When I was in high school, we didn’t have smartphones or GPS tracking devices — for me that was probably a good thing. After all, my parents would have quickly realized that all of those “camping trips” my friends and I took didn’t exactly involve us spending the night in the woods.

But these days technology is much different. We have the ability to track where our kids are going, to discover cheating spouses and to even catch criminals. I happen to live in Fairfax County, Virginia, and a few years back there was a man in Fairfax who was randomly molesting women. In a period of six months he had attacked 11 people. Well, thanks to GPS the man was quickly apprehended. According to an article in the Washington Post, once police started using GPS “they soon caught Foltz dragging a woman into a wooded area in Falls Church. After his arrest on Feb. 6, the string of assaults suddenly stopped.” Now I imagine you won’t be using GPS to catch criminals but to ensure your child drives safely or your spouse is okay when late for dinner. But with all of the different GPS applications out there which one is the best for you?

Life360: One of the most popular apps on the market is the free Life360. It’s made for both the Android and the iPhone and allows you to track your family members’ locations in real time. It also comes with a panic button. If you’re ever in trouble, it will immediately notify your family of your whereabouts. Life360 has been used during natural disasters including the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the 2011 tornadoes in Oklahoma City, where almost 2,000 families used Life360 to locate each other. One of the best features of this app is that it allows you to quickly locate the closest hospital, fire department or police station.

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