CONSUMER

GPS gadgets and other devices that can help parents keep tabs on their children

Sep 1, 2021, 7:09 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 11:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Anytime a story like the recent attempted kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl in Roy surfaces, it can rattle parents to their core.

Parents want to be able to help protect their kids from this sort of attack. As it turns out, moms and dads have all sorts of gadget options that can help their peace of mind while keeping tabs on their kids.

Most of them come down to GPS, from smartphones to wearables like watches and GPS trackers. That’s according to Rebecca Edwards, the lead safety and tech reporter for the Utah-based home and family security website, Safewise.

“There are some standalone trackers that it’s really now just like a little tag, almost like a Tile or like an AirTag that you could pop in a backpack and in a pocket,” Edwards said. “You could even sew it into the lining of a jacket they wear all the time or something like that. It wouldn’t be detected.”

GPS is the standard, but there are several features that parents may want to consider.

Some trackers let parents set up boundary alerts. If your kid crosses a certain street, you will get pinged right away with a message the device sends to you through a cellular network. It’s called geofencing, which Edwards said was not always that reliable.

“The first time I used a kids’ watch with geofencing it was crazy, and I just couldn’t get it to work correctly,” she recounted. “Now, so much improvement that you can actually rely on it.”

Some trackers come with a panic or SOS button your kid can hit in case of trouble. It will send a text alert to designated contacts, or on some devices it will call 911.

Some higher-end gadgets include features like two-way calling for keeping in touch or a tool called “listen in.”

“You can activate it and listen to what’s going on around your kid, and nobody there will know that you’re doing that,” Edwards said. “It doesn’t alert your kids or the people around them, so it can really give you either peace of mind or early detection of something going wrong.

There are smartwatches available with many of those GPS safeguards, as well as adding communication via video, voice and text to people only on the contacts list. There are also smartphones, such as the Gabb phone or the Relay Kids phone, that run on closed networks where the internet is not available on the phone at all. That means you get the GPS tracking and direct communication with your kids without the social media also known to keep parents awake at nights.

GPS trackers can run as low as $20 to well over $200.

“The bottom line is if you want to be able to know where they’re at, where they’re going, if they’re where they’re supposed to be, or if they’re somewhere else, all you need is a GPS tracker for that,” said Edwards. “You don’t need a watch like that has FaceTalk and two-way talk and games and music and extra things like that.”

Buying a tracker often means paying a subscription so that device can send those alerts to you via a cellular network. Those can run from $10 a month up to $40.

KSL 5 TV Live

Consumer

(FILE) Two signs advertising bedrooms for rent....

Daniel Woodruff

Rent costs are up nationally, but what about Utah?

While some aspects of inflation are cooling down, the cost of renting has continued rising.

1 day ago

The KSL Investigators purchased four supermarket containers of strawberries, spinach and grapes to ...

Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Food for thought: Do storage containers keep your fruits and veggies fresh longer?

Many manufacturers claim their food storage containers will keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer. The KSL Investigators tested just how well those bins live up to their hype.

2 days ago

KSL’s Matt Gephardt price shopped several items at traditional grocery stores and specialty food ...

Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Will shopping specialty food markets save you money?

To save money on your groceries, a specialty food market might not come to mind. But KSL Consumer Investigator Matt Gephardt found branching out to specialty food markets might help you bust some grocery inflation.

4 days ago

High food prices are squeezing Utah families, and going to the grocery store can be a frustrating e...

Daniel Woodruff

Is grocery shopping ‘frustrating and stressful’? Here are ways to stretch your dollars

High food prices are squeezing Utah families, and going to the grocery store can be a frustrating experience.

5 days ago

(KSL TV)...

Associated Press

Meme stocks are back as GameStop and AMC surge like it’s 2021

The man at the center of the pandemic meme stock craze returned to the social platform X for the first time in three years and sent prices of those stocks surging overnight.

5 days ago

FILE - A United Airlines jetliner soars past an MLS soccer match July 8, 2023, in Commerce City, Co...

Associated Press

US airlines are suing the Biden administration over a new rule to make certain fees easier to spot

U.S. airlines are suing to block the Biden administration from requiring greater transparency over fees that the carriers charge their passengers

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

GPS gadgets and other devices that can help parents keep tabs on their children