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6 apps to chat with your family and keep track of everyone’s whereabouts

Once your kids are old enough to have their own phones, keeping in contact with them becomes a high priority. At the same time, you don’t want to install apps on their phone which might enable chatting with strangers or being spied on, which is why finding the safest family chat apps is important.

If the built-in texting option becomes cluttered or doesn’t have all of the functions you want, there are many apps out there that offer even more. The six options below are all family-oriented and can help all family members communicate better to avoid misunderstandings or needless worrying. In addition to texting to ask where your kids are, we’ve included apps that automatically track everyone’s locations so you don’t have to ask every day if they got home safe.

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Each of these apps is available on both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google Play).

Teenager on her phone


This app is designed for families to text each other all in one place with an archive, private encryption, and ways to set up different groups that certain family members can join. With a focus on security, this app may be just what you’re looking for in a family chat app.

Messenger Kids

This is the Facebook Messenger app just for kids, separate from having Facebook. Parents are in control with a Parent Dashboard where they can set controls, manage contacts, and block and report. Parents will also be notified on their own Messenger app if their kids block or report. Chatting with family is fun with emojis, stickers, and filters, and video calling is a built-in feature. This messaging app is free and can be a great place for the family to have group convos.


All connections are parent-approved on this messaging app built just for kids. You don’t even need a phone number or data plan, just a device and wifi to use this (same as Messenger Kids). This is perfect for families with younger kids in the sibling group who want to be involved in the group chat. The whole extended family can also keep in touch with your kids using this free safety-first app.

GPSWOX Family Locator

With this app you can see all of your family members’ live GPS locations on a map. You’ll be notified right away when a family member in the plan leaves home, arrives at school, has their phone stolen, has a low phone battery, or is speeding in a car. You can also send direct messages within the app instantly as well as set reminders for members. The subscription costs $2.49 to $19.99 per month depending on the number of family members in the plan.

Family Locator by Sygic

This free app has a one-time upgraded version available for purchase to unlock all features. It lets you see everyone’s locations on a map, send direct private messages to each other, view location history going back seven days, and set up Safe and Unsafe Zones for your kids to stay in or avoid. Your kids can also press an SOS button in the app to send you their location immediately if they are lost or need help and you can also get notifications when they leave or arrive to set locations like school.


This is a premium safety app for tracking everyone’s whereabouts that costs $4.99 to $19.99 per month depending on the plan you choose. You’ll get automatic notifications when family members arrive to locations like school or home and your payment includes roadside assistance, identity theft protection, stolen phone protection, and much more. The app will alert you if anyone in your circle is in a collision while driving over 25 miles per hour and doesn’t respond to the app, and it will provide you with driving reports for all drivers using the app including top speeds and if any phone use while driving is detected (perfect for if you have driving teenagers).

Family chat apps

Tracking your kids’ whereabouts can be stressful once they are getting around on their own without you. You want to make sure everyone is safe and also arriving on time to where they are supposed to be. When you’re all out of the house you also need to communicate well without installing potentially insecure apps onto your children’s devices. These six apps give safe options for texting and tracking so your family can keep tabs on each other and stay in touch throughout your busy days.

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What is the best family locator app? Here are a few to check out
Black woman looking at phone on a city street

Technology has changed the way parents and their kids interact. Gone are the days of kids taking off to hang out with friends, out of contact with parents for hours. Modern technology allows parents to not only call and text their kids at any time but also keep track of their whereabouts with GPS-based apps. Family locator apps are a boon to busy parents, allowing them, with a few swipes and a couple of taps, to know exactly where their kids are at any given moment. In a world that's gotten a bit scary, the peace of mind these apps can provide is priceless.

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Life360 is a one-stop shop for family safety in the digital age. Though it requires a paid subscription, this app is worth it. Life360 is not just a GPS location service with place history and location alerts, it also offers 24/7 emergency dispatch that can be contacted with the push of a button, silent SOS emergency calls to family members or emergency services, and identity theft protection for the whole family ensuring that users' sensitive digital data is kept out of the wrong hands. Tiered plans are available with more features at higher levels but even the basic plan will save you some stress and provide peace of mind when it comes to your family's safety. Life360 is available for both iOS and Android.
Wondershare FamiSafe
FamiSafe is another great option if you want to do more than just track your family's location. This full-featured app allows parents to control screen time, filter web content, block certain apps, and control ads on their children's devices. FamiSafe was the 2021 Family Choice Award Winner and was named the Best Family-Friendly App from the Mom's Choice Awards. The app allows you to view explicit content that has been viewed on your child's phone as well as view your child's TikTok history. This app definitely packs a parental control punch and is guaranteed to give you peace of mind when it comes not only to your child's location but also their social media activity.
GeoZilla-Find My Family
Find My Family is the only GPS-locator app on our list that helps promote safe driving. Parents can monitor their children's speed and get an alert if they are texting or using their phones while driving. The app will also send an alert to the user's emergency contacts if a traffic accident is detected.
Glympse is a low-key, easy-to-use GPS-locator app. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of some of the other locator apps, but you can't beat the price point — Glympse is totally free and no subscription is required.
Family Locator
Family Locator is a full-featured location service. This app sends notifications when family members arrive at their destinations, provides a family map so you know where everyone is with just a glance, and allows the setup of safe zones so you're alerted when a family member leaves the zone. And best of all, it's free!
Google Family Link
Google's Family Link is a no-brainer for Android users. The service allows you to keep an eye on your child's Google activity, monitor screen time, and keep track of them when they're away from home. It integrates seamlessly into Google's suite of apps and is full of family-friendly features.

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Keeping everyone on schedule and organized has always been a challenge for busy families. Coordinating school, work, extracurriculars, sporting activities, family events, and carpools takes a lot of organization and teamwork to make sure everyone gets to where they need to go and on time. If you're still relying on a handwritten family calendar or notes stuck to the fridge to keep everyone organized, it's time to coordinate family events using a simple family events app.
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Cozi Family Organizer
Cozi is a family organizer app that will help keep everyone in the household on schedule. The free download lets you track all family appointments and activities in one place as well as school events, virtual class schedules, grocery lists, and even track chores. Cozi has a color-coded calendar that lets you view the entire family's schedule on one page or allows you to filter by each family member. Their Cozi Today functionality lets you view and share the day's schedule to ensure that no one misses an important appointment or event. It can also be used with other calendar apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, and Apple Calendar.

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A military family hugging and smiling.

If you are a military family, you know the hardships that can come up when separated from your person for any length of time. From not knowing how to get ahold of your loved one to not knowing how to deal with things after your person is deployed, there are so many things thrown at you that need to be navigated. Thankfully, technology can be helpful in these kinds of situations.

There are so many apps specifically created to uplift military families and guide them through the unique circumstances they deal with on a daily basis. Whether you are on base with your loved one or at home while they are overseas, these military apps for families are there to help.

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