Use GPS to Know Your Child’s Whereabouts 24/7

How does GPS work? Check out this visual explanation. Image by GPS.gov

Parents need to know where their children are all the time. Whether it is a trip to the park or walking home from school, we always worry that they will go missing. GPS trackers can help with that. These little tracking devices fit in backpacks, cell phones and even wrist watches to give you your child’s location all the time.

Global Positioning Systems: How Do They Work?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and refers to a set of satellites in space. Your GPS receiver uses radio signals from the satellites to find its own exact location. According to Physics.org, GPS receivers scan the skies to find the three nearest satellites, and then determines its exact location based on the distance between it (the receiver) and each of the satellites – the more satellites, the better.

GPS Limitations

Most of the time, the GPS will work, depending on the location of the satellites and on the type of system in use. The real-time systems depend on the coverage from the satellite network. Just like your cell phone, if there are no satellites close enough nearby, the GPS is unable to track. In addition, also just like your cell phone, the signals cannot penetrate all materials. Glass, plastic and softer materials are fine, but there are problems with metal and concrete. (Can you hear me now?) Atmospheric conditions can also interfere with your signal.

Consider attaching a GPS tracker to your child’s backpack, or slipping one inside a pocket. Image by DuBoix.

Poorly-charging batteries can also cause problems, as well as GPS receivers that are separate from the child (i.e. in a backpack that they leave behind.) With any separation of the child and receiver, the tracking tool will locate only the receiver’s position.

GPS Receivers: Where Can You Use Them?

GPS receivers appear in all sorts of places. Most cell phones now come with GPS enabled. This can help you to retrieve a lost phone, but you can also use this feature to locate your child if you know the password for the account. (Set this up in advance to save trouble later.) You can also add tracking devices to backpacks or your child’s clothing but finding the receiver may still be a problem. The device may fall off the clothing, or the child may drop or forget the bag.

GPS Tracking for Kids: Are They Worth The Investment?

It is sometimes worrisome not knowing your child’s location. GPS tracking can really help to ease that worry, but it is worth considering the limitations. While in most cases GPS tracking does work, the receivers have a lot of limitations, and everything depends on whether there are enough signals, and whether or not your kids have ditched the receiver.

© Copyright 2013 Alexandria Ingham, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting

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