Parents are often consumed by one burning question: Where the hell are my kids? The instinct starts when they’re young and intensifies as the kid becomes more ambulatory. Crawling? Eh, fine. Walking? Uh-oh. Driving? Absolute nightmare, or so all of my mother’s gray hairs and nervous tics tell me.
Since implanting a GPS under a child’s skin would likely be frowned upon, parents turn to cellphones, which serve a similar function without all of the dermatological problems. Life360 and Locaid are today announcing a partnership that will allow parents to locate and communicate with their children, allowing them to check in and contact them in case of an emergency.
Unlike other “Where are my family members?” services, like Apple’s poorly-named “Find My Friends” application, Life360 works with both smartphones and feature phones, provided the family is using its Premium service. This allows families that don’t want or are unable to give their children smartphones but are comfortable with cheaper, less-capable “dumbphones” to enjoy the same feature as more tech-y families.
Like the baby gate or toddler leash, Life360 seems to be a tool parents will love and children will loathe. Nobody wants to know that their every movement is being logged and could be monitored at any time, especially when the monitors are their parents. But, on the other hand, the ability to quickly locate and communicate with family members could be a literal life-saver during a disaster, and I imagine most parents would be concerned by their children’s safety than their privacy.
Gartner reported last August that just under two-thirds of cellphones sold were feature phones, which means that services like Life360 and Locaid can’t exclusively support smartphones. Family-based services only work if they help the entire family — anything less and parents might be better off with a text message than another service. Life360 seems to understand that, and using Locaid’s platform is a firm step towards supporting anyone who wants to keep an eye on their family.
And, as anyone who has watched children knows, that’s just about everybody.
Life360 is available on a freemium basis, with Premium membership costing $5 per month or $50 per year. More than 36 million people use the service, which debuted in 2008. Locaid, which launched its location-as-a-service platform in 2011, says that some 404 million mobile devices have been connected to its service, and is used primarily as a location tool for enterprises.