Published on: October 20, 2022
Short on time? Here’s the best parental control app for tracking your kid’s phone location in 2022:
- 🥇 Qustodio: Provides accurate real-time location tracking for iOS and Android devices, displays kids’ previous locations, and comes with a geofencing feature. There’s also a panic button, which shares kids’ location with trusted contacts if they’re in danger. Qustodio also has excellent web and app filtering, a YouTube monitoring feature, and phone call and SMS tracking. It has affordable plans and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Even though some people might say tracking your kid’s location is over the top, I actually think it makes sense — it helps parents keep their kids safe in case they get lost, as they get instant access to their real-time location. It also provides parents with an easy way to find their child’s phone if they lose it.
And the best way to track a child’s phone location is to use a parental control app, which is a monitoring tool that allows you to keep tabs on your child’s location, as well as their web, app, and device usage. A parental control app consists of 2 apps — the kids app, which you set up on your child’s phone, and the parental app that you use to monitor your child’s location and other activity.
I spent the past few weeks testing tons of parental apps, and I only found a few that provide excellent real-time location tracking. Most parental control apps either don’t display the child’s real-time location, or don’t have accurate location tracking tools. But with the apps that made it to my list, you can see your child’s location at all times, view their previous locations, and/or set up geofenced areas (to receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them).
3 (Quick + Easy) Steps to Remotely Track Your Child’s Phone Location in 2022:
- Step 1. Pick a good parental app. My top pick is Qustodio, as it provides very accurate real-time location tracking, allows you to see a list of your kid’s previous locations, comes with an easy-to-use geofencing feature, and even includes a panic button.
- Step 2. Set up the provider’s kids app on your child’s phone. Doing this will only take around 2–3 minutes. Make sure you provide the app with location permissions, otherwise it can’t track your kid’s phone location.
- Step 3. Give the phone back to your child. You can now start using the provider’s parental app to keep tabs on your child’s real-time location.
Quick summary of the best parental control apps for tracking kids’ phone location in 2022:
- 1. 🥇 Qustodio — Best parental app for tracking a child’s phone location in 2022. Accurately displays kids’ real-time location via regular notifications and also shows their past locations. Location tracking is easy to use and comes with a geofencing feature. In addition, there’s a panic button that shares kids’ phone location with trusted contacts if they’re in danger.
- 2. 🥈 Norton Family — Best pick for monitoring kids’ phone location on multiple phones. Allows you to track location data on an unlimited number of devices. Also provides accurate and easy-to-use location tracking, large geofenced areas, scheduled location notifications, and a check-in option, which is less invasive.
- 3. 🥉 Net Nanny — Great location tracking with very frequent updates. Provides location alerts about your child’s current location every 2–3 minutes. Also displays a list of their previous locations and allows you to set up geofencing alerts.
- 4. FamiSafe — Good free plan for location monitoring. Includes accurate real-time location tracking, previous locations, and geofencing. Also allows parents to share their location, so that their kids can see it.
- 5. Kaspersky Safe Kids — Accurate location tracking with huge geofenced zones. Provides frequent location alerts and allows you to create geofenced areas up to 62.1 miles or 99 kilometers. Also displays information about your child’s phone battery level.
- Comparison of the Best Parental Apps for Tracking Kids’ Phone Location in 2022.
- How to Choose the Best Parental App for Tracking Kids’ Phone Location in 2022.
- Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut.
- Isn’t a Phone’s Built-in Location Tracking Enough?
- Is It Legal to Track My Child’s Phone Location?
- Frequently Asked Questions About How to Track a Child’s Phone Location.
🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Parental App for Tracking a Kid’s Phone Location in 2022
Qustodio provides the best location tracking in 2022 — its Family Locator tool sends you location updates every 5–10 minutes, so it doesn’t feel very invasive. I also like how Family Locator displays your child’s previous locations, which is really helpful if, for example, you want to make sure your kid isn’t taking any detours on their way back home from school.
I also like how you get access to a geofencing feature as well, which lets you set predefined zones and receive notifications when your kids arrive to or leave those locations. Qustodio supports geofenced areas that cover up to 0.12 miles or 200 meters. You could use this feature to receive alerts when your kids leave school or when they arrive home.
Qustodio is also one of the only parental apps that come with a panic button, which allows your kid to send a distress signal via text message or email to trusted contacts if they’re in danger. The feature is easy to set up and it’s also easy for kids to use it — they just need to tap a large SOS button and confirm its activation. When the panic button is triggered, it sends out alerts that contain the child’s exact location (street address and coordinates).
In addition, you also get access to other features that allow you to help your kids develop healthy digital habits. For example, there’s a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature that lets you track what your kids search for and watch on YouTube’s site and app. Also, there’s a feature that monitors children’s phone calls and text messages. And you also get excellent web and app filtering and easy-to-use time limits and scheduling features.
Qustodio’s paid plans, which include location tracking and all other features, start at only $54.95 / year, so they’re very affordable. The paid plans monitor 5–15 devices and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Qustodio also has the best free plan on the market, but it doesn’t come with location tracking.
Qustodio is the best parental app for tracking kids’ phone location on the market. Its location tracking feature displays children’s real-time location and previous locations, and it’s very accurate and easy to use. There’s also a geofencing feature and a panic button. You also get a YouTube monitoring feature, phone call and text message tracking, and excellent web and app filtering. Qustodio has a free plan, affordable paid plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈 2. Norton Family — Best for Tracking Kids’ Phone Location Across Multiple Devices
Norton Family allows you to monitor kids’ phone location on an unlimited number of devices, so it’s an ideal pick for large families. Its location tracking tool, called Location Supervision, sends location notifications every 20–30 minutes, which is pretty good, but it’s less frequent than Qustodio, which sends location updates every 5–10 minutes. There’s also a geofencing feature, which allows you to set up geofenced areas up to 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers.
I also like the Alert Me option, which notifies you about your kids current location at scheduled times. It’s very customizable, as you can choose the day, time of the day (am or pm), the hour, and even the minutes using 5 minutes increments. You could use this setting to check if your kids actually come home after they finish school, or to make sure they get to football practice on time.
Norton Family also provides access to a less invasive type of location tracking — instead of tracking your child’s real-time location, you can ask them to perform a check-in via the kids app, which will share their location with you over email. This is a good solution for tracking teens — you still get to know where they are, but they won’t feel like their privacy is invaded.
On top of location tracking, you also get really good web and app filtering, and School Time, which lets you set up specific web filtering rules and time limits during school hours. There are also features that monitor your child’s activity on YouTube’s site — that said, I think Qustodio provides better YouTube monitoring because it can also track activity on YouTube’s app.
Norton Family is bundled with the Norton 360 Deluxe ($29.99 / year) subscription, which also includes Norton 360, the best antivirus in 2022. The parental app is also available as a standalone purchase for only $49.99 / year. Also, there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee for each plan.
Norton Family allows you to track kids’ phone location on unlimited devices. Its location tracking is really accurate and easy to use, and comes with large geofenced areas, scheduled location notifications, and even a less invasive check-in option. It also has great web and app filtering, School Time, and video and search tracking for YouTube’s site. Norton Family is available as a standalone purchase or as part of the Norton 360 Deluxe. There’s also a 60-day money-back guarantee.
🥉 3. Net Nanny — Great Location Tracking With Frequent Location Updates
Net Nanny provides very frequent location updates — roughly every 2–3 minutes — while that feels a bit invasive, I think it’s helpful if your child loses their phone and you need to quickly locate it, or if you need to know your kid’s exact location because they’re not responding to your phone calls or text messages.
I also like how easy it is to use both the location tracking feature and geofencing. That said, I think Net Nanny’s geofencing feature requires some improvement, as it only allows you to set up alerts for when your child arrives to or leaves a specific address — top competitors like Qustodio and Norton Family let you set up predefined areas and receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them, which is more convenient.
In addition, you get access to really great web filtering — it blocks 10+ predefined site categories, it can’t be bypassed with a vPN, and it also allows you to set up custom filters very quickly. What’s more, there’s a profanity censoring option that censors obscenities on web pages.
You also get access to a ton of other parental controls tools. You can manage your kids’ screen time, restrict their access to apps that are too distracting, and monitor what your children watch and search for on YouTube — however, Net Nanny can only monitor YouTube’s site (unlike Qustodio, which monitors YouTube’s site and app).
Net Nanny has several paid plans, but only its Family Protection Pass plans let you track location data — I think Family Protection Pass for 5 devices ($54.99 / year) provides the best value, while Family Protection Pass for 20 devices ($89.99 / year) is a good pick for large families. There’s also a 14-day money-back guarantee for all plans.
Net Nanny has accurate real-time location tracking with frequent updates. It also shows you a list of your child’s previous locations and provides access to a good (but somewhat limited) geofencing feature. In addition, you get great web filtering, time limits, and YouTube monitoring. Location tracking is available via 2 of the provider’s paid plans, which are backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee.
4. FamiSafe — Good Free Plan for Location Tracking
FamiSafe has a really good free plan that provides access to location tracking. It sends location updates every 15 minutes, which is good but slightly less frequent than Qustodio and Net Nanny’s alerts. You also get access to a list of your child’s previous locations.
In addition, there’s a geofencing feature that works really well and lets you set up geofenced areas up to 0.60 miles or 1 kilometer. I think that’s enough for most people, but if you need to set up larger zones if your child attends a school with a large campus or hangs around a specific neighborhood, Norton Family is a better pick because it allows geofenced areas up to 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers.
I also like how FamiSafe allows kids to see their parents’ location on the kids app — this is helpful if you’re meeting your kids at a location they’re not familiar with. The parental app also comes with Drive Safety, which lets you monitor your kids’ driving habits. It also has really good web filtering, app restrictions, and time limits
However, FamiSafe’s free plan only allows you to track 1 device, so it’s only good for testing the parental app or if your child only uses 1 phone. To track 5–10 devices, you need to upgrade to the paid plans, which start at $10.99 / month. And for an additional price, you can also add Geonection, a separate iOS and Android app that adds GPS tracking to your child’s device — while it works well, I think FamiSafe’s built-in location tracking is enough. Also, there’s a 7-day money-back guarantee for each purchase.
FamiSafe has a free plan that provides access to location tracking, which is very accurate, comes with geofenced zones, and even allows kids to see their parents’ location. And you also get good web and app filtering, and Drive Safety. But the free plan limits you to 1 device — so if you need to monitor more phones, you need to upgrade to the paid plans, which are affordable and backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.
5. Kaspersky Safe Kids — Accurate Location Tracking With Huge Geofenced Areas
Kaspersky Safe Kids allows you to create huge geofenced areas that are up to 62.1 miles or 99 kilometers and set up a time interval during which your kids need to be inside those areas. The size seems over the top, but I can see how this would be helpful if your child is traveling through the country or abroad, and you want to receive alerts that confirm they reached a certain city at the expected hour.
The location tracking feature displays information about your child’s phone battery level — this is really helpful if your kid usually forgets to charge their phone, and you want to remind them to do it before it turns off.
While I’m happy with Kaspersky Safe Kids’ location tracking, I don’t like how it doesn’t let you see your child’s previous locations (like Qustodio, Norton Family, Net Nanny, and FamiSafe do) — seeing your kid’s previous locations would be helpful if you need to make sure they head straight home after school.
Kaspersky Safe Kids has a super affordable yearly plan for only $14.99 / year — but you can also get 1 year of free access to it via the Kaspersky Premium subscription, which also includes a great antivirus, a decent VPN, and more, for only $22.99 / year. Also, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.
Kaspersky Safe Kids has very accurate location tracking that allows you to set up huge geofenced areas. The location data also includes access to your child’s phone battery level. Location tracking is only available via the provider’s paid plans, which are very affordable — however, you can also get 1 year of free access to the paid version via Kaspersky’s Premium subscription. All purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Parental Control Apps for Tracking a Child’s Phone Location in 2022
|Parental App||Starting Price||Real-Time Location Tracking||Previous Locations||Geofencing||Number of Devices||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1. 🥇 Qustodio||$54.95 / year||✅||✅||✅||5–15||30 days|
|2. 🥈 Norton Family||$49.99 / year||✅||✅||✅||Unlimited||60 days|
|3. 🥉 Net Nanny||$39.99 / year||✅||✅||✅ (but is pretty limited)||1–20||14 days|
|4. FamiSafe||$10.99 / month||✅||✅||✅||5–10||7 days|
|5. Kaspersky Safe Kids||$14.99 / year||✅||❌||✅||500||30 days|
How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for Tracking Kids’ Phone Location in 2022
- Real-time location tracking. The parental app should provide you with access to your child’s real-time location, so that you can quickly make sure they are where they’re supposed to be, such as school, home, or a friend’s house. All of my top picks come with real-time location tracking.
- Additional location tracking features. On top of real-time location tracking, the parental app should also provide access to other relevant location data and tracking options — for example, a list of your kid’s previous locations or geofencing settings, which allow you to receive alerts when your child receives to or leaves an area or address.
- Essential parental control features. In addition to great location tracking, all the parental apps in this article also come with industry-standard parental control features, such as web and app filtering, time limits, scheduling, and activity reports.
- Ease of use. It should only take you a few minutes to set up the parental control app on your child’s device and enable its location tracking feature. What’s more, the provider’s parental app, which you will use, needs to be intuitive and simple to navigate.
- Good value. The parental control app should allow you to monitor multiple devices simultaneously (Qustodio can monitor 5–15 devices, and Norton Family monitors unlimited devices), have affordable plans, and come with free plans, free trials, or generous money-back guarantees.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Google Family Link. This app is 100% free to use, and it comes with location tracking, but it’s very basic — it doesn’t display kids’ previous locations, and it doesn’t have a geofencing feature. What’s more, Google Family Link can only track Android phones, and kids can disable most monitoring features when they’re 13 years old.
- mSpy. This provider has decent location tracking, but it only works on Android devices. Also, mSpy is very invasive, so it could harm your relationship with your children — plus, to use some of the provider’s advanced tracking features, you need to root or jailbreak your child’s phone, which is difficult and could compromise the device’s security.
- Apple’s Screen Time. This is a decent parental app, but it doesn’t provide access to location tracking. What’s more, Screen Time only works on iOS and macOS devices, and it’s pretty easy for kids to bypass some of its restrictions (such as app filtering).
Isn’t a Phone’s Built-in Location Tracking Enough?
While iOS and Android devices have location tracking features, they’re developed for finding lost or stolen phones — they’re simply not designed to track a child’s location. While you can use these features to see your child’s real-time location, you also need their Google or iCloud account information to do it. What’s more, kids can easily disable these built-in features on their phones.
It’s much better to use a parental control app to track a child’s phone location — top providers like Qustodio and Norton Family provide accurate real-time location tracking, which your kids can’t disable. In addition, you also get access to extra data, such as your child’s previous locations. And you can also set up geofenced areas (like school or home), so that you get alerts when your kids enter or leave them.
Is It Legal to Track My Child’s Phone Location?
Yes, it’s legal to do this in most countries, but only as long as you use legitimate services, like a parental control app. In addition, you can only use such an app on your child’s device, which you must legally own.
However, keep in mind that once your kids reach the legal age in your country and buy their own phones, you won’t be able to track their location using a parental app. It’s only possible to do that if you have their consent.
All countries have different laws, so I can’t provide accurate legal advice for each region. That’s why I strongly recommend researching your local laws to make sure it’s perfectly legal to use a parental app to track your child’s phone location, and if there are any limitations to what you can track.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Track a Child’s Phone Location
- Can I track my child’s location without them knowing?
- Can I use a phone’s built-in location tracking instead of a third-party app?
- What is the best parental app for tracking your child’s phone location?
- Can I use a free parental app to track my child’s phone location?
- Will a parental app show me where my child has been?
Can I track my child’s location without them knowing?
Yes, it’s possible to do this since some parental apps provide options that try to hide their activity — like preventing the app from generating notifications on your child’s phone, for example.
That said, I really don’t recommend taking this approach — even if the parental control app is hidden, your child will eventually realize you are tracking their location when they’ll hear you talking about their whereabouts. When this happens, it could damage your child’s trust in you. So, it’s much better to be open with your child about tracking their phone location.
Can I use a phone’s built-in location tracking instead of a third-party app?
You can, but built-in location tracking features are not as good as parental control apps — they will display your kid’s real-time location, but only if you have their Google or iCloud account information. And even then, kids can disable built-in location tracking features on their phones pretty easily.
It’s much better to use a good third-party parental app like Qustodio — it allows you to see your child’s real-time location, as well as a list of all the places they’ve been to. What’s more, kids can’t disable location tracking, and you also get access to geofencing, which allows you to set up areas (like school campuses) and receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them.
What is the best parental app for tracking your child’s phone location?
I think Qustodio is the best parental app for tracking kids’ phone location in 2022 — it comes with very accurate real-time location tracking, allows you to see a list of your kid’s previous locations, and provides access to an easy-to-use geofencing feature.
But the other parental apps on my list also provide good location tracking — Norton Family is great for tracking location data on multiple devices, and Net Nanny provides very frequent location updates. Also, FamiSafe has a good free plan with location tracking, and Kaspersky Safe Kids lets you set up very large geofenced areas.
Can I use a free parental app to track my child’s phone location?
There are free parental apps out there, but I usually recommend avoiding them since most of them don’t come with location tracking. And the ones that do usually provide buggy tracking that doesn’t work well. Plus, I think it’s dangerous to use a free service, as you’ll give it tons of permissions on your child’s app, which could allow it to compromise your kid’s private data.
Still, if you insist on using a free parental app, I recommend trying FamiSafe’s free plan — it provides access to good real-time location tracking, and it also allows you to see your kid’s previous locations and set up geofenced areas (to receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them). And you can also share your location with your kids. But the free plan only allows you to track 1 device, so I only recommend using the free plan to test the app before upgrading to one of FamiSafe’s paid plans.