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Does Your Kid Hate Watches? Try These Tracking Devices

My son joined a Little League baseball team this year. While he loves the sport, our 3-year-old daughter is the one who seems to have found her tribe. While their brothers practice, a flock of little sisters climb bleachers, play tag, and share snacks brought from home.

It's super cute, but a little nerve-wracking. They never stay in one place and routinely wander out of sight, prompting my husband or I to walk/jog away from the game to guide our daughter back into view. If only there were some technology out there that could help us keep track of our social butterfly.

We've tried watch GPS trackers, but they tend to be bulky and uncomfortable on her little wrist. And while watch-style kid-trackers dominate the market, there are a few that employ other designs. I tried two such devices with my kids: the KidConnect and the AngelSense. Both have some really interesting features.


The AngelSense impressed me right away with its extensive features and well-designed app. It was created by Doron Somer, whose son has autism; and while the AngelSense was designed with special needs families in mind, I see no reason the average child couldn't benefit from wearing one.

AngelSense GPS TrackerThe device is a specially programmed smartphone that can be attached to a child's clothes or secured around the waist via a strap. The pins that attach the phone to clothing or secure the belt can only be removed by a special tool, much like the anti-theft buttons cashiers remove at the checkout.

The number of ways AngelSense keeps you in touch with your child is impressive. It can alert you when the child is at a new location (and pulls the address's Street View from Google to help identify it); it can tell you where your kid has been and how fast he got there (i.e. if he's gotten in a car, you'll know); it allows you to listen in and talk to your child via the phone's speakerphone function; AngelSense GPS Trackerand it has a Runner Mode that updates the GPS every 10 seconds—great for tracking down a child who has wandered too far from the ballfield.

For the parent who struggles to keep tabs on a little one, worries about bullying at their child's school, or is concerned about how their non-verbal child might be treated at daycare, the AngelSense could be a literal lifesaver. My only complaint is that my kids weren't crazy about feeling the weight of the little phone hanging off their clothes or around their waist. I'm sure they could get used to it, though.

Plans start at $39.99 per month after purchasing the device itself for a one-time fee of $119 or $199, depending on which plan you select. While not the cheapest option I've seen, AngelSense is definitely the most robust.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_4KF_62tsc?controls=0&w=740&h=416]


My kids (7 and 3) love the KidsConnect. Yes, it allows me to track their whereabouts, listen in to their surroundings, and set up geofences, but it's also an actual phone they can use to call any contacts I choose to program in.

KidsConnect TrackerThere are four speed dial buttons and an SOS button, which calls each emergency contact a parent has programmed in until someone answers. The interface is simple enough that my 3-year-old picked it up almost immediately, and I don't struggle to get them to keep it on them because they love having their own phone. The device is small, rounded, and made of slick plastic, so I don't trust it to stay put in my kids' pockets, but they've never resisted wearing it on the included lanyard.

My kids definitely preferred KidsConnect over the AngelSense simply because what kid doesn't want to have their own phone? But the parent interface—both via the app and the web portal—felt very foreign to me. It seems that the menus and dialogs have been (somewhat awkwardly) translated from another language, so programming the features and settings was a little confusing. But hey, it's a tracker my kids love, and the price is reasonable: an initial payment of $79.95 for the phone, and plans that start at $12.95 per month for 100 minutes of talk time.

For parents looking for a nearly-tamper-proof way to keep tabs on their little ones, AngelSense would definitely be worth the investment. But if the kids are old enough to be tasked with keeping a phone on their person and undamaged, the KidsConnect might be a good alternative.

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The iPhone SE was the best phone Apple ever made, and now it’s dead

I only wanted one thing out of 2018’s iPhone event: a new iPhone SE. In failing to provide it Apple seems to have quietly put the model out to pasture — and for this I curse them eternally. Because it was the best phone the company ever made. If you were one of the many who passed over the SE back in 2015, when it made its debut, that’s understandable. The iPhone 6S was the latest and greatest, and of course fixed a few of the problems Apple had kindly introduced with the entirely new design of the 6. But for me the SE was a perfect match. See, I’ve always loved the iPhone design that began with the 4. That storied phone is perhaps best remembered for being left in a bar ahead of release and leaked by Gizmodo — which is too bad, because for once the product was worthy of the lavish unveiling Apple now bestows on every device it puts out. The 4 established an entirely new industrial design aesthetic that was at once instantly recognizable and highly practical. 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Compared to the iPhone 4, every single other phone, including Samsung’s new “iPhone killer” Galaxy S, was a cheap-looking mess of plastic, incoherently designed or at best workmanlike. And don’t think I’m speaking as an Apple fanboy; I was not an iPhone user at the time. In fact, I was probably still using my beloved G1 — talk about beauty and the beast! The design was strong enough that it survived the initially awkward transition to a longer screen in the 5, and with that generation it also gained the improved rear side that alleviated the phone’s unfortunate tendency towards… well, shattering. The two-tone grey iPhone 5S, however, essentially left no room for improvement. And after 4 years, it was admittedly perhaps time to freshen things up a bit. Unfortunately, what Apple ended up doing was subtracting all personality from the device while adding nothing but screen space. The 6 was, to me, simply ugly. It was reminiscent of the plethora of boring Android phones at the time — merely higher quality than them, not different. The 6S was similarly ugly, and the 7 through 8 somehow further banished any design that set themselves apart, while reversing course on some practical measures in allowing an increasingly large camera bump and losing the headphone jack. The X, at least, looked a bit different. But to return to the topic at hand, it was after the 6S that Apple had introduced the SE. Although it nominally stood for “Special Edition,” the name was also a nod to the Macintosh SE. Ironically given the original meaning of “System Expansion,” the new SE was the opposite: essentially an iPhone 6S in the body of a 5S, complete with improved camera, Touch ID sensor, and processor. The move was likely intended as a sort of lifeboat for users who still couldn’t bring themselves to switch to the drastically redesigned, and considerably larger, new model. 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It was the best object Apple ever designed, filled with the best tech it had ever developed. It was the best phone it ever made. And the best phone it’s made since then, too, if you ask me. Ever since the 6, it seems to me that Apple has only drifted, casting about for something to captivate its users the way the iPhone 4’s design and new graphical capabilities did, all the way back in 2010. It honed that design to a cutting edge and then, when everyone expected the company to leap forward, it tiptoed instead, perhaps afraid to spook the golden goose. To me the SE was Apple allowing itself one last victory lap on the back of a design it would never surpass. It’s understandable that it would not want to admit, this many years on, that anyone could possibly prefer something it created nearly a decade ago to its thousand-dollar flagship — a device, I feel I must add, that not only compromises visibly in its design (I’ll never own a notched phone if I can help it) but backpedals on practical features used by millions, like Touch ID and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This is in keeping with similarly user-unfriendly choices made elsewhere in its lineup. So while I am disappointed in Apple, I’m not surprised. After all, it’s disappointed me for years. But I still have my SE, and I intend to keep it for as long as possible. Because it’s the best thing the company ever made, and it’s still a hell of a phone.

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