It’s back to school time, and you’re no doubt gearing up to “lose” your kids again after the long summer. For the first time in months, your kids will be out of sight most of the day. And that might make you just a little uncomfortable. What are they doing? Are they safe? Luckily, there are ways to feel safer even when you aren’t around.
Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to know where your kids are at any moment thanks to GPS. Are there ethical questions about tracking your kids? Perhaps. But here’s what I think: If the technology is there, why not use it?
WorldTracker GPRS, for example, has received rave reviews for being a super accurate tracking device. Smaller than a set of keys, the device isn’t cheap (it costs almost $400), but considering the level of detail it provides to help locate someone, it’s a small price to pay if you truly need (or want) to keep tabs on someone all the time. WorldTracker updates every 15 seconds and you can use it to track someone via either a computer or phone.
AmberAlert GPS is a device focused squarely on protecting children. This gadget allows you to set up “geofencing,” which is a fancy way to say that it will alert you should your child go outside of a pre-determined area. Want to make sure your teenager is driving the speed limit? No worries – AmberAlert will let you know if it travels faster than a certain speed you can specify.
There is also an SOS button that will alert up to five people at once, should it be activated. The AmberAlert costs $199 (plus a $20 activation fee) and you’ll also need to pay a monthly service charge, which varies depending upon the length of the contract.
Is your kid just too cool to carry around some sort of GPS tracker? Then try Google Latitude. This free service from Google is more for keeping a history of where you go during a day, but using the GPS built into phones and a Google Maps interface, you can see where someone is at any time (updated every few minutes). This might not be the best solution for a lost child, but if you just want to know if your teenager is at the library studying like she claims, or you haven’t heard from them by curfew, it will give you some idea of where they are without being too obtrusive. The data from Latitude is restricted to approved friends, so you don’t have to worry about strangers tracking your children as well.
There are a lot more options out there, but these solutions should get you off to a good start – now go enjoy some peace and quiet since your kids are back in school.
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