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Location, Location, Location: Which Setting is Right for You?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Location settings can be very useful in day-to-day life. Many people use Map apps almost every day to get where they need to go. Others use location apps when they are exercising to track their distance progress. What about our kids? Some parents think it's a good idea to track their children's' whereabouts with these sorts of apps.  However, there are things to consider when broadcasting your location from your phone. Below are some helpful tips and how-to's on using your location settings safely and choosing the right settings for your family. 

Is it safe for teens to use location apps?  
Check out this article from Common Sense Media: 

As with most technology, there are positives and negatives about teens using location apps on their phones. On the one hand, apps such as Find My Friends and Gone Out - Later Folks can help friends find each other at a concert or other large gathering. Parents also can use them to keep track of a teen's location. And many of these apps have safety features that restrict who can see a user's location. (Learn about Snapchat's "Snap Map" feature which lets friends see each others' locations on a map.)

On the other hand, because they broadcast your teen's physical location, they open up the possibility of meeting strangers face to face or enabling someone to follow your teen without their knowledge. Also, these apps don't work if the phone is turned off or out of battery, preventing you from tracking your kid, if that's your goal.

Location-sharing apps also are big targets for advertisers who want to make your kid a customer. Checking in at the Starbucks earns him or her a coupon. Walking by a store in the mall prompts a "sale" alert on his or her phone. The data tracking that these apps do is a big overreach into teen's consumer privacy, and companies are not always transparent about what they're collecting and how they use the information.

Some teens will use these apps no matter what you say, so at least set ground rules: Have strict privacy settings, avoid public location-sharing, and consider requiring that you follow them. Get them to buy you a coffee with their coupon, too.

For more info or links within the article, check it out HERE.

Hmmm.  Maybe We'll Turn Location Off for Now.
We can always turn it back on if it's the right fit later, right?


Check out the information below for how-to's on managing location on your child's (or your) phone. The tricky part of managing location settings is that it can vary based on device. Also, there can be location settings in the different apps you are using. If you are managing location with the apps, remember to double-check your settings after updates!


Turn location on or off for your device

You can turn location mode on or off for your Android device. You can also change only your device's location accuracy mode. The accuracy modes use different sources to estimate your device’s location.

When location is on for your device, you can get information based on where your device has been. For example, you can get automatic commute predictions or better search results.

If you turn off Location for your device, then no apps can use your device location. (This includes both apps made by Google and other apps.) Many useful features will be turned off.

If you call an emergency number, Android Emergency Location Service can turn on Location in "High accuracy" mode. After the call, your settings go back to how you had them.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location and then Location. (If you don't see "Security & Location," tap Location.)
  3. Turn Location on or off.

When an app is using your device’s precise location, your status bar shows Location Location. This icon means that a location accuracy mode using more battery is turned on. It doesn’t necessarily mean GPS activity.
To see what apps use your location:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location and then Location.
  3. Under "Recent location requests," see the apps that recently checked your location. For more information about an app, like its battery or data use, tap it.


Setting location access control for your device
You can turn location mode on or off for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, as well. Some apps might not work, however, unless you turn on Location Services. The first time an app needs to access your Location Services information, you'll get a notification asking for permission. You can choose whether to allow the app to use that information or to prevent access to Location Services.

To turn location off entirely:
  1. Go to your Settings > Privacy
  2. You will see a toggle switch to turn off Location Services entirely
To turn Location Services on or off for specific apps:
  1. Go to Settings > Privacy >Location Services
  2. Make sure Location Services is on
  3. Scroll down to find the app(s)
  4. Tap the app and select an option:
    - Never: Prevents access to Location Services information
    - While Using the App: Allows access to Location Services only when the app or one of its features is visible on the screen (This option might provide a status bar notification when the app is using the location)
    - Always: Allows access to your location even when the app is in the background
You can also restrict control of these settings:
  1. Click on Restrictions > Enable Restrictions
  2. Create a four-digit password that only you have
  3. This will take you to a list of different options for restrictions.

Get more information on location settings and managing your ANDROID location history HERE
Get more information on location settings and managing your IPHONE, IPAD, or IPOD TOUCH location information HERE.

Possible Areas of Concern

When it comes to sharing your location, there are various things that you should be worried about with people knowing where you are.  Some things to keep in mind might include:
  • Knowing your normal schedule: knowing where to find you and when, such as where you go to school and your usual running routine
  • Out of town: if you post pictures with the location as your vacation destination, then people know that you're not at home and your house may be vacant
  • Advertisements: If their locations are turned on, kids can get ads from stores around them, giving them coupons and other incentives to purchase from their businesses
  • SNAPCHAT, FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM are just some of many social media sites that have capabilities of sharing one's location