9 tracker devices to keep tabs on your child

These gadgets will help you to locate your children and watch them from afar - if you want to

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Tracking children; you either love the idea or hate it. One thing none of us can deny is that tracking our families through various forms of technology is becoming increasingly popular.

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Everywhere you look there’s an app, watch, band, programme or device that can tell you exactly where your loved ones are at any particular time.

And while no parent wants to be viewed as a panicky, paranoid overlord desperately stalking their kids every move the minute they leave home, it can’t be denied that there’s a certain level of security that comes with being able to see where your children are, even if it’s through a screen.

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Life360

What is it? Mobile app

How does it work? Described as a ‘part location, part communication’ application, Life360 works a bit like a family style Whatsapp, that also has GPS.

Parents set up a ‘family circle’ where everyone in that circle can communicate through messages or a ‘one-tap check in.’  There’s a private map that shows the location of everyone in the circle and an SOS/alert button, which sends a message to everyone in the family group if activated in an emergency.

Parents can also create circles for other people, like grandparents or close family friends, and according to the Life260 website there’s a whopping 50 million families using the app around the world.

Advertised age: 4+

Best age for: All children (approx. 8-18 years)

Price: Free

Who’s likely to use it? If you want a way to communicate with your family when apart during the day, and track their whereabouts, this is the tool for you.

Communication is limited as it’s only via messages, and as it’s an open system (only people in the family circle can have access to the messages and map) your kids and other half can see where you are at all times, and you can see their every movement.

You can download the Life 360 app on Google PlayiTunes or Microsoft Store.

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My Buddy Tag

What is it? Bluetooth wristband

How does it work? My Buddy Tag is tracking device that’s worn by kids like a watch, it’s designed to ‘keep kids safe’ by allowing parents to track their whereabouts via a mobile phone app.

It has a proximity alert system that tells parents when they are out of the designated ‘safe area’ and has a panic button on the wristband that children can press if they feel threatened.

As an extra safety precaution the wristband also has a water safety alert that sounds every time it is submerged in water at a depth of a foot or more. My Buddy Tag also rings an alarm if left in water for longer than 5 seconds, to prevent drowning, but that also means it can be worn when swimming.

Advertised age: 3+

Best for age: Younger children (from about 3 to 6 years)

Price: £45.00

Who’s likely to use it? One thing to note is that the Buddy Tag is Bluetooth and not GPS and so has a (very) limited range of up to 120 feet (about half the size of a football pitch). If you’re not planning on letting your kids go too far, it may be a useful tool.

Where the My Buddy Tag wins is on the water safety alert which makes them really helpful if your little one is around deep water.

You can buy My Buddy Tag from Tesco, Amazon or Kiddicare.

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Moochies For Kids

What is it? Wrist phone

How does it work? The Moochie smart watch is a tracking device that can also be used as a mobile phone.

It allows your child to ring out to 2 designated phone numbers (mum and dad probably) and can be programmed to receive calls from up to 10 other numbers.

All the programming is done via a smart phone app called Wherecom, which can be found on the iStore and Google Play under Moochies.

As it’s a phone you’ll have to buy a sim card with it, but it’s an unlocked device, so you can use it with any network.

Advertised age: 3-12-years-old

Best for age: Older children (approx. 8-18 years)

Price: £79.99 for the watch and an 02 PAYG sim card, but you’ll have to check the mobile sim card supply rate for calls.

Who’s likely to use it? These cute watches would be great for parents of children who, bless ‘em, have a tendency to wander off, while in their own bubble.

So if they get lost unexpectedly you can call them, tell them to stop walking, and find them via the GPS.

The Moochies watch would also be useful for older children who may not have mobile phones, but have a little more freedom to travel from school to home alone. This way you can track their movements and have the option to call them if you need to.

You can buy the Moochies wrist phone from the MoochiesForKids website

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Loc8tor

What is it? Pocket tracker

How does it work? The Loc8tor sits in your little one’s pocket or bag and allows you to track her in real-time on a GPS map.

You can set up a virtual safe zone, so you get an alert on your phone if she wanders away or is out of the designated area.

There’s also a built-in panic button that’ll send an instant alert or email directly to you if your child feels threatened.

Advertised age: 4+

Best for age: Pre-teens (approx. 8-12 years)

Price: £99.98

Who’s likely to use it? You’ll probably be at a stage when your child (if not you) is ready to start travelling to school alone.

The Loc8tor will offer you more peace of mind knowing where he is on his journey and give him the security of being able to press a panic button if an emergency arises.

You can buy the Loc8tor on Amazon

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Find My Friends

What is it? Mobile app

How does it work? This GPS tracking application from Apple actually comes standard with all new iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices.

Apple in its infinite wisdom has made sure Find My Friends automatically signs in when you sign into your iCloud. To use the app your friend (or child) has to have the same app on their phone and agree to share their location with you.

Unlike many other apps out there Find My Friend only transmits your child’s location when you request it: it doesn’t send it out at regular intervals.

Best for age: All children (approx. 8-18 years) and the whole family if you fancy it.

Price: Free

Who’s likely to use it? This app can be used by anyone who has an Apple device but it’s probably going to be more of a novelty tool for teenagers to spy on their friends.

However, if you’re a parent who’d prefer a quick, simple, no sign-in location system and you don’t want to buy an app or don’t need to speak to your teen when out and about, then this is the app for you.

You can download the Find My Friends app on iTunes or get the Android version (Locate My Friends) on Google Play

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Family Tracker

What is it: Mobile app

How does it work? Not only does this app keep track of your family via mobile phones, it also allows you to see where your friends are too (if they accept a one-time track request).

Family Tracker has a built-in messaging system, gives you notifications when the messages have been read and can even make your child’s phone sound a loud and annoying alarm remotely if you want to grab their attention.

You can also make safe zones, one-time zones and danger zones for your children and if they go out of the safe zone the app will alert you.

Advertised age: 4+

Best for age: Older children (approx. 12-18 years)

Price: Free to download the app, but you can pay for an optional subscription service to keep and view GPS data from previous days at a cost of £3.99.

Who’s likely to use it? If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or a child who for whatever reason is hard to get hold of when out and about then this is the app for you.

We may even suggest you use the remote siren on your other half – just to remind him not to forget the milk.

You can download the app on iTunes, or Google Play

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Weenect

What is it? Pocket tracker

How does it work? Sold as a tool that will increase trust between parents and increasingly independent children, the GPS tracker offers worldwide coverage and real-time tracking as well as messaging from the device to parents.

Made to fit in a pocket, bag or clip onto your child’s belt, it’s about 2.5 inches in size and has a battery life of around 7 days.

The Weenect also has an SOS button, which places a call directly to parents’ phones in cases of emergencies.

Advertised age: 4+

Best for age: Teenagers (approx. 12-18 years)

Price: £69

Who’s likely to use it? This would work well when your not-so-little-one heads off for a school trip or goes overseas for the first time without the family.

You’ll be able to track movements worldwide, but you’ll still probably have to call to remind her to charge it.

You can buy the Weenect at Argos or Amazon

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Teensafe

What is it: Mobile app

How does it work? Teensafe allows parents to see their teen’s mobile call history, read and delete texts and even access all social media interactions without their kids knowing.

Parents can run on a computer and can download everything on their child’s iPhone, but they’ll need their kid’s usernames and passwords for every account they want to monitor.

Teensafe already claims to have over 1 million users in the US alone, it’s available in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and is due to be launched here in the next few months.

Advertised age: 4+

Best for age: Teenagers (approx 11-18 years)

Price: Around £10 a month

Who’s likely to use it: While this app is absolutely legal (as there is no obligation for children to tell children you’ll be monitoring their phones) it works on a basis of secrecy.

So if you don’t mind lying to your teenager or their privacy isn’t as important to you as their protection then this is the app for you.

You can download the Teensafe app on the Teensafe website

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Pocket Finder

What is it? Pocket tracker

How does it work? The size of an Oreo bikkie, the Pocket Finder not only tracks your child’s whereabouts via GPS, it can also create safety zones, send messages and keep a 60-day location history.

But what makes the Pocket Finder unique is its speed limit alerter, which will send you a warning when your child is driving and they exceed a speed limit set by you.

Advertised age: 5+

Best for age: Teenagers (approx. 12-18 years)

Price: £85

Who’s likely to use it: This tracker is certainly one for parents of older children, particularly if they are driving and mum or dad wants to monitor their speed.

You can buy the Pocket Finder on Amazon

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