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Smartphones & gadgets

Family safety tip: How to track your kid’s phone

Many dangers lurk online for children. That’s why you must have an open line of communication with your kids and teach them the best safety practices. Tap or click here for five ways to protect your child online.

Unfortunately, online isn’t the only place we need to worry about. The real world is also scary. Fortunately, your kids probably have a smartphone that can help keep them safe. Some carriers offer protective services to those with family plans and kids on the line. There are plenty of ways to track your child’s iPhone or Android.

Keep reading for easy routes toward a safer future for your entire brood and a few digital safety tips to share with your kids.

How to track your kid’s iPhone

We love Find My iPhone for kids. Enabling this feature offers you a candid glimpse into the device’s location. You’ll find the Find My menu in your iPhone’s settings. Here’s how to enable it:

  • On iPhone, open Settings > [your name] > Find My. If you’re asked to sign in, enter your Apple ID. If you don’t have one, tap “Don’t have an Apple ID or forgot it?” and then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Tap Find My iPhone, then slide the toggle next to Find My iPhone to the right to enable it. (NOTE: This should be enabled by default.)
  • You can also turn on or off either of the following:
    • Find My network: If your device is offline (not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular), Find My can locate it using the Find My network. On a supported iPhone with iOS 15 or later, turning on the Find My network allows you to locate the device for up to 24 hours after it’s turned off.
    • Send Last Location: If your device’s battery charge level becomes critically low, its location is sent to Apple automatically.

To check out the device’s location, you can log into your iCloud account using the login information for their iPhone or Apple device. The Family Sharing feature can prompt the device to share its location with your iPhone through the target phone itself. You’ll be able to scope out their location through your own Find My settings.

Of course, other devices like Apple AirTags can be used to accomplish essentially the same. Tap or click here for clever ways to use AirTags. No matter what your favorite Apple devices are, there’s going to be a simple and convenient way always to know where they (and your child!) happen to be at any given time.

How to track your kid’s Android device

Google’s Family Link app can stand in if your kids use Android smartphones. In the Family Link app, you can set up your child’s location information by tapping Set Up, followed by Turn on.

After doing so, you’ll need to enable the appropriate Location settings:

  • In the Family Link app, choose the device you want to track.
  • Tap Manage Settings, followed by Location.
  • Enable See your child’s location.
  • Tap the device’s name under Device location settings.
  • Toggle device location on, as well as High accuracy for pinpoint precision.

The same can also be said of tracking your child through Google Maps by enabling Location Sharing, which drops a marker on your own Google Map when prompted. Tap or click here to learn how to use Google Maps in more detail.

Talk to your kids about digital safety

With all of this being said, we would love to emphasize one vital reminder: parents should be open and transparent regarding safety precautions on personal devices. You should take every opportunity to remind your family why digital safety is important.

Here are some safety tips:

  • Install safety apps and enable safety features with your child, inviting them into the measures you take against dangers.
  • Explain how personal information like their location can be used to harm themselves, their siblings and their friends.
  • Outline the appropriate ways to use a phone and to keep their data private.
  • Ask that they keep their device on their person whenever they’re away from home.
  • Encourage open communication between yourself, your partner and your kids.
  • Share Kim’s Tech Contract for Families. It includes plenty of provisions regarding disabling safety apps, parental access, and even the nefarious use of burner phones behind your back.

We all goof off on our phones, but when push comes to shove, these devices aren’t just toys. They may be lifesaving tools, and your kids deserve to understand why and how.

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