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Smartphones & gadgets

3 smart ways to track your kids and teens

If you’re a parent or know one, you’ve probably heard someone say something like this. “If I could put a microchip in my kid, like I did with my dog, I would.”

It’s a joke, but it’s not really meant to be funny. It’s serious.

It’s not just about kids, either. Just think of all those times you sat at home nervously waiting for a loved one to walk in the door. These days we all have cellphones with us all the time. It’s a lot easier than it used to be to keep tabs on everyone.

So, why not keep track of our kids? Well, as it turns out, there are devices and apps that will help you keep track of your kids and teenage drivers. Plus, if you have teens or twentysomethings in your house, you know they don’t always want you to know where they are.

But with a little detective work and easy-to-use tracking systems and apps, you can monitor where they are at all times.

Bonus: Some family tracker devices and apps will alert you when your family member hasn’t arrived at their destination, or send an alert when they’re driving too fast.

In-Car Tracking Systems

We’ve been telling you a lot about internet-connected cars, or smart cars. Even if you’re not driving a smart car, you can turn it into one.

Why would you want to? For starters, with devices like Verizon’s Hum, you can use it to diagnose problems in your car.

You can use it to call roadside assistance. You can also use it as a hotspot, so your passengers can connect their tablets and laptops to the internet while you’re driving.

But the best reason to have an internet connection is so you can keep track of your family members. That could be a teenager in your family, an elderly parent or anyone else.

Verizon’s Hum is easily installed in your car. You first download the app to your smartphone. You attach the speaker to your rear-view mirror. Then you attach the onboard diagnostics reader into a port (usually below your steering wheel). Note: If you don’t use Verizon, ask your cellphone provider if they have an in-car monitoring system.

When your kids are driving, you can see a map of their location on your smartphone. Plus, you can set up boundaries. If they drive outside those boundaries or drive too fast, you get an alert.

Note: You do need to be a Verizon customer to get Hum. With a two-year contract, it’s $29.99 for the equipment and $10 a month for the service.

Keep track of young kids

Whenever you take your grandkids or children to a mall, the beach, an amusement park or anywhere where they can easily get lost in the crowd, you know your mind is never at ease. While they’re having the time of their lives, your eyes are continually scanning for them.

If you’ve ever lost a kid in a crowd, even for just a few seconds, panic sets in. Where are they? Who has them? How am I going to find them?

Fortunately, technology is providing a huge assist in keeping track of younger kids. Now, kids can wear smart watches especially for them. They’re designed to be fun to look at, easy to use, and enormously helpful for finding them.

There are several wearable tracking devices like the Doki Watch. You can download the free Doki Watch app from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

You can set up the watch so your kids can call numbers that you program into it. So, no strangers calling your kids. Plus, using GPS and other technology, you can see on your smartphone where they are.

The best feature, though, may be video calling. Doki Watch has a built-in camera, so you can video chat with their kids. You can see exactly where they are.

Doki Watch will set you back about $199. Keep reading for FREE options to keep track of your family.

Tip within a Tip: Never forget where you parked your car!

Free Apps to Locate Your Family

If your kids, grandchildren or elderly family members have smartphones, you can easily keep track of them with FREE apps like Family Locator. You and your family set up a group for real-time tracking of each other.

You can see on a map where they are. You can set up safe zones so you receive alerts when they leave safe locations. Your family members can share messages with each other, too.

Plus, if you ever lose a family member, Family Locator can help you find them. Now, that’s peace of mind.

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