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GPS and Your Child

written by: KateG•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 5/31/2009

If you want to be able to keep tabs on your child, but you do not have the time or energy to stalk them the old-fashioned way, then this piece can help you to do it with technology.

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    Parents work hard to keep their kids safe. Unfortunately, parents also have about five-hundred other jobs to worry about that can get in the way. It used to be easier to know where your kids were at all times. Now with more kids in after school activities and older kids having a greater degree of mobility, that task has become increasingly challenging. Luckily, a bevy of options have come about to help parents get a handle on their kids’ whereabouts. Thanks to GPS, you could, in theory know where your child is at all times.

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    GPS and Cell Phones

    Using a cell phone to track your kids via GPS is one of the easiest ways to monitor their location. This is true for two simple reasons. First is because it does not require any special equipment to be installed. Thanks E911, GPS tools are built into all newer models of cell phones. Most service providers offer either software-based service or specific models that have GPS tracking via a website. The second reason is that your child wants to carry the phone. Most kids and teens keep their phones on them at all times and, unlike a GPS watch, it will not be obvious to their friends that tracking is occurring. This helps to avoid the taint of uncool that most children avoid like the Black Death.

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    Watch-Based GPS

    If you have a younger child for whom a cell phone is not an option, then a GPS watch may be the way to go. They look, and in most cases function, like a regular watch, but allow you to access a tracking website or software. These are great for younger children, as once you put it on their wrist in the morning it will stay there all day. It will not be lent to a friend or left somewhere like a phone might.

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    GPS in Cars

    If your target child is old enough to drive, you could just install a GPS chip in his or her car. A downside to these chips is that they usually require professional installation, which can be costly. In addition, it is important to know that this will only track the location of the car, so it is only good if your child is in the car. The chip may qualify you for an insurance discount. Anyone paying for a teen driver knows how expensive this can be, so any discount helps.

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    In the end, only you can choose the GPS product that is right for your needs. Before you choose, think about your child. Try to find the option that best fits their lifestyle.