Using Cell Phone GPS to Find Your Child

One major reason parents give their children cellphones is so they can keep tabs on what they’re doing. But what if something happens and your child is unable to answer the phone, or they get lost, or something has happened to them and they need help?

Not all cellphones are GPS locator capable. However, more and more developers are taking advantage of this technology. If you are looking for a phone with GPS locator capabilities for the safety of your children, an elderly relative, or even for yourself, you’ll want to look into the various options currently available.

Initially, the two main phone brands with GPS locator were Blackberry and Motorola. However, since this option has become so popular, many other makers as well as service providers have gotten on board.

The three things to check are:

First, the type of phone – Since 2005, pretty much all phones made have GPS chips in them. However, that doesn’t mean they are accessible for the user as a GPS device. In most cases, the GPS only kicks in when someone is making an emergency 911 call. Some phones are more GPS-friendly, so make sure you research ones with this capability if this is an important feature for you.

Second, the type of service – Some plans allow for a phone to be used via GPS to find someone. Sprint offers the Sprint Family Locator plan that allows real-time locations of four different phones on the network. They’re shown on interactive satellite maps on Web-enabled cell phones or computers. Kajeet provides plans for kids with a GPS option so your kid’s phone can be found anytime from an online computer. Verizon has a Family Locator plan (also known as Chaperone) as well, which includes scheduled updates as well as live tracking of family members. These plans range from $5 to $10 a month in addition to your regular monthly plan fee.

Third, which network you are using – not all networks are the same or provide the same kind of coverage. The network must have GSM (used by AT&T and T-Mobile) or MetroPCS (Sprint and Verizon) to work with satellites to provide GPS location information. There are a couple of others that work with GPS, such as CDMA (U.S. Cellular) and iDEN (Nextel-branded phones). The best thing to do is check with your provider to see what your phone can do.

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