How to Track My Child’s Phone Location in 2024: Just 3 Steps!

Updated on: May 13, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Tim Mocan Tim Mocan
Updated on: May 13, 2024

3 (Quick + Easy) Steps to Remotely Track Your Child’s Phone Location in 2024:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Even though some might say tracking your kid’s location is over the top, I 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 your 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).

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Isn’t a Phone’s Built-in Location Tracking Enough?

iOS and Android location tracking features are developed for finding lost or stolen phones — but 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, your kids can easily disable these built-in features on their phones.

It’s much better to use a parental control app to track your 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?

It’s lawful in nearly all countries. That said, you must use certified services such as a parental control app. What’s more, it’s crucial to know that these apps can only be employed on devices that are legally yours, and this includes your child’s device.

However, once your kids reach legal age and buy their own phones, you can’t track their location using a parental app. It’s only possible to do that if you have their consent.

Please note that laws vary across countries, so I recommend researching the legality of using a parental control app to track your child’s phone location in your region and understanding any limitations.

Best Parental Controls for Tracking Your Kid’s Phone Location

Quick summary of the best parental control apps for tracking your kid’s phone location in 2024:

  • 1. 🥇 Qustodio — Best parental control app for tracking your kid’s location with real-time notifications.
  • 2. 🥈 Norton Family — Monitor your kids’ locations on unlimited phones and with large geofenced areas.
  • 3. 🥉 Bark — Offers real-time location tracking and access to 7 days of location history.

🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Parental App for Tracking Your Kid’s Phone Location in 2024

Approved by our experts
Qustodio
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick Qustodio
Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
qustodio.com

Qustodio provides the best location tracking in 2024. 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, especially if 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 zones. For example, you can use this feature to receive alerts when your kids leave school or arrive home. Qustodio supports geofenced areas that cover up to 0.12 miles or 200 meters, which is great.

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 — 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).

Qustodio’s paid plans start at only $54.95 / year, so they’re very affordable. They include location tracking and all other features. The paid plans monitor 5 or unlimited 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.

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Bottom Line:

Qustodio is the best parental app on the market for tracking your kid’s phone location. Its location tracking feature displays children’s real-time and previous locations, and it’s very accurate and easy to use. There’s also a geofencing feature and a panic button. Qustodio has a free plan, affordable paid plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Qustodio review

🥈 2. Norton Family — Best for Tracking Your Kid’s Phone Location Across Multiple Devices

Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
us.norton.com

Norton Family allows you to monitor your kid’s 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 minute 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.

Norton Family is bundled with the Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year*) subscription, which also includes Norton 360, the best antivirus in 2024. 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.

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Bottom Line:

Norton Family allows you to track your kid’s 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. Norton Family is available as a standalone purchase or as part of Norton 360 Deluxe. There’s also a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Norton Family review

🥉 3. Bark — Beginner-Friendly Location-Tracking Feature

Web filtering
Excellent
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
N/A
bark.us

Bark provides an easy to use location tracking tool. Once you’ve linked the parents and kids’s Bark apps together, you can see where your child is in real-time and get directions to their location with just 1 tap. I found the real-time tracking tool to be pretty accurate — it updated me with my child’s location every 4–5 minutes.

What I found unique about Bark, however, is its check-in feature. Instead of constantly monitoring your child’s location, you can request a check-in. This sends a notification to your child’s device, and they can then open the app and press the check-in button. This is a less invasive alternative to location tracking, especially for older children, and it fosters a sense of trust and responsibility.

Bark also offers a geofencing feature, allowing you to mark places on a map, like your kid’s school, and get an alert when your child leaves or arrives in those predefined zones. The radius is limited to 0.12 miles (or 200 meters), which is much smaller than Norton Family’s, but I liked that Bark immediately notified me when I entered or left a designated area with my test device.

The location history feature is another plus. Bark keeps a record of all the places your child has visited in the last 7 days, including when they’ve arrived and left those places.

Bark’s plans start at $5.00 / month and come with a 7-day free trial. However, unlike some competitors, Bark doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee which is pretty disappointing.

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Use Bark's 100% free trial to see if it’s the right parental control for you.

Bottom Line:

Bark’s location tracking is great for beginners. The app offers real-time GPS location tracking, a check-in feature for building trust, and a geofencing tool that comes with location history. While it doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, its plans are competitively priced and come with a 7-day free trial.

Read our full Bark review now

Quick Comparison Table

Parental App Starting Price Real-Time Location Tracking Previous Locations Geofencing Number of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1. 🥇 Qustodio $54.95 / year
Up to 0.12 miles (200 meters)
5–Unlimited 30 days
2. 🥈 Norton Family $49.99 / year
Up to 2 miles (3,200 meters)
Unlimited 60 days
3. 🥉 Bark
$5.00 / month
Up to 0.12 miles (200 meters)
Unlimited
(7-day free trial)

How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for Tracking Your Kid’s Phone Location in 2024

  • Real-time location tracking. The parental app should provide you with access to your child’s real-time location, so you can quickly check if they’re 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 arrives at or leaves an area or address.
  • Essential parental control features. In addition to great location tracking, all the parental apps in this article 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 or 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 your kid’s 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).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I track my child’s location without them knowing?

Yes, it’s possible to do this since some parental apps provide options 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 your kid’s phone location in 2024 — 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.

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 have 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.

Instead, you should check out a reasonably-priced parental control app like Qustodio, which offers flexible plans that start at just $54.95 / year.

Will a parental app show me where my child has been?

Yes, as most top parental apps provide access to your kid’s previous locations — for example, Qustodio shows you a list of all the places your child has been to, and also provides timestamps.

Best Parental Apps for Tracking a Child’s Phone Location in 2024 — Final Score:

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1
9.6
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2
8.8
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3
8.6
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About the Author
Tim Mocan
Tim Mocan
Senior Writer
Updated on: May 13, 2024

About the Author

Tim Mocan is a Senior Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has 5+ years of experience researching and writing about cybersecurity topics, and he specializes in VPNs. Prior to joining SafetyDetectives, he worked as a contributor for other VPN review websites and as a content writer for several VPN providers. Throughout his freelance writing career, he has also covered other niches, including SEO, digital marketing, customer loyalty, home improvement, and health and rehab. Outside of work, Tim loves to spend his time traveling, playing video games, binging anime, and using VPNs (yes, really!).