There is plenty of debate around children and smartphones. Parents, teachers, and experts disagree about how old is old enough to give a child a smartphone and how much time children should spend using their smartphones.
But while there are good reasons to worry about how and when kids should use smartphones, there’s no denying that they can be beneficial. And one important benefit that they can provide is peace of mind for parents.
Not only can a smartphone allow you to contact your child by calling, texting, or instant messaging at any time, a smartphone can help you find your child even if they aren’t answering or picking up. Phone tracking can be useful in several ways, like locating a lost or stolen phone, but for parents, the biggest benefit of phone trackers is that they can be an extremely effective way to locate the owner of the phone as well.
Take a look at how phone trackers can give parents peace of mind, even as their child becomes more independent and demands more freedom.
Basic Smartphone Tracking
Your teen’s smartphone could be the key to locating them quickly in an emergency situation.
Most smartphones come with the capability to provide at least some tracking information, even without any special apps installed. While the location technology that comes with the phone may not provide the exact location of the phone, it can significantly narrow down the search.
Although many teenagers are used to using smartphones for everything, and may even have grown up without a landline phone in the house, parents may remember that at one time, cell phones could not provide the location of the caller – meaning that cell phone users who dialed 911 but weren’t able to provide their location could not be easily located by emergency services.
The addition of tracking capabilities evolved from a directive from the Federal Communications Commission in 1996 that required wireless companies to install systems to locate cell phones that made 911 calls. The technology has changed since then, but the general principle that location and tracking capabilities can help people who are in danger remains.
One case where built-in tracking aided in narrowing down the location of a phone user is that of Olivia Ambrose, a young woman who went missing after a night out. Her sister was able to determine the last location of her phone using a common location tracking feature on her iPhone. While this information wasn’t enough by itself to lead police directly to Olivia, it did give authorities the information they needed to narrow their search parameters, allowing them to find Olivia and free her from her kidnapper two days later.
Smartphone Tracking Apps
While the basic location services that both Android and iPhone smartphones come with are helpful, for a worried parent, just knowing the general vicinity of their child will never be enough. Fortunately, parents who want a more accurate picture of their child’s location can get that information if their child’s phone has an app installed that offers that service.
Like the location services that come with the phone, tracking apps have demonstrated their usefulness in real-world cases where family members and authorities needed to locate a vulnerable person who may have been in danger. In August of 2018, for example, police received a report of a missing and possibly kidnapped 15-year-old, Kimberly Segura.
While a combination of local, state, federal, and international law enforcement, as well as border patrol agencies coordinated to search for Kimberly, who was believed to be in a vehicle heading for the southern border, a family member tracked her location via a tracking app installed on her phone and reported the phone’s movements to the police. This real-time information as the girl’s location changed helped law enforcement locate the teen safely and reunite her with her family.
Can GPS Tracking Apps Give Kids More Freedom?
GPS tracking technology gives kids the freedom to roam while allowing parents to stay informed and connected.
GPS tracking technology sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s true that there are ways people can use this technology that are invasive and unwelcome, but that doesn’t mean that the technology itself is bad. GPS tracking has plenty of legitimate uses that provide important benefits to users, and the ability to locate missing children is one of the most important of those benefits.
GPS tracking apps can be a way for parents to allow their children more independence and freedom than they’d feel comfortable with otherwise. When you want your child to be able to move around their community independently, but you also want to be certain of their safety, GPS tracking provides a solution. Tracking apps give you the ability to confirm that your child is where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. Likewise, parents who want to know where there child is at a given time can do so quickly.
If you’re a parent, this increased ability to monitor your child’s location and find them quickly when you need to can give you the confidence that you need to allow your child to go out and move around independently. Even teenagers who might initially express resistance to an app that allows you to track their movements may be won over by the additional freedom they have to go out by themselves or with friends without needing to bring an adult or check in frequently.
Gaining more freedom of movement and independence are important aspects of growing up, but parents can’t ignore the world’s dangers, either. GPS tracking offers families an opportunity to provide both freedom and safety in a way that meets their needs and provides peace of mind.
WebWatcher’s parental monitoring software offers parents tools they can use to keep an eye on their child’s phone and internet use as well as their movements. By using WebWatcher’s parental monitoring tools, parents can keep their children safer while also helping them become more independent. To find out more about how WebWatcher’s parental monitoring software can work for your family, try our risk free program.