular spying gadgets for only $118…
Pocket Finder Outdoor Personal GPS Locator
The secret of this device’s success is its simplicity and minimalistic style. The sensor itself is a small remote control without a screen or even light diodes. An experienced kidnapper won’t notice it, as it doesn’t even look like a gadget. Pocket Finder is hard to lose; it doesn’t bother the owner and doesn’t attract any attention. There is even nothing to break - it’s got neither wires nor buttons.
In reality, though, this item is not that simple. It transmits enough data to the parents, and the built-in Pocket Finder software presents these data as useful infographics. We’re talking about a wide range of information here: There’s constant tracking of your children’s movement on the map, the report of their whereabouts with timing, walking, driving the car or riding public transportation detection. The gadget also tracks the idle time, the start and end of movement. All of this is output on the screen of iOS or Android smart phone. Pocket Finder lets you view tracking history for 60 days and its battery lasts about a week. Its price is ~$118 Check the current price
The only “but” here is that most gadgets which cost over $100 require repeat investment. You have to pay monthly bills like you pay for your cell phone. The sums are not very high ($13 per month and higher), and they support the brand service. By the way, both the website and the software for this device are great. There’s a possibility of zooming into the map really close so that you can see your object from the height of 10-12 meters! You will also be able to watch your whole family with a single app provided you buy a separate remote control for each family member.
Smart Phone Kid Trackers: Choosing Tracking Apps
There are two types of mobile trackers: Either they are provided by your mobile carrier or by the independent app developers. We believe that the services of mobile carrier are more attractive.
Usually such apps work with both GPS and GSM standards and also have an extension pack of some kind of root statistics. Geolocation is typical here: The customer gets the coordinates and dangerous area alarms, just like a user of any other wearable tracker would. The carrier can also provide information regarding the calls, Internet activity and messages of your kid. Even when you’re away, you’ll know whether the battery is dead, whether the cell phone is off or on, and if the account balance over zero. If it’s not, this app will let you transfer some money to your kid’s cellular account.
Just as with Pocket Finder, you’ll have to pay monthly bills. Take a look at such mobile apps as Life360, Canary, Children Tracker, and a dozen of others. You also have to pay for them, but the fee is less than that of mobile carriers.
The main disadvantages of mobile apps are:
- The fact that the phone battery dies faster than the battery of special GPS trackers.
- Their receipt of satellite signal is poorer, especially in big cities.
We recommend using special GPS trackers - since when we talk kids’ safety, we imply maximum reliability of technology. A smart phone and cheap apps cannot always provide said reliability, unlike such gadgets like Pocket Finder for ~$118. They aren’t cheap, but their manufacturers have thought over all of the details in order to calm the overly worried parents.
Let us also remind to the toddlers’ parents that their attention will still be the best tracker at an early age… And of course, Guardian Angel for ~$54.99 will be an additional hedge!
We give approximate prices (~), because Amazon.com sales and discounts are common, or else the situation may occur when different sellers sell one and the same product. So, please, check the current price.
Please, don’t get lost! Yours truly, Gadgets-reviews.com.