Following The London Terror Attack: Ways to keep track of loved ones.
I’ve been quite quiet on the recent London terror attack, mainly because all the words I could seek to type seemed hollow in the consolation they could give to parents and families who lost loved ones. However, over the past few days, I’ve thought more and more about the period of time that families caught up in the London terror attack knew little of their loved ones’ whereabouts.
I felt that one aspect of parenting, I completely despise, is absence from my children for a prolonged time. Not that I don’t rust my family and friends with their care at any given time… More that, absence really does make you want to have your family back in your safe arms again.
When Little Savvy was first born, he had to stay in hospital for two weeks with his mother for observations. The staff in NICU at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital were fab, and the visiting Great Ormond Street specialists were equally so, but I couldn’t stay in the building and had to leave every evening.
This really tugged at my heart-strings. The not being there, if I was needed. The not holding his hands. The not being able to console my wife when visitors were kicked off the ward during non-visiting times. I hated it.
Similarly, whilst Mrs Savvy was pregnant, I was completely paranoid about her driving. Not because of her skills at the wheel, but because of the potential hazards on the road. This was without the constant worries of terrorism that has occurred in the London terror attack. One thing I did do while my wife was pregnant was to invest in a GPS tracking app for our smartphones. This allowed me to track progress of both my wife and her precious cargo whilst travelling. Also, it helped when she got lost that I knew where she was!
In the wake of the London terror attacks, what can families do to know their children’s location?
I’ve already mentioned that I used a GPS family tracking app on our smartphones. I’ll list a few of my favourites and their features below. The other option, more suited to children not yet ready for mobile phones, it GPS watches. These smart little devices offer some fab options these days. Although I’m all about saving money, I don’t skimp on safety of family. So I’ll buy high review car seats like the Britax SHR and replace tyres regularly trough services like Kwik Fit Mobile. Luckily, for piece of mind, the array of GPS tracking options caters for most budgets.
What are the best tracking apps for knowing where your loved ones are?
Family GPS Tracker – Kid Control – This option features a home alert, meaning you get notifications when they arrive home. It works in a similar way for setting up school arrivals. There’s also an SOS mode, for the user to send a silent alert to the parent monitoring units. There’s also a battery alert mode. The cost is completely free, however, to get more than 2 days location history or 2 alert areas you’ll need to upgrade. For most, the free version of Family GPS Tracker should be more than enough.
Sygic – Family Locator Phone Tracker – This is the application I used the most over the last few years. It’s free in its’ basic mode to track family members on your phone and you can set up “safe zones” for the members in your family meaning you get an alert should they stray from that zone. Plus, you can unlock additional features like location history in the premium option. I used the premium option via a discount code I had from Google play at the time and it seemed quite reliable. The only issue, and it is not just related to this app, is that all of the smartphones you use for this tracking network can have issues when you update to different versions. We had during our time one smartphone become obsolete in an update. This meant we had to replace the mobile or change the app we used for tracking.
Geo Tracker GPS Tracker – This is less of a GPS tracker, more a general GPS orientation app. The reason for listing this is the fact it is one of the best options I’ve seen for gathering and tracking data on your own location and travels. It gives really in depth information for your location that’s easy to pass on to someone should they need to locate you. Again, it’s free for the basic app and is perfect to use with older children and teenagers who have smartphones. They could then also use this in combination with the free text 999 to save lives service if they register.
The best GPS devices for knowing the location of your children and protecting them from getting lost.
The first thing to keep in mind is that none of these options a truly infallible. Best will in the world, batteries on smartphones will run out occasionally. And if using the tracking straps below, remember that kids can and will remove and forget them at times. They’re not child “tamper proof”. Also keep in mind most are water resistant, not waterproof. That aside they can still give more piece of mind than nothing.
Tinitell – Simple features that most children from 5 or 6 years old should be able to master. Gives the ability for tracking. Has built in call functionality via assigned contacts (even if you’d prefer it didn’t – yes, your child will call you regularly on it!), youtube instructions. Works via basic 2G mobile sim (which you need to get yourself), most networks supported, but keep in mind EE has the most coverage. £100 plus £3 monthly approx
HereO Kids – Long lasting battery between charges due to E-ink usage, like in kindles. An app that allows multiple GPS unit tracking for if you have more than one child. Tamper-proof feature, but that’s not fool-proof. Safety alert – Shake 5 times to send an alert to parents. Released last year, now around £150 pre-order plus £3 per month approx.
Trax Family Tracker – An alternative to the wrist straps, this can be attached to clothing, placed in bags, pockets etc. If you’re child is likely to remove a wrist-based option, this is a robust alternative. Also it features an amazing augmented reality option meaning you can hold up your smartphone to see where you child is in real-time along with the distance to them. Much easier to sense direction in an unfamiliar place. £158 plus £3 per month approx
As mentioned earlier, all of these options are for extra piece of mind. However, they should not be used in place of common sense and proactive parenting when it comes to safety and stranger danger. The London terror attack was a truly horrible event, and these apps don’t negate dangers. However, in the modern world where events such as a London terror attack reminds us of human fragility, this sort of tech can just seek to give us more immediate feedback as and when any given situation arises.