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If you’re a parent, there’s a chance you’ll want to track your child when they’re not home. There are physical devices for doing this Track Your Kids and Stop Worrying with These GPS Trackers Track Your Kids and Stop Worrying with These GPS Trackers There are plenty of GPS child trackers already on the market. Which are best? That depends on many factors including distance, compatibility, durability, and price. Read More , but there are also a bunch of apps that make it really simple.

Your child is likely to keep their smartphone on them at all times Should Children Be Allowed To Use Media Devices? Should Children Be Allowed To Use Media Devices? Read More anyway, so tracking them using an app is easy. Let’s look at a few of the best.

Life360 Family Locator

Life360 is the reigning leader in the GPS tracking arena. They’ve been around the longest and had a popular family tracking app for a while now. If you want the tried and true app, you’ve found it.

You can create multiple Circles that can be used for any group of people you want, like specific family members or friends. Then you can create Places and receive notifications when someone leaves or enters one of those places, like home or school.

Everyone in the Circle can see everyone else’s locations, and you can send off an emergency alert if something goes wrong that will notify everyone in your Circle.

The free version only allows you to have 2 Places and to have 2 days of location history, but the premium version, Life360 Plus, gives you access to unlimited Places, 30 days of location history, and 24/7 support. One subscription covers all the members in a single Circle (meaning you’ll need multiple subscriptions for multiple Circles, but not every member in a Circle needs a subscription). Life360 Plus costs $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year.

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There’s also Life360 Driver Protect, which is an optional upgrade that gives you access to roadside assistance as well as helpful analytics about your driving. That plan costs $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year.

Download for Android: Life360 Family Locator (Free)

Download for iPhone: Life360 Family Locator (Free)

Visit: Life360 Website

My Family GPS Tracker

For an alternative to Life360, check out My Family. This app is available not only on Android and iPhone, but also on Amazon devices and Windows devices. While Life360 requires an account, My Family ditches that in favor of an invite code, meaning you don’t have to register for anything.

You can see location history for up to three years in the past, and if necessary, you can force call someone (they automatically answer) or force their phone to take a photo. While that might sound intrusive, ideally it would only be used if something had gone wrong. And of course, there’s an emergency button for alerting the family of a problem and geofencing for knowing when someone enters or leaves a particular area.

The interface is modern, and you can adjust the colors however you like. It’s about as simple to operate as possible, without missing out on any functionality. Plus, it’s free, and there are no ads.

Download for Android: My Family GPS Tracker (Free)

Download for iPhone: My Family GPS Tracker (Free)

Download for Amazon devices: My Family GPS Tracker (Free)

Download for Windows Mobile/Phone: My Family GPS Tracker (Free)

Visit: My Family Website

ZoeMob Family Locator

This locator app bills itself as more of a “family assistant”. It allows you to track family members, but it also encourages chatting with them over its built-in messenger and sharing lists and calendars.

Other than that, it’s a pretty standard app. You can track everyone’s location, check-in to places, set up specific location notifications, and set speed limits for family members who can drive.

Unfortunately, there are ads in the app that require an in-app purchase to get rid of, and quite a few reviews have complained of a lack of customer support. Still, if the others haven’t tickled your fancy, it might be worth a try.

Download for Android: ZoeMob Family Locator (Free)

Download for iPhone: ZoeMob Family Locator (Free)

Visit: ZoeMob Website

KidControl GPS Tracker

KidControl GPS tracker is as simple as they come. You can set up geofences,track locations, and see battery percentages. That’s about it. It gets the job done.

The app is easy to use and setup without getting you lost in superfluous features. Unfortunately, it does have ads, but you can get rid of those for a lifetime KidControl Premium license for $19.99. That also allows you to create an unlimited number of geofences and view battery and location history for up to two weeks.

That might seem pricey, but it is a lifetime license, unlike Life360, which charges you monthly. However, it is important to note that it only works on Android and the Web — there’s currently no version for iPhone.

If you prefer a barebones solution and don’t have any iPhone users in the family, try the KidControl app.

Download for Android: KidControl GPS Tracker (Free)

Visit: KidControl Website

Which Is the Best?

Honestly, this is a market where apps often pop in for a while before dying out and leaving their users hanging. If you want the most stable option, you want Life360. It’s around to stay.

Though I was very impressed by the My Family app, and if you’re wary about paying for Life360, I would suggest trying that one first.

It’s tricky navigating the digital age as a parent. Thankfully, we have a few more tips for you, like how to find the right children’s books How to Pick the Perfect Book for Children How to Pick the Perfect Book for Children There is no better gift for children of any age than a book. But once you've exhausted your own childhood favourites, where do you turn to for other options? Read More , how to see if your kids are circumventing internet filters Are Your Children Circumventing Internet Filters? Are Your Children Circumventing Internet Filters? You may say to yourself that you've installed the finest web filter available, and I'm sure that it's a solid piece of work. However, no filter is impenetrable, and the truth is that the only... Read More , and how to protect your kids from online advertisements How To Avoid The Dangers Of Online Advertisements Targeted At Kids How To Avoid The Dangers Of Online Advertisements Targeted At Kids You might think you're smart enough to dodge manipulative advertisements -- and maybe you are smart enough -- but what about children? Online ads are increasingly targeting younger and younger folks. What can we do? Read More .

Do you have any tips for raising kids in the modern era? Which of these apps was your favorite, or did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!

Originally written by Riley J. Dennis on August 23rd, 2013.

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  1. Matt
    October 28, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Tracking your kid is just wrong. Kids need privacy as much as adults.

  2. Anonymous
    September 6, 2015 at 8:04 am

    There are some more child tracking tools that hasn't been mentioned on this list. They can be seen here http://www.spyengage.com/

  3. Anonymous
    June 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I use Pozzr (http://pozzr.com) for keeping an eye on my kids. It works really well!

  4. Scott
    December 18, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Tried life 360 but the gps was to far off. Up to 3 miles off. Could not even tell if my child was at home. She has an iPhone and we have droids I hope that doesn't make a difference. Any suggestions on more accurate trackers?

    • Tien
      March 5, 2015 at 4:57 am

      SkyNanny GPS is accurate to within 15 feet. The tracker uses a SIM card with plans as low as $4/mo.

    • gera77
      December 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

      My Family GPS tracker is the best one. i`ve tried a lot...

  5. Rob R.
    December 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Free child locator — Use the free cell phone service FREEDOMPOP with an old (compatible with their service) smartphone along with the Life360 app. Then you are all set with a no cost child location system.

    Just keep in mind that the basic free cell service from Freedompop is only 500mb of data. Therefor, your child can not use the phone except for emergencies and it must be turned off at night to avoid going over the data usage.

    Good Luck!

  6. Soalib J
    February 16, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Just a simple app is enough for tracking your kids android phone. Just go to Google play type "Ghostrack" . Its a simple app but very useful for GPS tracking. This little app doesn't even require internet connection to track down. I think Ghostrack is the best app for GPS tracking on Google play. Link is given below

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=soalib.android.location&hl=en

  7. Rational Parent
    September 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    The whole idea of "Tracking" your kids for "safety" is nuts.
    The western world, contrary to what some parents seem to believe, is safer now than it was in the 70's.
    With that in mind.... Back then I walked to school form age 5... took a bus all over the city after age 12.... was a crossing guard in elementary school... had a paper route since age 12.... had a dirtbike since age 7... etc.

    Tracking ? Really ? Some parents have to chill out and get a grip.

    Do your kids a favour, and help them learn to be independent and be able to think for themselves.
    That, more than anything else, will keep your kids safe. Who knows it's may even prevent them from living in your basement at age 30.

    I recently saw a new interiew with a woman who has created a resource for this type of thing... http://www.freerangekids.com/

    • Vernon Norbert
      September 19, 2013 at 4:54 am

      Uh, yeah, familiar with that woman. That woman is disconnected from reality. You might, in fact, be her.

      Setting aside the mountain of evidence to the contrary and cherry picking the odd datum here and there to assert that things are safer now than in the 70s is ... well ... a duplicitous pile.

    • Thristan
      December 12, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Well, not everyone lives in the "western world". These are perfect here in Asia. Hope they do a comparison of GPS watch trackers for kids.

  8. plasbot
    August 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Smartphone apps are great for teens who can manage to keep a phone without losing, crushing, or immersing it for at least a year, but anyone who has ever given a little kid a phone knows they'll be lucky if it lasts 2 months. I use Kajeet, they sell cheap, rooted, recycled 'dumb' phones that have gps built in and always-on. No fiddling with settings on the phone it just works out of the box. They have a clean web interface for locating your kid at any time and you can setup scheduled gps location as well. It runs off the Sprint cell network and his plan runs $32 bucks a month for unlimited text and 300 minutes talk, unlimited gps locates. Phone was a near perfect condition sanyo flipphone that cost $40.
    We've had it for over a year and everything works great.

  9. dragonmouth
    August 24, 2013 at 12:36 am

    The best to track the kids is to implant them with an RFID chip. Phones can lost, stolen, left behind, damaged.

    Of course, all these apps can be used to track adults, too.

  10. Marc G
    August 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    150 $ for a little, green, rubber tracker? You must be kidding me! This is sick...

  11. Jim
    August 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    what about "Find My Kids. Footprints?" It's a pretty good app with a cheap annual subscription requirement. It even has goe-fencing and speed monitoring. AT&T also has the family tracker but that has a monthly fee associated with it.

  12. Donna
    August 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    My 11 year old doesn't even have a cell phone, guess that's kinda rare these days. But we want him to be a kid for as long as he can.