5 Legal Ways to Spy on Family Members Through Apps & Gadgets
5 legal ways to spy on family members through apps and gadgets
Geolocation services can be used not only to become the “mayor” in your favorite coffee shop. With their help, you can make life – yours and your loved ones’ – more peaceful and secure: not worrying about when your child will return from school, not being afraid to lose your pet on a walk and much more. In this iBusiness review – the best services and gadgets to take care of the safety of your loved ones.
Life360 – the whole family together.
For today’s families where all members have their own smartphones, one of the best solutions for locating each other will be the Life360 app.
With Life360, not only can they see the location of family or friends, but they can also chat with them in a shared chat room.
Once the app is installed, users can create private, closed groups of family or friends in the app, where everyone can see their exact location on a built-in map. This information can be updated in real time from GPS data or from user checks. The geolocation capabilities of Life360 also include automatic alerts when individual users appear in or leave a selected geofence. With this feature, for example, you can receive a message when a child leaves school.
In addition, members of the same group can chat and send private messages to other users, making Life360 a true family center. A “panic” button is also available on the app, sending a message with coordinates and a request to call all group members back.
The program does not limit users to select specific devices – the service works on smartphones running Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Life360 requires a paid subscription of five dollars a month or 50 a year, but new users get 30 days free to explore the app.
“Locator,” “Beacon,” and “Baby Watch,” services from carriers
Using one app for the whole family and keeping GPS turned on all the time is not the only way to get data on the location of their loved ones. In some situations, geolocation services offered by cellular carriers might be an easier solution.
Their main advantage is that they are connected directly to the phone number and can work with all devices, not just smartphones. Thus, even if a child or elderly parents use an ordinary cell phone, the services from the operators will allow receiving information about their location. In this case, the number does not matter – the phones of all operators can be tracked, not only those belonging to the same network.
The solutions offered by the Big Three operators do not differ much in their functionality. All of them use data from cellular base stations, so under certain conditions they can give quite a big error – from several hundred meters to one kilometer. Management of the service in all services is implemented both through commands sent by SMS, as well as through a special mobile application or website. Upon request the user simply receives the coordinates displayed as a point on the map.
Setting up the geolocation service on the phone that will be used for monitoring is similar to all other mobile services: via a personal account on the operator’s website or via SMS. But the connection of the tracked numbers requires the owner’s confirmation – an SMS message is sent to the number, which must be answered. As a rule, the operators allow you to monitor several subscribers – you can connect from one to five phone numbers. There is also a limit on the number of requests that can be sent per day, but in practice it is unlikely that you will need to find out the coordinates of the person more than 100 times a day.
The sets of additional services provided together with the geolocation service are different for each operator. MTS, for instance, offers the possibility to create separate geofences allowing to receive SMS messages with all movements of a mobile number owner within the “Child Monitor” service. And “Radar+” package from Megafon, besides informing about entering and exiting geographical zones, allows saving the whole travel route.
Amber Alert GPS – tracker for a child
Determining the location with the help of the phone has its disadvantages, especially if it is necessary to monitor the movements of the child. Many people prefer not to buy smartphones for children, and the accuracy of geolocation services with reference to base stations often leaves much to be desired. In addition, the device can run out of battery or can simply be turned off. A separate GPS tracker, such as the specially designed for children Amber Alert GPS, will help to solve such problems.
This device is actually a miniature phone with GPS turned on all the time and the ability to dial a specific number at the touch of a button. It can be set to send coordinates at intervals ranging from a few minutes to hours. Manufacturers assure Amber Alert GPS battery life is about 40 hours, even with the most frequent coordinate updates.
Parents can view all information about their child’s location using the web service or a special mobile app. Up to 20 geo-fences can also be set up with the control program, which will send a notification when crossing the boundaries.
PocketFinder is a universal beacon
However, the special GPS-tag can be used not only for tracking the movements of your child. With the help of similar device you can control location of your car, pet or luggage. One of the simplest, but functional gadgets designed for such geolocation is PocketFinder.
This miniature device has a fairly large set of functions for geotracking. It can be configured to send coordinates with a certain periodicity and receive notifications to your smartphone or e-mail when the sensor will cross the boundaries of certain zones. If you use PocketFinder to track the location of the car, the user has the function of speeding notifications and viewing a 60-day travel history.
The device has a dust- and waterproof case, so it can even survive a sudden bath if used as a dog tracker. Sending data is done via cellular communication – you need to install a SIM card in the gadget to work. PocketFinder can be controlled via mobile applications for Android and iOS operating systems.
“Button of life” – technology comes to the rescue
Devices with geolocation are also indispensable for elderly users, especially if they are combined with medical services. In particular, a specialized service called “Button of Life” offers such services in Russia.
It is not just a producer of electronic equipment. First of all, Button of Life is a separate Russian Help Center, in which operators process signals from users’ devices. At the same time, the equipment itself can be very different – there is support for the service both in special phones for the elderly and in traditional GPS trackers and even wearable devices with the possibility of feedback. One of the most functional options available for purchase on the service’s website is the S911 alarm bracelet, which is actually a “smart” watch.
It is equipped with a GPS module and a SIM card, so it supports not only sending coordinates, but also voice communication – you can call to and from the wristband. Thus, relatives at any time can contact the owner of the device or find out where he is, using the geolocation service. Mobile communications for devices with the “Button of Life” is provided by MTS – a special tariff for the service is distinguished by the absence of subscription fees and low cost of calls.
The bracelet is also equipped with an alarm button, which, when pressed, establishes a connection with the operator of the help center. The call is taken by the doctor on duty, who immediately receives the owner’s current coordinates and information from his medical records, including data on diseases and allergic reactions to medicines at the time of the call. In addition, the bracelet has a separate drop sensor. When it is triggered, even if the owner in an emergency situation cannot call for help himself, the alarm signal is sent to the operator, who contacts the user himself, and if there is no response – his relatives, trusted persons and ambulance.