4 apps to help parents track their kids

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - A lot of parents give in and buy cell phones for their children so they will always have a way to contact them; but if you've got a tween or teen in your house, you know the anxiety an unanswered text or phone call can create.

It's why some parents are installing apps on their kid's phone so they know where they are at all times.

Here's four apps that can help.

The Zenly locator app uses live GPS locations to track your family, friends or anyone you invite to the app. Your GPS location is constantly running, which can sometimes drain your battery quickly, but tech writers give Zenly a great review for using less of your battery than most tracking apps.

Zenly also shows you how much battery is left on your family or friend's phone which may help explain why they're not replying to texts or calls.

Life 360 doesn't just track your location. It also has private messaging within the app so that friends and family members can communicate in one place. The app can do more, but to get services like roadside assistance or locating a lost phone you have to pay at least $4.99 a month.

The Mama Bear app does all the same things as the other two apps, but it can also monitor your children's social media and their driving habits. You can set the app to notify you if your teen is speeding or texting and driving. If you pay for the service, you won't have to put up with ads and you can go back a week to see where your child was the week before instead of only using it in real time.

Family Tracker is the only app you have to pay for in our list; but it comes with some cool features. It keeps tabs on anyone you like after they accept a one-time tracking request. It also will get your kid's attention with a loud siren noise when you need them to pay attention to those messages you're sending. You have to pay $5.99 for each Apple device you want to track. Additionally, if you want to view GPS data from previous days, you have to pay for a monthly subscription.

If you have a family plan with your cell provider, check with them to see what kind of tracking service they provide.

Sprint offers Sprint Family Locator. AT&T has AT&T Family Map and there’s also Verizon’s Family Locator.

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