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Tracking your willing child while they study abroad

TV4casterTV4caster Registered User Posts: 1,525 Senior Member
My kid will be studying abroad next semester and we are a bit worried. We wondered about GPS tracking, iphone tracking etc but does anyone have any ideas for a method to track someone if, God forbid, something should happen to them while in a third world country (or first world, for that matter)? One problem with iphone tracking (if that even works overseas) is that if something happens to a kid it is likely that their phone would be taken from them.

Any ideas to help ease our minds are appreciated.

Replies to: Tracking your willing child while they study abroad

  • AlfonsiaAlfonsia Registered User Posts: 825 Member
    Is this a minor child? Or a college age student?
  • TV4casterTV4caster Registered User Posts: 1,525 Senior Member
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    What do u imagine will "happen" overseas to your child that requires real-time position tracking. Is this a study abroad program in North Korea or Syria?

    GMTson dropped his iphone in the ocean during a study abroad stint at age 16. He was wearing his big boy pants and figured out how to contact me via skype on his laptop. He was more upset than I was, bcs he couldn't instagram the remainder of his trip.

    If u are really that worried, consider taking out a subscription to International SOS for your son. They are an int'l emergency concierge service. If poop hits the fan where he is, he can call them and they will help him. Our family has coverage, as do many international staff for multinational companies.
  • TV4casterTV4caster Registered User Posts: 1,525 Senior Member
    GMT wrote: "What do u imagine will "happen" overseas to your child that requires real-time position tracking. Is this a study abroad program in North Korea or Syria?"

    No, but Vietnam and Burma aren't exactly like visiting Canada or Hong Kong and are probably closer to NK than many others.

    I would just like something where if she turned up missing I could tell the local authorities she was last seen in X location (or, better yet, she is in X location now).
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,498 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    I think many of us understand your concerns. One of mine was in quite a remote area for 9 months, where few others spoke English. I hope your thread attracts some of the other parents whose kids have gone off to all corners of the world.

    Will she be with a group? In my mind, that's one of the first, most important points- responsible adults who know what to do, run interface if needed. We went over and over what safe choices are, the buddy system, what to do and whom to turn to. Best wishes through all this.
  • DmitriRDmitriR Registered User Posts: 838 Member
    Hmm, that's a tough one. I was going to come here and say to use iPhone tracking but you raise a good point that if something did happen the phone might be lost or taken away. With that caveat, I don't really see why the V-Alert system would be any better unfortunately. Most of these personal safety devices rely on Bluetooth anyway and most of them can be lost, broken, or stolen just as easily as a smartphone.

    That international SOS sounds good, but honestly I would spend a lot of time trying to get familiar with the tour coordinators. They may have their own safety protocols in place that you could take advantage of and those are probably the main safety net that students going abroad have. Personal tracking devices can be easily eliminated by anyone who means harm but street smarts and a good security protocol are much more effective.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 32,071 Senior Member
    When my son was in Jordan he used a local phone, not his Android.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,166 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    My kid traveled abroad this year, last year and the year before. The other kid did a study abroad.

    We did NOT track the whereabouts of either kid while traveling. We did ask them to let us know if they were moving around or traveling. They were very obliging, sending us names of hostels, and airline and train travel plans.

    I personally think the GPS tracking is unnecessary....and you do know your kid has to agree to it. I wouldn't even ask my kids.

    P.S. Count me amongst those whose kid was in a remote place for two years...really remote. Yes, she was in the Peace Corps, but they said not to be concerned unless we didn't hear from the kid for a month. But really...the kid contacted us weekly via Skype or FaceTime. We didn't need to know every single move she made!
  • capcap Registered User Posts: 929 Member
    My oldest DD has lived overseas for most of the last five years. I rarely know where she actually is at any given time. She is registered with the US embassy so that they know she is in the country of something happens. My middle DD lived overseas for 2 1/2 years - same scenario as above. They both had local dumb phones. They both traveled fairly often and I usually found out afterwards. Tracking them never even crossed my radar.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,166 Senior Member
    My kid was also registered with the American Embassy while living abroad...but then...she was a Peace Corps volunteer. She also used a local dumb phone while in country. Tracking was never considered...and it was not considered when she travelled abroad this fall either.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I think if you will be doing an extended stay, it is a good idea to register with the embassy, but if it is a formal study abroad program, perhaps that is already handled.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,577 Forum Champion
    We didn't consider any kind of tracking our D when she was abroad. She did get a local phone with a local SIM card for her use there and we kept in touch primarily via Skype and email.
  • TV4casterTV4caster Registered User Posts: 1,525 Senior Member
    "Now, if your kid were a novice traveler heading out alone, or with another novice traveler, my post would be entirely different"

    My kid is a novice traveler and a complete airhead. I expect she will be traveling alone at times. One of the places I know she will be going is to an insane asylum in Ho Chi Min City.

    I also promise you that she would be completely on board with it. If I were going over there I would definitely do whatever it took to let my wife and family know where I was if something happened. I'd go so far as to have a chip implanted in myself. Obviously a few of you disagree with my thinking.
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