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GPS trackers for kids have been selling like hotcakes, especially the colorful GPS smartwatches. Sure, it's comforting to know where your child is at all times, but plenty of parents are aware that strapping a GPS tracker (in the form of a cute watch) on a child's wrist may mean that any stranger can hack it and track a child's patterns and whereabouts at any time.
In fact, it isn't just parents who are concerned: Experts say the use of a GPS tracker on a child can actually put that child in harm's way. Plus, in a Norwegian report, researchers studied four GPS watches for kids and not only found that the watches could be easily hacked, but that strangers could communicate with the child via the texting feature — without parents having a clue.
Think about that: With certain GPS watch models, it's possible for a predator to zero in on your child's location, contact the child (disguised as a parent), and coordinate a different pickup location by the time the child leaves school (or anywhere) without Mom or Dad knowing. Consumer groups have urged parents to think carefully about these purchases, and there are serious reasons why.
On the other hand, there are situations where these devices can be a real life-saver. There are so many anxious parents with super busy schedules who go to work every day with a knot in their stomach after sending their child off to school via public transportation. The reassurance of knowing exactly where the child is at all times is priceless, but these risks just can't be ignored.
Keep in mind, while parents in the United States can easily access cheaper GPS-enabled smartwatches for kids on Amazon, other countries, like Germany, have banned the sale of smartwatches for kids and urged parents to destroy ones they've already purchased for safety reasons.
The truth is, we might need to wait just a little longer until we can shop freely and worry-free for GPS devices for kids with communication capabilities. Until then, there's no reason why a GPS watch from a random manufacturer is worth the risk when there are other trackers on the market that are safer. Instead of a GPS tracker with communication capabilities, you can opt for the safer option: a GPS tracker without the ability to communicate with your child. You can still track your child's location thanks to the GPS feature on these kinds of watches, but you (and no one else) will be able to communicate directly with your child.
If you need a device that you can use to communicate with your child, contact your service provider (like Verizon) and opt for the smartwatch they've designed for safe communication and GPS-tracking for kids.
If you simply want to keep tabs on your kid's location to make sure they're where they should be at all times, check out our list of GPS trackers below that come without communication capabilities. We'll be updating this list as more GPS trackers for kids are cleared by experts for safe use!
This GPS keychain comes sans communication features, which means hackers can't contact your kids to trick them, though Mom and Dad can easily check the status of their kids' respective locations through an app. The best part about this tracker? It includes a loud alarm that your kiddo can sound off if anyone creepy does get too close.
Strap a My Buddy tag to your kid's sneakers or have your kiddo wear it as a watch. Not only will it let you know where your kid is at all times, but it features a panic button your kid can press if something isn't right. There's also an adjustable proximity setting, so you'll get an alert if your kid is out of the set zone. Plus, the waterproof watch will send alerts if the amount of time submerged exceeds the norm to help prevent drowning.
This GPS tracker has over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon, and all you have to do is slip it into your kid's coat pocket or backpack before the school day starts. Communication isn't possible, which means you don't have to worry about predators getting in contact with your kid. Oh, and it works for teens who are "sleeping over at Sara's house," too.