Tracking your child's phone: Tools parents can use to keep their kids safe

Posted at 4:27 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 23:40:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tracking your child’s cell phone can be a valuable tool if need to find exactly where they are in a moment of crisis. 

The most basic way to do so is to use Find My iPhone or Where’s My Droid.

If your child’s cell phone has location services turned on, you can log to find where the phone is. The program will often give you their exact location down to the intersection.

You can also use apps like Net Nanny, Teen Safe, and Mama Bear to track where your child is.

Some apps will track what your teen is texting, what they’re posting on social media, and even how fast they’re driving.

The downside to this technology, according to Indiana State Police, is that keeping location services turned on means other people may be able to track your child as well.

“It's giving your latitude and longitude of where you're at on earth when that picture is posted,” said Stephanie Nancarrow, youth educator with Indiana State Police. “So anyone that's pretty tech savvy can go into that picture, get those coordinators, and see exactly where you've taken that picture."

Roneika Howell trusts her 16-year-old daughter Ronasiah, but still checks her phone regularly.

“She knows I mean business,” said Howell.

However, Howell stops short of tracking her daughter’s location.

“I don't use an app to monitor her or track her because a lot of those apps you have to pay,” said Howell. “I feel like, I pay a monthly phone bill, so if it gets to that point, I will just take the phone away and then we won't even have that issue."

Ronasiah keeps location services turned on for maps, but not for photos or social media, making it hard for her mother to track her but also harder for anyone creeping online to keep tabs on her whereabouts.