Best options for tracking child
May 11, 2020 4:10 PM   Subscribe

The Doki watch company is no more. I need to be able to track via GPS my child and have said child be able to do emergency signalling. What are the options?

Background: My autistic son was temporarily "lost" by his school. Everything worked out in the end but it showed me that they were less than optimally organized. To solve this problem we got him the Doki watch which just required a SIM card and provided GPS tracking and calling with no distraction.

Problem: The watchband broke, Doki is going out of business. We cannot give my son an iphone because it would be too tempting for him at school. Another wrinkle is that we are in Australia. We do not want a monthly service beyond paying for a SIM card and maybe cellular service if we must. I am hoping not to be tethered to a phone.
  • child is 15, autistic and highly distracted by electronics if it has a chance at youtube
  • Australia
  • Family is presently on Vodaphone and uses Apple products
Are there fitness trackers we can use instead that provide GPS tracking for us and without a phone needed in proximity? Is there an Apple solution that does not require us shelling out crazy money for phone+watch+cellular service? Are there kids safety watches big enough for a 15-year-old boy, available and actually WORK in Australia? Is a flip-phone an option? We really want the GPS because he has a hard time responding to questions about location with precision.
posted by jadepearl to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like dedicated cellular gps trackers exist, for instance: The one I linked even appears to include the first year of LTE service, and costs $5/month thereafter.

I found that one at the following link:
posted by dbx at 5:30 PM on May 11

There's this Nuttag GPS Watch - it doesn't have the dimensions of the wristband though, but it looks like it has a reasonable sizing variation in the photo. Sounds like it operates in the same way to the Doki.
posted by fever-trees at 8:40 PM on May 11

(The Samsung option linked by dbx won't work in Australia, "Product not supported outside U.S.")
posted by Suspicious Ninja at 11:28 PM on May 11

I checked with a friend, and they have a SPACETALK for their daughter (available from JB). Have also heard of TicTocTrack (though it looks more expensive on a monthly basis) and Google found me Nuttag(?).

I've got no personal experience with any of them, but my friend is happy with the Spacetalk for tracking purposes.
posted by Suspicious Ninja at 1:01 AM on May 12

Are there fitness trackers we can use instead that provide GPS tracking for us and without a phone needed in proximity?
DC Rainmaker reviews all the running watches. They're obviously not designed to have GPS always on (he'd have to turn it on for you to find him), but I'm not sure if that's a requirement for you. The lower end models rely on having a phone nearby for emergency alerting and/or live-tracking, but I want to say Garmin at least experimented with a model aimed at the low- to-mid-tier that had its own SIM.
posted by hoyland at 3:54 AM on May 12

though it looks more expensive on a monthly basis

According to the bottom of the JB Hifi page, Spacetalk is $5.99/month, BYO SIM. Tictoctrack offers two plans- $19.99 SIM included, and a $5.99/month BYO SIM.

Note that TicTocTrack and other similar devices have historically had security issues, so caveat emptor.
posted by zamboni at 8:00 AM on May 12

If the rest of the family is on Apple products, you should possibly reconsider an iPhone. The new parental controls are pretty strong and you can easily lock him out of internet distractions.
posted by gnutron at 8:44 AM on May 12

I’m pretty sure an Apple Watch would do this, since you’re already in the Apple ecosystem and don’t want an iPhone. The newer ones don’t need a phone to pair to.
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:58 PM on May 12

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