Family Tracker, an app that runs on Android (Rs. 267) and iOS ($3.99 or approx Rs. 211), is a system where parents can keep a tab on their children by equipping them with smartphones. The idea behind the app is to alert parents that their child/children may be missing and also to help parents locate their missing children. The app was used earlier this year by a mother living in Georgia in the United States, to locate her 14 year old boy who had been missing. Granted, it's not the only app that provides such a service; however, it already has more than 1,00,000 users and is available worldwide. The selling point of the app is that it allows parents to keep tabs on their children without having to call or message them.

Screenshots of Family Tracker on iOS

Screenshots of Family Tracker on iOS

Using Family Tracker, parents are able to view the location of their children, send them messages and even activate an alarm on the phone remotely when they want their children to call them. Roberto Franceschetti of LogSat, the creators of the Family Tracker says, “We have an option for the sender to make a very nasty, noisy sound. Its a loud siren and we repeat that sound every two minutes until the person picks up.” Parents don't need a smartphone themselves to be able to use the application.

The service is also available for access via web as long as the smartphone containing the application is actively running it. The service keeps a log of all the data generated by the application over a two week period, a feature which helped find the missing Georgia boy. Feanceschetti says, “You can see where your kid has been for the past two weeks. You can find out where someone was at a certain time, or when that person was at a specific place. When somebody gets abducted, usually whoever does this throws the phone away or takes the battery out. We were hoping that our app would at least provide information on where the person was abducted or where they had been in the past, that way the police would have a history or some clues as to who they may have been seeing.”

Of course, the big question to ask is will parents stick to using this app scrupulously, or use it to monitor their children, causing a potential lack of privacy. The app certainly has its advantages and one of the features of the app is that the smartphone user has to agree to be tracked. Is such an app worth it for parents to risk violating the privacy of their children? Should there be an age limit on the child being tracked? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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