Benefits of Phone Tracking When Kids Are Outside

by Screen Time Team on 06/05/2020

Every parent worries about their kids, and with smartphones, that worry can veer into some potentially unhealthy places. Families are built on trust, after all, and as the weather warms and kids want to be outside, you need to show that trust. However, a phone tracker when kids are outside can be handy, provided there are some ground rules.

Before Installing Tracking

Most important, before you install any third-party parental control software or tracking software, you should sit your family down and lay out what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and the ground rules for both. There’s a vast difference between monitoring somebody you love and are responsible for, versus tracking where they go and what they do without their knowledge.

Make sure everyone understands both the rules and the rationale behind them, and that the rules apply to everyone. Boundaries are also important; older teens may assert their right to privacy and that should be accepted within the framework of the trust you’ve established. Once this is settled, you should install the software.

Why Install Tracking Software?

Find Lost Phones: No matter how level-headed and responsible any family member is, they’re probably going to lose their phones at least once, even if it’s just a mistake. In fact, many Americans lose their phones at least once. Tracking software will let you find phones that fall out of pockets, accidentally get wandered off with, and otherwise go missing.

Emergency Safety: Most of us will hopefully never be in a situation where we need to know exactly where everyone in the family is, but, if you do, tracking software can help. As long as people keep their phones with them, tracking software is useful for emergency personnel to find someone who’s injured, lost, or otherwise in trouble. Consider setting a rule where if an emergency is declared, you flip on everyone’s tracking so you know where they are and can inform authorities or trusted family members to come to get them if need be.

Young teen wearing headphones while sitting on the ground using a phone.

Reinforcing Grounding: Most children probably didn’t realize when they asked for a smartphone that they’d be getting an accountability device. And yet, that’s what a phone can be, with the right software. If it’s necessary to ground your children, you can use tracking to ensure that they go to school, stay there, and come back, no visits to friends or stores.

There are some important limits to remember here. The most basic is that phone tracking software tells you the location of the phone, not the person who owns it. You should also remember that the GPS systems on phones can vary in precision, showing anything from a phone’s precise location on a map to just the general neighborhood that the phone is in. If somebody is on the bus passing the house of that friend you’ve forbidden them to see, their phone could tell you, however briefly, that they’re standing in front of that friend’s house.

The right third-party parental control software can make a real difference when you’re talking about tracking. To learn more about third-party parental control software, contact us!

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