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My 11 y/o has a Android phone. I want to be able to know at any time where the phone is located. What software would be recommended for this? (I have checked the play store and there are so many, those that I have tried didn't work for me, either installation wasn't clear, or product was not what it claimed to be.)

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  • Must it be free? If so, add the gratis tag, otherwise please state your budget. Remember that " I want to be able to know at any time where the phone is located" is not necessarily where the child is located ;-) I presume that you want the location displayed on a map? Any other features, such as numbers called/calls received from? Ditto SMS, with content? Photos taken? The more that you can tell us, the more that we can help you. Be very careful to check that what you are doing is legal in your jurisdiction. – Mawg Dec 21 '17 at 8:54
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    Not having any kids I've never used such an app, but while waiting for answers be welcome to check with my corresponding app list. For some candidates there are links with reviews etc. which might shed a light on what you were missing. And as @Mawg pointed out for legality: it's certainly a good idea to have your child agree, if only for later trust. But that's of course outside the scope of this site :) – Izzy Dec 21 '17 at 9:08
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    If I were 11, I would agree - "I'm going to my friend's to do homework together". The 'phone stays at the friends & we go do whatever my parents don't want us to do :-) Or, someone carries a 'phone for a friend. Unless you you want to call regularly ... but that's also a trust issue ... in addition to asking for a technical solution here, you you might also want to discuss this topic at parenting.stackexchange.com – Mawg Dec 21 '17 at 9:16
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    Knowing "where the phone is located" isn't just for child tracking -- it's also for finding the phone after child forgot it somewhere! – Erica Dec 21 '17 at 16:07
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I use two in combination on my teenage daughter's phone.

  1. Lookout Security & Antivirus provides a number of useful features, but "FIND MY PHONE" is the applicable one here:

    • Locate & Scream: Map the location of your device and make it sound an alarm - even when it is on silent!
    • Signal Flare: Automatically save your device’s location when the battery is low

    If the phone can't be found, we first do a locate (is it in the house? did you leave it at Hayden's when you visited earlier? is it still at Starbucks?) and if it is in the house, triggering an alarm lets us find what couch cushion it fell under.

For being able to see real-time where the phone is more quickly and so on, I also use...

  1. Google Maps (probably already installed since it's an Android) has a Location Sharing option.
    1. On your child's phone, open up Google Maps. Tap the hamburger menu in the Search Here box at the top.
    2. Select Location Sharing. In Get Started, chose to share your real-time location "until you turn this off", and select whoever should get that information (certainly you, perhaps another parent or trusted adult).
    3. On your own phone in Google Maps (or even in a web browser if you're logged into your own Google account) you'll see a little icon with the phone's location.

The primary drawback to each is that the phone needs to have internet access (either 4G or wifi) to be able to report real-time position.


Regardless of the solution, having the child's buy-in is fundamental. I don't want her disabling either piece of the solution, so we've had a number of conversations about why the apps are important -- in case the phone is lost or stolen, and in case I need to know where she is (kidnapping, went for a walk without telling me, still at friend's house hours after she was supposed to come home, whatever). I trust her enough to explain my reasons, she trusts me enough to not abuse the privilege of location tracking, and so far it's working out.

  • For what it's worth, I also have Lookout on my phone (for "which couch cushion is this under" or "did I leave it at work?!?") but don't have location sharing enabled most of the time unless I'm purposely keeping a friend or family member informed of where I am. This is not necessarily a child-only solution. – Erica Dec 21 '17 at 20:10
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    My dad keeps Google maps share my location on after he had a bypass and it works really well. Also handy when you need to meet with someone – Journeyman Geek Dec 21 '17 at 23:47
  • I use pretty much this same combination of solutions, and it works well. I used to use Glympse for real-time location sharing, until Google Maps finally improved their functionality mid-2017 to catch up. – flith Dec 22 '17 at 12:59
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I use MMGuardian on my kid's Droid and I highly recommend it.

You install the app on the kid's phone and then install the parent version of the app on your own phone, from which you can monitor all incoming and outgoing texts and calls, apps installed from the playstore, location (even if location services are turned off) contacts added or removed, etc.

I use it only for monitoring but you can also use it to restrict access to certain apps and contacts r to remotely sound an alarm even if the phone is on silent, which has been useful for lost phones.

At $20 a year it's very affordable and worth every penny. It's also non-intrusive and I've never seen an ad.

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